Saturday, February 2, 2013

What is it with the Mommy Warriors lately??

Geez-o-freakin' Pete. Did something happen on a national/global scale to set off moms and set us at each others' throats that I don't know about? Is it Global PMS Week and nobody told me? Because in the last week I've been verbally assaulted by no less than three separate Mommy Warriors, three distinct conversations on totally unrelated topics that swung into left field without warning, descending to the maturity level of a seventh grade cat-fight before I knew what was happening.  Venomous, hateful things have been said to me this week, assumptions from people who know me only by my internet presence and memories fifteen years into yesterday.

Moms who earn money outside the home. Moms who earn money from home. Moms who care for their children and keep a household running.  Dads in each of the above.  Parents who are blessed enough to have both jobs at home so they can raise their kids together.

We all work, people.

I am the first to admit that I can't do what a lot of earning parents do.  I cannot do your jobs. The challenges and difficulties of the wage-earning world you inhabit are beyond me. There are various reasons for this, but first among them is a physical disability that makes it impossible to be on my feet for more than an hour or so without prescription-level painkillers. That reality already taken me uncomfortably close to dependency issues that I never want to see again. Otherwise, trust me, we would be a two-income household before you could spit.

But my earning parent friends, acquaintances and so on? I'd be willing to bet a year's mortgage money that all y'all couldn't cope with my challenges and difficulties either.  And no, I'm not going to detail my day so that the small-minded may nit-pick and shame and criticize, because they will do so anyway. 

The point I am trying to make is that all parents work, and all parents work HARD.  Whether your job requires a uniform, a tie, a cash register, a desk, a gun, or sneakers and a willingness to play innumerable rounds of peekaboo and repeat "use your signs, not your teeth" on an endless loop, we all work our asses off to do the best we can by our families.

Shockingly, sometimes that includes turning to Uncle Sam for a little help, because in case y'all didn't notice, the bottom fell out of the economy. Not gonna get into those details either, for the same reason as before, but yes, we receive WIC, a small amount of food stamps, and Medicaid. This insures that we do not starve, and can get to a doctor instead of joining the uninsured masses clogging the ERs when someone gets sick.  That's it. No utility help, no housing vouchers, no plasma screens or new cars.  We pay our own bills, and what we have, we take care of and treat with respect, because we can't afford to replace things if they break or wear out prematurely, so our clothes fit well and our car is damage-free and clean.

We garden, fish, and hunt to supplement our budget, and spend precious dollars on a Sam's Club membership so that I can buy supplies twice a year and bake our own bread cheaper than buying it. I live on the computer because I spend my day writing articles and taking surveys to bring in enough to take a bill or two off John's shoulders, all while watching my active toddler in the living room that is set up as a giant playpen so he can roam in relative safety while I work. Once I manage to order a copy of my birth certificate (the fee has proven difficult to hold aside) and get my in-state driver's license, I'll be going to the blood bank twice a week to donate plasma, since it's not close enough to walk without jacking up my ability to move the next day. My evenings after JJ goes to sleep are spent searching for a job I can physically handle, that pays enough to actually make a difference after accounting for childcare. We have a plan, and we're making progress, but it has been about 15 months hard slog, and we're not out of the woods yet. And I defy anyone to step into our lives, with all the complexities and challenges intact, and do better.

The point, I guess, is that I am mortally sure I cannot handle your job, and I'm equally certain that you can't cope with mine. Your world would drive me quite noisily mad, and mine would doubtless send folks screaming into the night. That's why you are you and I am me. We are each where we belong, doing the jobs for which we are best suited, and if that's not always the case, it is up to each of us to change our own realities, not snipe and sneer and cut each other down for not being all the same.

When you catch yourself judging, take a breath, challenge your assumptions, grant that all may not be as it seems, and mind your own business.  And that goes for me too.

Okay, this wasn't at ALL the blogging re-entry I had planned, but... *shrug*

Because that was all kinda heavy and pointed, I close with a photo bomb... :) JJ's getting BIG these days, and cute as ever.  The feet are still huge, the smile still infectious (and now it contains teeth!), and the laughter still entrancing.  Enjoy!

He loves to spin...

This would be why the coffee table is now a toddler-sized window-seat.

The pack & play, otherwise affectionately known as "baby jail".  

He's still fascinated by his own image when I turn on the webcam... *grins wickedly* Oh, the wealth of photographic evidence of his baby cuteness I am accumulating to share with future romantic interests...

Mittens is the newest addition to our family, he was the runt of a litter that was abandoned in our yard last fall.  He and JJ play together constantly, and the giggles are abundant. :)

The Rock'nStack, which he figured out and promptly hid all but two of the rings in fifteen minutes flat. We often dig them out from under the couches, but can never find all 5 at once.

I put these overalls on him for the first time about two weeks ago, and they are OFFICIALLY the cutest darned thing he owns.

This is not a box.

And this one... well, seriously, look at that face!!

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