Yep. That’s my big confession. I was tired, and I slept. I’m pretty sure that exact scenario plays out for millions of people everyday. I’m fairly certain there’s no cure for exhaustion other than rest. I’m also positive that knowing that didn’t assuage my guilt any. The broken record kept right on playing in my mind…
Working moms don’t get to nap in the middle of the day
If I went to a real job I couldn’t do this
David doesn’t go to work so I can stay home and sleep
I’m a mooch
I should be using this time to write
I’m the last person who should be giving advice about motherhood
Some women would give anything to have time with their kids and I’m sleeping through it
…and on and on it goes. Where does the crazy voice come from (and does yours sound like she’s straight out of the movie Mean Girls)?
I worked at a church for years, and the #1 question most asked of church staff is: “So what do you do all week?” It became fun to make up the answers. We set up a slip ‘n’ slide down the middle aisle of the worship center. The craziest part of being asked the question was the assumption that there’s nothing to do. As though no preparation goes into the perfectly-timed worship services and no planning is necessary to offer the programs that happen each week. There’s such condescension that comes with implying you owe the world an account of your every movement to make your job valid.
When I left work to stay home I realize that the church staff questions were nothing. At least people asked. As a stay-at-home mom it’s just assumed that not only do you not work, you have a free ride through life. PLEASE hear me. This is not a diatribe on the woes of those who stay at home. I don’t think some moms have it better or worse than others. This is the recognition that WE bought into the lies. I’d love to say it’s society’s fault and blame it all on “Them” but girls… They didn’t tell us to hold ourselves and each other to ridiculous standards. We do this one to ourselves.
I’ve walked both sides of that invisible line we draw in the sand between stay-at-home and working moms, and here’s what I know. Neither is easy. Neither is fun all the time. Neither is without challenges, and neither is excluded from criticism. If you work, you can’t understand the frustration of needing a moment to yourself. If you stay at home, you can’t appreciate how hard it is to leave each morning. Or so we tell ourselves.
Here’s my question: What if we didn’t worry about it? What if we let working moms work and stay-at-home moms work? What if we didn’t have to assume one was harder than the other? Or require each other to give an account or justification? What if we freed ourselves from the need to defend and just loved our little people in whatever stage of life we’re in? What if we let go of our own guilt and helped her let go of hers?
I’m guessing if we spent a moment just to THINK about being in the other’s shoes, we could imagine how much her feet hurt. And how hard she works. And then maybe we could do the same for ourselves. Maybe we could cut ourselves some slack.
Maybe…just MAYBE…we could take a nap and actually let ourselves…rest.