"You can be a mom and work, I guess it all just depends on how much you love your kids."
Says the anonymous person commenting on the latest article designed to make my heart shrivel up inside me because I work outside of the home.
I sit at my desk on a break from lunch surrounded by photos in cheap plastic frames.
Jack on a walk
Trevor and I smiling at a wedding
Jack laughing on a blanket
Trevor and Jack at the beach
The 3 of us smiling on a blanket of fall leaves
I listlessly pick baby carrots from a sandwich bag staring at the screen remembering how I packed that lunch in the hour of quiet I get every night after Jack is asleep and Trevor is reading in bed. I do a lot in that quiet hour so that I can enjoy all of the noisy, joyful hours of wakefulness I get with my family.
I wonder if that person knew that somewhere, someone would read that sentence and their words would break her heart.
The tap of their keys like gunshots designed purposefully? accidentally? intentionally? unknowingly? to hurt so deeply?
In an instant, everything around me seems shallow and empty. This tiny desk, these photos, this coffee, these carrots.
I close out of that page, that awful page and that awful article written by a man, no less, telling me that I secretly hate myself because I'm sitting here while other people raise my child. Thank you little red "x" at the top of the page. You did what you could to get rid of those thoughts, but yet, they linger into my day.
I don't have any answers for you who find yourself reading this. I don't understand why the world, but especially women have begun a civil war on the complicated journey that is motherhood. For decades we have joined together to fight the indignities heaped on us from men who didn't know better and now we know better and yet we still fight.
But what I do know is that I love my son with every fiber of myself. I love how free-spirited and independent he is. My guess is that he'd be this wonderful whether or not we shared every day together or not.
But then again...
We do share every day together. How can we not? A full 1/2 of that little boy is me, an extension of me and an extension of Trevor. When he hurts, I hurt. When Miss Heather or Miss Sarah or Miss Andrea call me and tell me that he's sick, they can't even finish their sentence before my keys are in my hand and I'm shutting down my computer.
So to the men and women so set on breaking my heart and the hearts of every mother or father who works outside of the home- don't you ever, ever, ever tell me that my love for my son is compromised because I eat my baby carrots out of a sandwich bag instead of at home on the floor with my son. And don't you ever, ever, ever assert that because I don't always occupy the same space he does, that it's the same thing as leaving him. And to the men and women who don't think parents who stay at home with their children "work", try it for a week.
The children I worry for aren't the ones whose parents go to work every day or the ones who stay home. The children I worry for are the ones who are growing up in homes filled with unrelenting judgment and anger.
My little family is turning out so well. I just need to remind myself of that every now and then.