Friday, January 24, 2014

Who Am I to Look Down on Anyone?

So the other day, my Cousin Erin posted this link on her Facebook page

When I initially saw it, I read the headline, "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry," and I have to be honest, I did not quite process it the way it was intended

I sort of made a mental note about it and thought oh, I’ll go back and read that later

So last night, as I lay in bed unable to sleep next to Mr McSnores A lot, I flipped open my iPad and read the article……..SIX TIMES

The first time I read it I thought wait, what did she say? Am I reading this correctly? Does this even apply to me because I’m not really that young but I do have a husband and a child

The second time I read it I thought maybe I am changing tone of it in my head too much

The third time I was all oh no I’m not

And the fourth time, I was shocked a woman would say this about other women

So I read it two more times

And then I started reading the comments people had left on Erin’s page

Everyone seemed to be in agreement that this women was slightly misguided, possibly bitter and has little or no respect for her own mom

I can’t say I disagree

So I read it again this morning figuring my head, after two cups of coffee, may be a bit clearer

But it still reads the same

She starts off by intimating that a stay at home mom and a woman who works and takes care of herself are not on equal footing

So my first thought was is she saying stay at home mom don’t take care of themselves?

Does she think they have like a team that comes in and takes care of them all day?

Or do they just not do anything to take care of themselves?

What does she mean stay at home moms don’t take care of themselves?

Who does she think takes care of them?

Now, because of who I am, I am of course taking that statement literally:

I think of taking care of ones' self as

Proper hygiene (showering, getting dressed, cutting your toenails and brushing your teeth)
Nourishing one’s self with food and water
Nurturing one’s self mentally and emotionally
Paying one’s bills, returning library books on time and checking the mail
Voting, not dodging jury duty when you get your notice even if it is in Lowell
Changing the oil in the car when its due, rotating the tires and getting it inspected
Going to the dentist twice a year and the doctor once a year

Most mom’s I know, working or stay at home, do all those things, not just for themselves but also for their children and often times husband as well

(and I am not in any way shape or form putting down husbands…..I also know lots of households in which moms and dads split tasks, chores and responsibilities 50/50…or 70/30…..or 60/40…or 30/70…whatever the split may be…in our house, Sean makes the beds, I clean the bathrooms; I pay the bills, he maintains the maintenance on the heating and AC system; I do the laundry, he puts it away, he makes the bed, I steal the covers)

She then went on to suggest that marriage and motherhood are not the huge accomplishments society seems to think they are

She actually states that these are “not accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them”

Apparently she does not know women who have struggled with infertility and the heartbreak it brings

And she must be completely unaware of the whole marriage equality battle that’s been going on because I know people who can’t get married (and no, we’re not getting into a discussion about that being right or wrong, my point right now is it’s not literally something anyone can do)

She wants to have a shower for a woman who backpacks across Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job

I mean what would one even register for after completing a backpack trip across Asia?

And I’m pretty sure those would be Welcome Home Parties or drinks on a Friday because hey! I have something to celebrate

When I was in my 20s, I used to have a celebration every time I got paid – just because I could

Celebrate anything you want – that’s the beauty of life, you can turn anything you want into a celebration

Instead, she is upset that women who choose the house and kid thing “which is the path of least resistance” are the ones who get all the parties and accolades

Listen sister, if you think the house and child thing is the path of least resistance, you should have been in my house when the water tank let go and flooded the FINISHED basement

Better yet, come hang out with me when Lucy is having one of her epic temper tantrums; I’ve seen her send armed men fleeing for cover (yeah, one time in public, Lucy had a super tantrum …. she was screaming so loudly a police officer approached us -  I’m pretty sure he was coming over to make sure I was not beating her…when he realized it was me getting beaten, saw the contents of my shopping bag spilling and my purse overturned on the ground, he turned and fled…what happen to serve and protect officer?!?!)

And yes, I had a wedding shower (no bachelorette party) and I had a baby shower

And you know what I took away from those two parties?

