Friday, August 24, 2007

Perfect Harmony

There are so many things I don't understand. And one of the biggest ones is the way the media pits stay-at-home moms against working moms. Like women can't get along or support each others choices. I think I'm a feminist, because I believe in equality of the sexes. I think a woman should have the same rights as a man, from the right to vote, to the right to walk down a dark street at night and not worry about rape. I have friends who are stay-at-home moms, both online and in my offline life. I have friends who are working moms, both online and in my offline life. I've also been a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. And you know what? I don't think I'm a better mom now, or that I was a better mom then. I'm still a mom, doing the best sbe can, who loves her son to pieces.

And deep down, we're all that. And I guess I'm lucky, I've never encountered anyone who's been snarky about my lifestyle choice, no matter which side of the fence I happened to be on. And I guess that makes me lucky enough to only be surrounded by good people. But I also know that should someone judge me as a stay-at-home mom or as a working mom, I would have cut them out of my life so fast, their head would probably still be spinning.

Because I have a lot on my plate. I'm trying to raise a child to be a good person in a world that's full of hatred and violence. And I don't have the time or the energy to deal with judgemental people.

But here's the thing. I am so incredibly blessed. Last night, I realized it more than ever. I have the best possible job a mom could ask for. And I tell you, should this ship go down, I will go down with it, because I'm not sure I'd find what I've got here anywhere else. I kind of make my own hours here, coming in about half an hour earlier and leaving half an hour earlier. Never have I heard whispers about my leaving earlier than anyone else. Because partly? I'm not the only one who does so. One of my male colleagues, a dad, leaves early at least once a week, way earlier than me, to coach his son's little league team. And no one thinks this means he doesn't love his job.

Also? When Little Man doesn't drink his entire sippy cup of milk on the way to school, I bring it to work and leave it next to my lunch in our common area fridge. Yesterday, people laughed and asked me "Is that Little Man's milk in the fridge? or is it yours?" Anywhere else, that might have been awkward and I would have worried about whether I was seen as "less professional" for leaving hints of my other life in the shared fridge. But not here. Because I know for a fact they thought it was cute and precious that a child's milk was being kept cold along leftover tuna casseroles and turkey sandwiches.

And then there's yesterday, where my work life and home life collided. I had to do a 7:30 a.m. conference call, which is impossible for me to get to the office that early, so I just did it in the car, with Little Man in the back seat. On this conference call, I got to chew out somebody really, really bad. I got to say the kinds of things that make me all tingly with happiness, things like "You made me, my executive and my company look bad, none of which I appreciate" and "She has a name and a title and you need to introduce her using them, because that's just common courtesy." It was a fantastic call and I was on fire.

When I hung up the phone, I turned around and Little Man was in his car seat, his eyes open wide staring at me, and I could see that his little brain was trying to figure out if I was yelling at him this whole time and if he was about to go to time out. I smiled at him, patted him on the leg and said "it's ok baby, Mama was talking to someone on the phone for work." His face was immediately overtaken by a huge grin and he yelled "GO MAMA!!!! YAY!"

And I thought to myself that my son got to see that his mom has different sides. There's the Mama side that reads him "How do dinosaurs say goodnight" five times in a row. And then there's the Work Mama who can cut up a man to pieces using nothing but her tongue, without ever raising her voice. And he knows that both of those Mamas love him more than life itself.




Morgan Leigh said...

O*M*G! THAT? Was hilarious. "GO MAMA!" hahaha... great stuff

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

It's leftover from his cheering you on at StrollerFit. Way to go Catwoman. MEOW! You kick ass with the best of them. And, I hope you know, were I able to find a job like yours and have that flexibility, I'd be camped out in cubicle land right next to you....or maybe a few down. We'd gab & never do any work.

Emma in Canada said...

You are lucky to have a job that allows you some flexibility. I'm not sure that my new male boss will be as understanding as my old feamle boss...she let me 9- 2.30, so I could get my kids to and from school, instead of the normal 7.30-3.30 shift. I get a feeling he won't go for that. The other day he asked me to find someone else to take my son to the orthodontist.

AndreAnna said...

I can totally relate! Being a working mother, who works from home a few days a week, I have a taste of both lives. And neither one make me a better mother than the other. All facets of who I am - a mother, wife, sister, friend, career professional - make me a good person and a good mother.

I love that he cheered you on!

Anonymous said...

I so want to be you when I get big!!

I love that Little Man gave you props :)

myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

Okay, you're funny even when you're serious! Great post. I also have not seen the so called mommy wars first hand. About half the preschool moms work outside the home, half don't, and nobody seems to care either way.

But I just need to know one is your job going to affect our meeting in New Mexico to drop the kids off while we go to the old Mexico???

I'm a Mom!..? said...

I do miss that part about working... Taking my frustrations out on someone who deserved a little of it, but got so much more!!

And no one should pit Working Moms against SAHM's. a recent episode put them all in a room together to discuss why what they did was better than the other....Interesting.

Blue Momma said...

If I had a job like your's, I'd probably still be working. God, I miss that paycheck!

When I was working in MI after Punkin' was born, I kept my pumped breast milk in our fridge at work. I'd also have meetings with my breast pump tubing drying on my desk. No one ever said anything.

Well, a few people did ask what that noise was while I as pumping, but at least I closed my door!

jesse said...

GO MAMA-YAY!!!-I love it. I know what you mean about sahm vs. working moms. Personally I don't understand what all the feuding is about, you do what you have to do that's right for your family. I've been a working mom and am now a sahm mom and there are parts I like about both, but man we have enough problems in the world without having that kind of pettiness.

M said...

What an amazing post. Really really remarkable. You and Little Man Rule the world.

Julie said...

Sounds like you have an awesome balance or work and home - which is SO important. It's fabulous your work is so understanding about parents having lives outside of work! : )

(p.s. My word verification is "jollysir" which I find humourous)

MartiniGal said...

I love "Tough, Hardline Catwoman"!!! btw, I miss you terribly!! Let's get together soon!!!