You guys, I have to get this off my chest! A few weeks ago I was waiting in a doctor’s office to see my oncologist. My younger brother, Brian, was keeping me company and when he noticed an older gentleman fumbling and somewhat swearing at his iPhone, he offered to help him. The guys started talking, and I just zoned out. But then I overheard the guy ask my brother, “So, is your wife OK, kid?”
Brian quickly told him I was his sister and that I would positively be fine! I smiled and my phone tinged with a text. It was Jack’s school holiday OOSH sending me an awesome pic of an epic sand castle Jack built at the beach. “Look Bri! Jack built this at camp!”
That’s when a woman, around 40-ish intervened (and she may have been legally insane!) “So your kid is at camp?” she said. “May I ask how old he is?” The Q didn’t phase me at all. “Six,” I said. Then she pressed … “Why? Do you work?” She was legit surprised to wonder if I worked, earned and brought home the low-fat turkey bacon.
As I said, I was at the oncologist, so I wasn’t in the best mood to begin with, so this set me off. “Yes, I do work. I work full-time.” And then I decided this woman was deranged based on what came out of her mouth next.
“You shouldn’t have kids if you can’t be a mother,” she said. She really said that. I did not hallucinate this. I wish I had.
Brian, who had been listening all along and not saying a word, yelled, “OHHHHH!” (Like Tony Soprano style, OHHHH!)
Then I went a little mad. But all the coolest people are a little mad and crazy. I didn’t have a soapbox to stand on, so I just yelled:
“I’m an amazing mother. I am raising my son alone. I work so I can pay my mortgage and buy food and clothe my kid. I work so my kid can go on holidays and have a dog. I work so I can afford private health insurance that is going to pay for my cancer treatment. But, mostly I work because I’m an educated woman with a university degree who wants to set the right example for her kid. I work because I never want to depend on a guy to rescue me. So yeah, my kid has been in daycare since he was 2. And he attends the OOSH program after school and during school holidays. And it’s fine. Because he’s learning and playing and exploring. And he loves me!”
I think Brian stifled me because everything after that was just blurry. I was seeing stars. I hate the whole working mum/SAHM BS debate. SAHMs are awesome, but the argument that you had kids to be a mum to stay home with them and raise them isn’t exactly true. Come on, you stay home because you can. Financially, you can. And that’s great and your job is demanding and hard and I get it. But it doesn’t make you a better mother than me.