Friday, June 4, 2010

What about the kids?

Ever since I decided to go to law school, I've been experiencing deja vu. Seriously, I have had the exact same conversation over and over again, with many different people. It seems that, when people find out about my plans, 95% of them ask this question: "What about the kids?" Generally this is said in a disapproving or condescending tone. Some brave souls will even go further and attempt to explain to little ol' me just exactly how hard this is going to be for the kids. Others venture further and lament about how hard it will be for my husband to take care of 3 kids and work full time. Almost without fail, when said individuals find out that my children will stay with my parents during my husband's working hours, they drone on about how wonderful it is that my parents are willing to "raise children" again while I complete my education.

Now, I have been ranting about and discussing this with my two best friends, but have thus far spared the online community. However, having discussed this topic with other mothers in the program, it seems that we are all experiencing this same display of sexism. So, I will share my rant with you all, as well:

Granted, I have been a full-time mother most of the time that I have had children. I love it, I truly do. Unfortunately, at this point in time it makes no sense for me to continue to be. I need to be able to earn money and I'm not going to work my ass off for minimum wage when I can have my law degree in just three short years. So, my husband, myself and the children talked it over and decided that this is the best course for improving our family's situation.

These ignorant people never asked "what about the kids?" when both my husband and myself were working full time jobs. As one of my classmates, also the mother of 3, said today, "you could go to work at 7-11 and they'd applaud you for 'working to support your family', but if you try to go back to school to get a better job and life, you're being selfish and abandoning your children". And, for the record, I do know how hard it will be for my husband. There was a time when I was a homeschooling mom, while working a full time job and being a full time student.

During the time that my husband and I were both working night shifts, our children had to stay with my parents, just as they will while I attend school. However, now that I'm in school instead of working it means that my parents are raising them? WTH? And, if one more person asks me if my husband will "babysit" while I take classes, I will scream. It is not babysitting. They are his children too...it's called parenting!

Granted, my being away from my family for most of the summer is a huge departure from our normal routine. I've never been away from my kids so, yes, it is hard. But it will be worthwhile in the end. These mean spirited, judgemental jacka....sorry where was I? Oh yes, these wonderfully well meaning people act like I'm locking the kids in a closet and forgetting about them for 8 weeks. Hellloooo people, we have phones, webcams, etc...they can talk to me everyday. Besides that, they will be coming out here for part of the time. That's not really the point, though. My complaint is this: none of these people, not one, said any of these things when my husband traveled for work. There were times that he was gone for a couple months at a time. None of these supposedly concerned people asked him whether or not I'd be able to take care of the children while he was gone. He was never lectured about how it can be hard or damaging to the children to not see him everyday. He was never accused of abandoning his family. No, he was praised for trying to make life better for us.

3 comments:

  1. Hello my friend!! I LOVE that ur blogging..yes..I am one of those poor souls that live vicariously thru others..at times..LOL..anyway..I understand ur frustration @ the misguided comments that u've gotten..hard to believe that it's 2010, instead of 1950, huh? It is true tho, that we (and by we,I mean more ppl than u would think,but certainly NOT me) still feel that a mother's place belongs solely in the home..unless of course, like u said, she's working at 7-11..LOL..and I ALWAYS ask the question u posed.."WHY do dads call it "babysitting" when caring for their OWN children??" Anyway..I KNOW u love ur children dearly & miss them terribly..and they u..but I wish u nothing but success..as I always have..and I love that ur not afraid to step outside the so-called "norm" and do what u need to do to make a better life for ur family!!! I'm cheering for u & can't wait to read more of ur "rantings"..for we both know that I NEED a little "distraction" right now..lol..and I am sooo very happy for u, that I could just spit!!! LMAO
    Therefore, I can't wait to read all about it!!! U go girl!! Love ya bunches!!! xoxoxo

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  2. On the whole, I don't think that most people think that women should stay home anymore. In fact, when I was a SAHM, I experienced a lot of condescension about "just" staying at home.

    It seems the shift has been more into the stream of belief that states that women can/should work to "contribute" to their family BUT not necessarily be the primary income earner.

    I've spoken to many fathers that have done basically what I'm doing and they are given generous accolades for being "ambitious" and trying to improve their lives, etc. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be as many people that take issue with a women who is not a mother pursuing such opportunities. However, it seems that many still feel it is unnecessary/unnatural/selfish of a mother to pursue major educational/career goals, even if the outcome will ultimately benefit her children.

    I know I shouldn't try to make sense out of it, because you can't reason crazy...but it's still irritating.

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  3. This is just my two sense, which is not much. Your damned if you do and damned if you dont. I'm a full time SAHM, and work my ass being one. I homeschool full time and I enjoy every minute of being with my kids even when they get on my nerves. Honestly it really should not matter if you have chosen to stay home or have a career, as long as you are doing what you have to do to take care of you and yours.

    I get a lot of rude comments for staying at home and having five kids. But you know what, my children are priceless and the time I have with them is so short, that when I look back I will be glad that I stayed home. People are going to say what they want to say, but until someone walks in your shoes, they have no business saying anything at all. Get it girl! I applaud you and wish you all the best!

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