What is a mother’s worth? If you were to pick up a newspaper, visit a new site, talk to most men, you’d realize very quickly its worth nothing (unless of course they’re talking about their OWN mothers. HAH!).
We’re living in an age where there are “Mommy wars“. Women are told that if they showed up at a hospital dying and were pregnant and the only way to save their lives was to terminate the pregnancy – well gluck and see you in heaven. You’re as good as dead. We’re harassed about how breast milk is the best and OMGYOUAREAHORRIBLEMOTHER if you don’t breast feed your child BUT at the same time we’re shamed for breastfeeding that same child out in public (even if modestly behind a nursing blanket). We’re told YES mothers should stay home, NO mothers should go to work and help with bringing in more income, YES daycares are good and they help kids socialize faster, NO how dare you want someone else to raise your child, OMGYOUREASELFISHCOW because you sacrificed your life/hips/waist and career and decided to get pregnant and stay home, aaaaand OMGYOUREEVENMORESELFISH because you went back to work.
what. the. freaking. hell.
Oh and my absolute favorite is “all you do is sit at home and watch movies”/”all you do is go out with the baby, shopping”/”all you do is go out on playdates”/”all you do FILL IN THE BLANK HERE.”
Let me give you what my reality has been for the last 22 months of my life (these last few weeks have been slightly diff. coz my husband has been jobless and has been home, so helping out in the morning with the baby).
Lets take her (Behbeh) at say about 1 year old. No longer a newborn so technically things are supposed to be easier right? Here we go
- 7-8am wake up call via baby screaming in her crib.
- 8-8:30 get her out, get her dressed and ready, attempt to brush my teeth and get reasonably dressed. Most likely I’ll live in sweats the rest of the day.
- 8:30-10:30 make and feed her breakfast. And yes, I got to be one of those lucky people that has a kid that refuses REFUSES REFUSES to swallow her food like a normal person. So meal times average 2-3 hours. (I tried starving her out, but she started dropping weight out of stubborness).
- 10:30-10:45 I quickly eat something (why didn’t I eat w/ the baby? because that usually ended up in my breakfast on the floor or in her chair OR all over me somehow).
- 10:45-11:30 clean up the mess from breakfast, get her cleaned up, possibly changed again and play time in the living room
- 11:30-12:30 attempt to get her to nap which involved walking up and down the apt. hallway with her in my arms, rocking, begging and pleading. Leaving her in her room just to keep going back in there every 5-10 minutes because her toy fell out/she got her hand stuck somewhere/she decided to eat a sock and choke on it.
- 12:30-1pm if I was lucky, she fell asleep around nowish.
- 1-2:30pm clean up the living room, vacuum a part of the house (including dusting), go into our room, clean up our room, do laundry load number 9823781, fold laundry pile 9898232, start getting stuff ready for dinner. Choose if I have time for a shower or a quick standupandeatlunch meal before she wakes up.
- 2:30pm she’s up
- 2:30-4:30 lunch time for baby with lots of tears and “WHY WONT YOU SWALLOW” being yelled out.
- 4:30 clean up all the lunch mess and probably change my clothes from getting thrown up on.
- 4:45-6pm play time/read books/learn alphabets/learn colors/learn numbers/learn nursery rhymes with baby
- 6pm – 6:45pm make dinner while trying to convince baby its a terribly idea for her to be running through our small kitchen while I’m trying to cook and no don’t eat that and no don’t play with that and OMGSTEPAWAYFROMTHEOUTLETS.
- 6:45-7:55pm – Start feeding baby dinner followed by more begging and pleading. Husband gets home at some point during this time. She finishes eating.
- 8pm – 8:30pm Husband takes baby to shower and get ready for bed.
- 8:30pm – 8:45pm we take turns on who reads and puts her to sleep. If its my turn then I’m with her. If its his turn then I’m at this point on my laptop in the living room trying to squeeze in some freelance, or I’m dead on the couch OR I’m reheating/finishing making dinner.
- 9pm – 9:45/10pm husband gets out of the bathroom after putting baby to bed and we eat dinner.
- 10pm we finish dinner, he puts away the dishes, I clean up the disaster that is our living room.
- 10:30-midnight he either watches tv or surfs on his phone/computer and I work on freelance until I have to go to bed OR I’m dead on the couch.
- Go to bed by midnight
- 3am – 4:45am wake up to baby screaming on and off for almost two hours, keep getting up to check on her
- 6am husband’s alarm goes off
- 6:15am husband’s alarm goes off
- 6:30 husband gets out of bed
- 7-8am baby wakes up and repeat.
That (give or take slight nuances depending on how difficult she felt like being that day) has been my life for the last 22 months. So… I find it HIGHLY amusing to hear men who have absolutely zero idea of what they’re talking about, feeling the need to comment on how “Oh my God I wish I could just stay home and do nothing all day”.
Please… if YOU are one of those men, by all means, take over my life and I’ll take yours – go to work, get coffee, eat a snack without getting spat up on, talk to my boss without haivng to pick him up off the floor coz he threw a temper tantrum, finish my project and get told how awesome a job I did and oh there may be a promotion soon and if oh do I want some brownies from the lunch room/snack room. I’d love to be able to have a full conversation with an adult and not have to be in discipline/save them from dying/teaching/learning mode.
AND the next person that tells me that its up to me if I want to start a business while raising a toddler thats almost two, with no family, no friends, no money for daycare and no help at all… all I have to do is use the “free time” i get when she’s asleep – lets talk when you’ve pushed essentially something the size of a watermelon from your nether regions and you’ve given up at least two years of yourself. THEN I want to see what you have to say.
It is anything but easy to essentially sacrifice/possibly permanently damage your career by taking off for 2-3 years, to give up your identity as an individual (I mean you can’t even go to the damn bathroom on your own anymore), sacrifice your body and your sleep and your sanity (especially if you have zero support around). I don’t understand this need to make mothers feel guilty that they don’t do enough because they aren’t “working”.
I would love to see the stats on what an Au pair (full time live in babysitter), chef and maid make in a year. Those are all the things a mother does, with no pay, no help and no vacation time. When the family is vacationing, mom is still on duty.
These past almost two years have made me realize, that if as a woman you want to really see what your worth is, have a baby.
To that baby, yes you will be their whole world (till they’re old enough like mine to favor the one that doesn’t have to discipline them) – but to everyone else, you’re no one and what you do … its nothing.
Oh and in case any one is wondering why I have the time to write this post now… Baby’s supposed to be napping (OF COURSE, she’s not actually napping but rather throwing each toy systematically out of the crib which means i have to head up to her room … oh now) – I’m on strike. Laundry will somehow do itself/fold itself. The food will magically appear and the house… well guess it’ll have to stay a mess.