Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop Saying That, Please

This is not my normal post. It is very personal and will probably offend some people. 

Here is my complaint: I am sick and tired of people disrespecting each other’s positions and choices in the world. Whether you chose to be single, to live with a partner, to be married, to have a job, to stay home with your children, or to become a monk, I believe you are a human being worthy of respect. You should not be told that you are somehow less because of that choice.

I would very much like to make this a series and ask my friends who have other lifestyles to voice their own concerns and needs. (Why, if you are single, do people assume that means you don’t mind working overtime? Why, if you don’t have kids, do people assume your life is somehow incomplete?)  

With the arrival of Simon in our home, I was thrust into the role of working mother. I have been shocked to find out how incredibly unsupported and disrespected that position has been. I have seen countless blogs, posts, Facebook lists, and Pins supporting stay at home moms – especially the lists of things not to say to SAHMs.

So, here, as a working mother, is a list of 6 things I need people to stop saying to me.

Things I Need People to Quit Saying to Me

1.  “I could never let someone else raise my child.”

Really? Me neither. Just because my child may be at preschool for part of his day does not mean that I am not raising him. I know what he does during the day, every day. I make all of the important moral/medical/lifestyle decisions regarding his upbringing. When he is in my care – for the majority of his day and the weekend – I make an extra effort to spend quality time with him because of our time apart. Let’s agree that we are both raising our own children.

2.  “My family made financial sacrifices so I could care for our child.”

The vast majority of parents make sacrifices for their children. You believe that making less money in order to stay home with your child is the best decision for her. I believe that my child benefits from peer interaction and education he is getting in preschool; the vacations we are able to take; the healthy diet we feed him; and the medical interventions he has received. Those are things my job pays for, and I sacrifice time with him in order to provide them because that is what I believe is best for him. Let’s just agree that we both make sacrifices in order to provide what we believe our child needs and respect that mutual spirit of sacrifice.

3.  “I guess your husband doesn’t have a very good job.”

Wow. That’s just so insulting (and, yes, it has been said to me – more than once.) Because I am sarcastic by nature, it is always on the tip of my tongue to say, “Yeah, I should have followed your example and married for money instead of love.” Of course, that is wrong because I know that the speaker did not marry for money; it just seems like they don’t realize the inference behind their words. First, you are implying that my husband should be judged based on his salary, which is kind of like a man judging you on the size of your breasts and the span of your waistline. It is insulting and outdated. Second, you are implying that I should be the one to stay home. There are many stay at home dads who are doing a bang up job. Third, you are implying that I must want to stay home but don’t have the means to do so. There are many women who work because they believe it is best for their families and themselves, not because they “have to”.  I am proud of the example I set for my son(s) as a working mom. I am proud that they see me and Stone as equal both in and outside of our home; I believe it will help them grow up to be strong, sensitive, independent  men. It is fine if that is not what you think your children need, but please don’t just assume that everyone else needs to feel the same way.  Let’s agree that we both doing what we feel is best.

4. “You are so lucky to get away to work for a break every day. I work 24/7.”

Um, yeah, because I come home to a clean house, dinner on the table, a nanny, a stylist, a personal shopper, and an on-call physician. Is that what you think? Please. Stone and I still take our kid to the doctor, the dentist, the speech therapist, play dates, and birthday parties. We bathe him, feed him, cloth him, discipline him, help him with his homework, and pack his lunch. We clean the house, run the errands, pay the bills, blah, blah, blah. None of that magically does itself while we are at work. Let’s agree that we all have a super long to-do list.

5.  “Staying home lets me really get to know my child.”

Again, I think this speaker doesn’t realize that she is implying I don’t know my child. There are a plethora  of ways to ignore your child – putting them in front of the TV, ignoring them while you chat with the other moms in playgroup,  even just tuning them out – that having nothing to do with whether or not one has a job. I don’t question your knowledge of your child; I am sure that spending your days with them has increased that knowledge. I also know my child better than anyone else in the world – I make a concerted effort to do so.  Let’s agree that we both know, and deeply love our children.

6. “It’s so sad how people have stopped following God’s plan for the family. A woman’s place is in the home.”

You have just foisted your religion on me. You may now remove it. I choose to follow a God who created all human beings equally, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. I opine that a God who creates an entire gender to serve another is not a being I would like to worship. If you chose to worship a misogynistic God, that is your prerogative. Please respect my right to worship my own God in my own way.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day, however you chose to spend it. 


  1. Well said! People need to mind their own business! Loving the foods you eat!

  2. OMG... you are so correct in everything you say but unfortunately the world is made up of people who MUST put other people into boxes... if they can't find a box for you to fit into they are intimidated and start asking stupid questions based on a set of 'morals' they think the rest of the world agrees with... unfortunately however free thinking we all are we are all guilty of doing it... the main thing is to remember how whatever you're doing makes you feel and as long as you're happy and not harming others then keep doing it... just smile sweetly and explain to people that yes, you are very happy doing it the way you're doing it!

  3. oh and you should read Esther's blog... she's brilliant and in the same situation as you...

  4. I hate that when people find out I've been married for almost 12 years they feel the first thing they should say is..."You don't have kids?" When I say no. Then it's okay to ask "Don't you want kids?" Why do people not stop and think there may be a legit reason why we don't have kids? A legit beyond our control reason? Makes my furious!!!! Grrrrr....

  5. I amazed people would have the gall to say some of those things. The middle finger accompanied with sucking noises might be an appropriate response.

  6. wow! U read my mind... And i love this post! I hate points 1 and 6 the most! It hurts the most when elder people whom we respect and look upto, say such things to us


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