My husband travels for work, and he was gone all week last week. After a week of dinners, baths, and putting the kids to bed by myself, I couldn’t wait for the hubs to get home and give me the night off. So he comes home, I kiss the kids good night and shuffle them upstairs with their dad – and instead of relaxing, I immediately felt SO SAD. Like the kids were going to miss me or have trouble getting to sleep without me there. I thought, “WHAT IS THAT?!!!” I will tell you: guilt. Soul sucking GUILT.
It’s apparently everywhere. I read this article about the regrets of a stay-at-home mom last week, and it’s been bugging me since I read it. Instead of some thoughtful advice for new moms, this feels like yet another example of a mom feeling guilty for her seemingly reasonable decisions. Some women’s decisions to stay at home are fairly cut and dry: if you make about the same amount as it costs for child care, and you want to stay home, then stay home; if you can’t survive without your paycheck, then get to work. But the author of this article had what seems to be one of those legitimately close calls. She admits she had little to no work life balance, she was emotionally strung out after the death of her father, she missed her babies, and she was able to do some freelance work while hanging with her kids. All of those seem like totally legit reasons to stay home. And 14 years later, she’s in a tough financial position and telling the world not to stay home with your kids?! Come on! (Also, it seems to me like the advice here should be “do some long term financial planning,” but nobody asked me.)
And then I see this “study” and think two things: one, how long till that kid scribbles with that sharpie on the computer?, and two, goddammit! When does it end?! I am over it, just so done with wasting time thinking that I should be doing something different or better or more thoughtfully or with more shamrock sprinkles (yes, I may have felt guilty earlier today for not making green cake pops with shamrock sprinkles for my son’s preschool party – again, WHAT IS THAT?!). So I’m not going to think about the laundry or the workout I should be doing, or the intellectual activity I should be pursuing (OH I just giggled typing that).
Instead, I will watch The Bachelor, and make snarky comments in my head about the women’s outfits and the ridiculous things Brad says. Wheee!
Sandwiched right between the sad, sad headlines about the Japan earthquake and tsunami today, I discovered this little nugget. And now, to avoid seeing anything else about shocking natural disasters, excuse me while I spend the next two hours researching West Virginia monkey clothes makers.
How on earth does something like this happen?!
Back in December I flew from DC to SF with my two kids by myself, so I fully get that things can get crazy when you’re flying with preschoolers. For example, you might give your sweet two-year-old Benadryl on doctor’s orders before a flight, which causes her to act like an angry chimpanzee for 6 solid hours while the woman across the aisle from you asks every 20 minutes, “Do you know when she is going to be DONE.” Not that that happened to me. But the series of events that leads up to a flight attendant shutting a 17-month-old kid in an overhead storage bin?! I have so many questions. First, what flight has that much overhead storage room? The last time I flew I got dirty looks for carrying a big purse and laptop bag. Second, what kind of crazy peek-a-boo game were these guys playing? A skilled peek-a-booer can use only his or her hands and totally get the job done. And I can think of so many other games that would work for kids on a plane — for example, on the flight in December, I played tic-tac-toe with my kids, did puzzles with them, and then, after my son fell asleep and my daughter entered hour four of her medicated hyperactive freak out, I played “how quickly can mommy order drinks from the nice flight attendant.” Third, I know this is touchy, but I am saying it — this really does nothing for all the dads out there who complain that they don’t get the credit they deserve. So many of my women friends are married to really smart, educated, successful guys, and we routinely have conversations that begin with, “You won’t believe what my husband let the kids do.” I can totally imagine this woman getting off the plane, calling her sister and being like, “You won’t believe what he just did. HE LET A FLIGHT ATTENDANT STUFF OUR KID IN THE OVERHEAD STORAGE BIN.” And her sister being all, “Yeah, well, John let the kids go for a ride in the dryer.”
Anyways, what a terrible situation, and it sounds like a total lack of judgment from people who should have known better. But as someone who may have actively encouraged her four year old to watch Hannah Montana while she flagged down the flight attendant for another drink, I really shouldn’t be talking.
I was so happy to read this article today. I love the image of the dudes at the end of the article raising their hands all sheepishly when she asked who wants a sugar mama (OK, that wasn’t her question, but you know what I mean). I also forget that it wasn’t that long ago – like, my mom’s generation – that women couldn’t get a credit card without a man co-signing for it. What the what?!
Anyways. Today was a tough day at work, and I don’t feel great, and my dentist told me I have a cavity. I am feeling both old and crazy. These songs made me feel better, though. Enjoy.
When You Were Young (my god, LOOK AT THAT picture of Brandon Flowers):
Basket Case (Sara Bareilles, equal parts sweet and salty):