The overwhelming sense of love my family and friends have for me, for my husband and for my daughter

Oh sure, I got gifts and yes, there was cake and my mom’s crab meat dip but more importantly, I was surrounded by women who love me and were there to celebrate the adventure I was about to embark upon – be it my marriage or 

And you know what they gave me that was even more important than the tangible gifts?

Hope, encouragement, love, words of wisdom, and examples to live by

These women, some who have been in my life from the moment I was born, are all examples for me in some way shape or form

Some have had a bigger part in my life than others but they've all influenced me somehow…..good bad or indifferent they‘ve all had some sort of an impact on my life and that is something I treasure way more than a place setting

I take from each of these women what they are willing to give be it advice, cooking tips, recipes or just quiet examples of the mother, wife and woman I want to be

The author goes on to assert that if women can do anything, why do we applaud them for doing nothing – in her world marriage and motherhood are nothing

Marriage and motherhood are nothing?

Clearly you've never been in the hospital with someone you planned on spending the rest of your life with unsure of what will happen in the next few hours

You've never sat next to the person you love more than life itself and felt helpless when you've been unable to take the hurt they feel away

Clearly, you've never sat up at night worried sick about what the future holds for your child

Maybe you’ve you never sat up at night with a sick child or found yourself racing to the ER in the middle of the night bargaining with God to please let it be nothing – promising anything and everything just to make sure nothing happens

Clearly, you've never had a fight with someone you love so much you hurt more than they do for the words that fell from your mouth

Marriage and motherhood is nothing?

It is everything

It takes every ounce and fiber of your being to make a marriage work 

It takes mountains of unconditional love and patience to be a mother

But yeah, I can see how that’s nothing

She states you will never have time, energy freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids

She’s actually half right on this one

When you have a husband and kids, your time, energy, freedom and mobility are in fact severely compromised -  sort of a unavoidable really…..

But I’m guessing even a single woman with her dream job and corner office would tell you the same thing because I’m pretty sure she is working her ass off to keep that position

And here’s where she was half wrong: I may be tired and I may not have the energy I used to have or the freedom or the mobility or the money but let me tell you something right now Amy Glass,


I am a wife, a mother, and a woman

The combination of the three, and really any one on its own, makes me exceptional

Ask Lucy how exceptional I am when I find her beloved stuffed cat Togus she can’t sleep without

Ask my husband how exceptional I am after, well, after we spend an evening together (yes that kind of evening, read between the lines….)

Ask my husband and daughter how exceptional I am when I cook their favorite meal or make them brownies

Ask my husband how exceptional I am when he looks at me and says I am the luckiest guy in the world

Ask my daughter how exceptional I am when the only thing that sets her world straight is a hug and a kiss from her Mum

Ask me how exceptional I am when I see the pride in the eyes of my husband and daughter when they look at me

Ask me how exceptional I think I am when I look in the mirror

Exceptional – you bet your fucking ass I am! I gave birth for God’s sake! I grew another life – you GD right I am exceptional!

But in your world I’m not exceptional because I chose to be a wife and a mother

Listen lady, in my world, any woman, any person, who makes a choice and owns it is exceptional

Whether I agree with it or not, any woman who makes a choice is exceptional – you too are exceptional in your own warped way

And listen Amy Glass who wrote this blog, who may or may not be doing it just to get a rise out of people and traffic to her site,  it is hard to raise kids and manage a household – stay at home mom or working mom, it is hard

But guess what, it’s equally hard to be a single woman out there on your own

And you want to know why it’s so hard?

