The other night, after our daughter had gone to bed, my husband stood in the kitchen, let out a huge sigh and exclaimed, "I am exhausted!" Assuming he had been up until the wee hours of the morning (which does often happen) I asked, "What time did you come to bed last night?"
Exasperated, he responded, "That's not it! I'm swamped at work right now!" I nodded intently, displaying what I thought was understanding and sympathy. Silence, then, "You obviously don't remember what it's like," he huffed. I didn't respond. And that was the end of the conversation.
What I wanted to say was, "Au contraire! It hasn't been that long. I do in fact remember what it is like. I remember being able to take a shower every morning, style my hair, put on makeup and real clothes and actually leave the house. I remember what it was like to interact with other adults on a regular basis. I remember my job involving sitting at a desk. I remember when a 10 hour work day felt long.
I used to plan major corporate events, rather than play dates. Was in charge of multi-media marketing campaigns, not changing diapers and cleaning food off the walls. I sat in meetings with high level executives; now I read Moo Baa La La La 100 times a day (or so it feels sometimes). I remember a lot of things about having a career."
Probably best I kept my big mouth shut. I do not mean to belittle my husband, or anyone else. The corporate rat race is brutal. I remember that all too well. And, despite my sarcasm above, I don't miss it one bit. I have never regretted my decision to stay home with our daughter. However, I was not the least bit prepared for how hard my new job was going to be. I have found it to be far more challenging than any position I ever held in the business world.
My point is this. Perspectives change as our situations do. And we have to try to recognize other people's points of view. Put ourselves in their shoes to understand where they are coming from. We often become so caught up in our own issues that we are unable - or unwilling - to see the world from a different perspective.
The other night in the kitchen, I was caught up in my own world. I was exhausted, too, as I usually am at the end of the day. So I was unable to offer my husband the empathy and support he was looking for. On other nights, the situation has been reversed.
On the whole we are very happy with our life and the decisions we made for our family. I believe we make a great team, support each other very well and are building a wonderful foundation for our daughter. But we have our moments. That's real life.
I think this is often the foundation of the so-called "Mommy Wars" phenomenon. As moms, we sometimes have a difficult time seeing the world from a different perspective. I understand how it can happen. But I hate to see the results when it does. Working moms versus stay-at-home moms. Breastfeeding versus formula. Disposable versus cloth diapers. I could go on and on. The disputes certainly will.
Can't it stop? Shouldn't we take it upon ourselves to accept, if not understand, the perspectives of our fellow moms? Yes, there are some very supportive communities of moms out there. But there is also a great deal of bickering. And I for one am sick of it.
Rather than focus on the things that make us different, let's embrace what we have in common. We are all moms. And that provides a strong foundation for mutual respect and support. There is a great deal we should be able to relate about. Let's build on it!