I overheard a conversation today as I was in a store line up. I had my head buried in my phone bouncing from Instagram feed to Facebook Messenger so believe me when I say I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. I was busy in my own little world. This was just loud and clear and right there behind me!
I think my ears perked up when I heard the words, “…that’s just lazy mothering.”
At this point I had heard nothing else but my blood was already starting to boil.
First of all, to the two women who so unabashedly talked about this I have something to say.
1) You’re in a store where people who need nothing but simply want new things go. You are privileged.
2) You’re in a store with your friend! You are privileged.
3) You made it out of the house today and probably had a shower that, judging by your age, was not interrupted 6 times by someone crying/whining/flushing random things down the toilet! Consider it an enormous privilege, please, for the rest of us.
Secondly, lazy mothering?
There isn’t a mother on this earth that is lazy if, in fact, her child is alive. Simply the act of birthing a child is the epitome of NOT lazy and to all the mothers out there who made it that far and then sat down on the job for the next 18 years – I still applaud you.
If your children are fed, I applaud you. If they’ve been fed 3 square meals with cutely cut snacks in between and neatly decorated plates, you are an overachiever, but worthy of applause just the same.
If your children got dressed today, heck if YOU got dressed today I’d just like to say well done. If you made it out the door in some semblance of order, good on ya. If everyone made it to where they were supposed to be on time and with lunch bags in hand, well that right there just deserves a standing ovation.
If there was clean underwear in your child’s drawer, if their hands were washed before they ate, if you got them into bed without ketchup smears on their face, I applaud you. And if you didn’t – whatever, man. Germs build their immune system and ketchup comes out of pillows. You’re doing a good job.
If there’s one thing that I just can’t stand its judgement against the people who are trying so ridiculously hard. It’s hard work to be a mother! What kills me even more is when this judgement is coming from other women. Do they just forget?
Do they forget the endless cooking and cleaning? Do they forget the time it takes to soothe a child who’s hurt? Do they forget that sometimes nights are rough and someone barfs or just can’t sleep? Do they forget the pressures of taking your kids in public and wanting nothing more but for them to obey so you look like a decent parent? Do they forget the tantrums that grate you down to your very last bit of patience? Do they?
This mothering gig, it’s not for the weak. You know what else it isn’t? For the lazy!
I know as mothers we can all agree on that, but mothers who have been out of the game for awhile, can you please cut us some slack? Sure, we know, times were different. We have it easy with our prepared chicken fingers and washing machines. We get it, the world has changed and is so much simpler, right?
Big. Fat. Wrong.
Because sure, we have some luxuries like, oh, a toilet and electricity but I assure you raising kids is still raising kids.
Let me tell you what we’re doing while our dishes are being washed for us in the dishwasher. We’re monitoring screen time and we’re making sure our kids don’t run out in the street because many of us don’t have large yards anymore. We’re pulling together nutritious dinners after working an 8 hour day because, have you seen what a mortgage is lately? That house you purchased for 50,000 is now upwards of 300,000 and we don’t have the privilege of staying home with our littles anymore.
We’re teaching about cyber bullying and keeping our kids safe online, a world you didn’t have to contend with. We’re taking them to the park because everyone knows you don’t send your kids out there alone anymore and we’re reading up on genetically modified foods and learning how to avoid them while shopping for organics so we’re not pumping our kids immune systems full of chemicals, things you didn’t have to worry about when you picked your potatoes from your own garden.
We’re also doing so many things just the same as you did. We’re helping with math homework and we’re scooping ice cream while we tread lightly through the days events of, “She said she’s not my friend anymore.” We’re helping to hide pimples and teaching to shave legs and we’re changing diapers over and over and over again.
We’re working our fingers raw, our emotions to the core, and our physical selves drained to empty each and every day while we strive to teach our children to be socially responsible members of society who contribute to our earth, the people around them and even those abroad.
Bottom line? There is no lazy that can saddle up to the word mother. There just isn’t.
Sure we may not be doing things the way you did and we may not even be living up to the expectation that you have for us or for your grandchildren. But we are not lazy. And you know what else? We could probably use your help. I assure you we’d be so thankful for laundry being folded or dinner being made for us instead of judgement cast for the things we’re not getting done.
Mama’s out there; you with a child in your womb who is kicking your ribs and making you have to pee incessantly, you with the baby crying night after night for no apparent reason, you who are changing diapers and wiping up apple sauce that was flung across the entire kitchen, you with the toddler that you’re carrying out of the store under one arm while they scream, you who arrive at the school right as the bell rings every single day, you who gave your kid a bag of chips and a chocolate muffin in their lunch today, you whose teenager won’t walk beside you, you who has the daughter who is pregnant, you who caught your teen smoking, you who has laundry piled to the ceiling and is serving grilled cheese for dinner – again, I applaud you.
Cause if there’s one thing I know it’s that we don’t get to choose exactly the way everything goes in life and we cannot control our children completely the way we’d like. But I never really had a dream of raising robots anyways, so that’s cool.
I always wanted kids. Kids with a mind of their own, personalities of their own, ideas and creativity all their own and character galore. I’ve got ’em alright and it is a blessing and a privilege. It’s also work.
You’re doing a good job, Moms. I hope you know that and even more I hope you believe it.
And this applause, this one that I’m giving right now while my kids are beside me on the couch playing Minecraft?
It’s for you. Yeah – you!