Not because of the kids, not because of our husbands, not because of our Moms

Not because of a glass ceiling

Not because of a lack of opportunities or ambition

It’s hard because of women like you

It’s hard because of women like this and women like this and like this

It’s hard because we make it so hard for one another

It’s hard because rather than supporting and encouraging one another, as women, as wives, as mother, we’re busy judging and criticizing each for everything from our clothes choices to birth plans to formula feeding versus breast feeding to the men we chose, our the hair color, the shoes on our feet and every other life choice one might make

Women have an uncanny ability of tearing their own kind apart

And I’m not talking about jealousy and envy; it is human nature to be jealous and envious – I am of both men and women I know

But that is my burden not theirs

I work really hard at not letting my own emotion about their smaller waist or better wardrobe or bigger house or larger salary not cloud how I feel about them as a person

Look, here’s the thing, I don’t begrudge Amy for her opinion, and I don’t even begrudge her for writing about and sharing her opinion

I actually think it was quite brave of her – I sure as hell don’t have the hutzpah she dose to piss off so many people and celebrate it (I actually piss people off without even meaning or trying to…yeah, it’s a gift I’m cursed with)

I went back and looked at some of her other blogs – I wanted to understand where she was coming from

Her other posts had headlines like "Successful Women Don’t Fall in Love" and "Here’s How to Cheat Proof your Relationship: Stay Attractive"

I could not bring myself to read those posts

But I read one called "When it Comes to Women, There’s No Equality Gap, There’s an Ambition Gap"

This was her last paragraph:

'If we really want to close the equality gap, we need to think about how we can close the ambition gap: encourage women to dream big, and not to settle for a helper role.'

And I thought to myself had she not written “and not to settle for a helper role”, had she stopped at "Encourage women to dream big," I actually could have mustered up a teeny tiny bit of respect for her

But she had to keep going, she had to get that dig in

And that made me sad

It made me sad not only for me but for her and for the other women in her life

I don’t know, maybe she is trying to just get traffic to her site

Maybe she’s not even a real

Maybe this is some sort of a social experiment someone has engineered to get us all riled up

Maybe she’s really a guy

Who knows?

All I know is I am a little sad for her

Erin also posted this on her Facebook page,

It renewed my faith in women – in society, in humankind

It also reminded me that as a woman who has to make choices every day, who gets to make choices every day, I should choose wisely

So I choose to surround myself with women and men who respect me as a mum, as a wife, as a sister, as a cousin, as a co-worker, as a person and as a woman

I choose to surround myself with people who respect and love me regardless of

the number on the scale or my bank statement
what political party or church I belong to
whether I breastfed or used formula
whether I vaccinated my child or not
whether I use organic vegetables or frozen
whether I use the wrong weather and don’t catch it because I am so reliant on spell check
whether I write in run on sentences and use punctuation all wrong

I want to be surround by people, by women, who want to be around me for my wit and humor, for my bad jokes and stories from my drinking days

I want to be able to turn to the people in my life for love, guidance and support with no fear of being judged

I want to be surrounded by women I can trade recipes with, who can recommend books and movies to me and ask for my recommendations

I want be around people who will share their perspective of the world with me, who will teach me why they believe in what they believe in, but not expect me to adopt it just because it’s their way

I choose to be around people not because they have the same opinion I do or because we belong to the party or church, but because they too have made their own choices and stick by them

I choose to be surround by people who are proud of their decisions and choices no matter how hard or wrong they or anyone else thinks they might have been

Not too long ago, someone said to me the great thing about you Maria is I always know where I stand with you…..I may not like it but at least I know where I stand…….I like that with you, what you see is what  you get……I like that though I don’t always agree with you and you almost never agree with me, you always respect what I have to say….I just like you because of that – I like knowing where I stand with you – and I like that you know where you stand in the world – not many can say that…..

That was the best back-handed compliment I've ever received

And as the mother of a daughter, I hope that at the very least, I can raise my daughter to be true to herself

I hope and pray that I raise her to be strong in her convictions and beliefs

And that I teach her, by example, that whatever decisions and choices she makes, she must own

I want the world to know where it stands with her and I want her to know where she stands with the world

And it can all be done with mutual respect – as it should be

Amy Glass, I won’t wish for you to one day find happiness or love for you may already have it and who am I to judge

However, I do hope that someday you can bring yourself to respect the choices and decisions all women make even if they go against what it is you believe

That’s the beauty of being a woman – the right to choose on so many levels – all the rest of us ask in return is respect for the choices we've made  

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