I am more than a little annoyed as I write this post. Scratch that. I am extremely annoyed.
I came back from work a few hours ago, bone tired. It’s been a long week, and since V is away at a conference and Thing at my sister Mix’s, I was really looking forward to a quiet evening with a couple of DVDs. Getting on to the elevator, I ran into one of the ladies in my apartment complex – she has a little girl too, close to Thing’s age. She’s one of the few people that I’ve interacted with in the four years we’ve been here – just a few minutes in the elevator, every other month or so. She always struck me as sensible. Until today. Until she kindly asked me why I needed to work when my husband had such a great job? Didn’t I realise it was more fulfilling to stay home and be a full time mum to my little girl? That she was sure my child sucks her thumb because I am a working mother!
I’m still blown away by the fact that a few minutes of superficial interaction was all it took for this lady to accuse, try, judge, convict and sentence me – all for being a parent who also had a job outside her home. What is a full time mum by the way? Does anyone know any part time mums?
She isn’t the only one with this sort of an opinion though. I have lost count of the number of times I have been judged for my choice. You’d think with all the grief women get from everyone else, they’d cut each other a little slack.
It has not been without challenges, my choice. Finding a balance between my job and my family has been extremely difficult at times, but we do ok. Besides, I’d make a terrible stay-at-home Mum. I tried it for a year and a half after she was born and a part of me was absolutely miserable. Maybe it’s because I am the daughter and granddaughter of working mothers. Maybe it’s because I find work outside the home fulfilling and it makes me a better parent. The point is, how does it matter? My Thing is a happy, healthy, well adjusted, bright, articulate small person, who just happens to suck her thumb. Hopefully, she’ll stop someday. If she doesn’t, we’ll end up with an epic bill from the dentist.
And if you want to know what I said to the lady, I have no answer. I spent those brief minutes with her, my mouth open like a fish, looking like an absolute idiot. Not my finest moment. If someone invents a time machine though, I’ll go back and tell her this with a big smile: I sucked my thumb until I was eleven and look how amazing I turned out.