A Real Mother Fu****
I am happy to report that I am back from my maternity leave and so very fortunate to have had the time off and with my family, but equally as excited to jump back into business as usual. LOL ya right! Business as usual. After I had my first child people quickly told me how often I would get asked “when will you have another?” and how many times someone would say “You have to have another one. They need a sibling.” It has always intrigued me how quick others are to offer their opinion when it is not sought, and when it has nothing to do with them, their home, their bodies, or their lives. I never realized how annoying it sounded to have other people say “you should…” before becoming a mother. Now, I find it infuriating when I hear someone even open with those words. The worst thing you could tell a woman who just had a baby is what you think she should do. Here’s a suggestion, how about asking her how she is feeling? Does she need anything? Don’t tell her to have another one or ask if the baby is sleeping through the night. Don’t you dare question or raise an eyebrow at a decision she has made to send the baby to family or daycare. You don’t know people’s situations/circumstances so keep your mouth shut.
We made the decision to send our son to daycare a few weeks ahead of schedule because…well because WE DECIDED TO!! Period. One day I was getting into my car and my neighbor asked about the baby (not me) and how he was doing. He noticed the baby wasn’t with me and asked where he was. In my sleep deprived state I told him that he was at daycare. GASP!! He looked at me and said “No! He is too young! Why would you do that?”
*I know every mother reading this right now is thinking “oh boy.”
I envisioned slamming his head off of my car window, but instead I turned to him as an exhausted mother and said “Because it’s what the fuck we all need right now ok?” I got in my car and drove away with tears in my eyes. This guy just attempted to shame me when he knew nothing about my current circumstance. He judged me based on his own perception and opinion on how things should be. I called my husband and said “We may have a problem. I kind of just cursed the neighbor out” and told him what happened. My husband’s response was “He’s gonna be the one with the problem.” He was right. If my husband saw him that evening, or even a few days later, there was going to be a problem. Luckily, the cold weather and pandemic played a part and no one saw each other for a few weeks after the incident.
When I see my neighbor these days we are cordial, and you can sense he has a bit of fear surrounding him during our encounters. Part of me felt bad and felt like I should apologize and blame it on the hormones. The woman in me said “fuck that.” I don’t owe anyone an apology and that is where we go wrong so often. Stop apologizing for the way you reacted to someone who offended, judged, criticized, or hurt you. You are entitled to strongly react to things, and rather than sheepishly apologize I am owning it. So yeah, now when he sees me he knows I have “another level” and he has no clue what might insight my rage. I bet you any amount of money that he thinks about this encounter every time he considers giving his opinion or criticism to anyone, especially a mother.