Today I am wearing my ranty pants, be warned.
It has been in the news a bit lately the so called feud between stay at home and working mums. The lack of compassion for each others positions being called into question. Today I had a conversational encounter with another stay at home mum that left me feeling weak and inferior. It seems that requiring any kind of break from your children is unacceptable and a break that is facilitated by someone that has a paid employer is almost akin to high treason.
I understand that our job is valueless in the paid marketplace but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, all-consuming or challenging. I think the fact that we might ask someone to help us to care for one or more of our children when we are sick or unable mentally or physically to perform the role ourselves should be considered sensible and in the best interests of our children. Not an imposition and unacceptable behaviour on our part. We should not be made to feel that we are asking something more of someone else because their hour has a dollar value and ours doesn’t. We are asking for someone’s help, to step in before we do something questionable, or worse yet, unthinkable. To clarify I did not ask anyone to drop everything without any notice, I asked if the person could and wanted to help and they said they did.
I left the conversation feeling that I dare not ask anybody that has something “valuable” to offer society, or their employer, for help with the not financially valuable task of child raising. This same person in almost the same sentence told me that they would rather have worked the 9 to 5’s in paid employ than have worked 24/7 child raising but since they had to do it all on their own everybody else should really have to as well.
I am sure that it is this sort of thinking that helps makes post natal depression so rife and it is being perpetuated by people who should know better and should want better because they have been there themselves.
I am not doing this alone and the women that are have nothing but sympathy from me, I do have some wonderful support but it is not always available exactly when it would be most useful. I’m not saying I’m not grateful for the chance to be able to be there to raise my son, or that I want somebody else to do it for me. I’m just saying that you can’t understand what all of that does to any one person’s psyche unless you are them and you are also as sleep deprived as they are and you deal with the person or people that their children are all day ever day. It would be greatly appreciated if others could take the time that they would usually spend telling mothers to toughen up to ask them if they are coping and perhaps if they are feeling really generous if they could spend an hour looking after our children while we stare out the window for a bit to be able to feel like a person in our own right again.