Allow me to take the podium for a bit.
Mean girls, ever known one?
I bet as you read that one phrase, you could think of several different examples in your own life of mean girls. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, we’ve all experienced mean girls in some way. I would even add that we all have had at least one (or more) mean girls who seemed to follow our every day. Right now I can think of one in girl in particular who for one reason or other singled me out from a very early time in elementary school to pick on me nearly every day we rode the school bus together. I could tell you her name, where she lived, members of her family, but I cannot to this day tell you why I was one of her favorite people to pick on. Can any of you out there relate?
Here I am, about 1st grade in a cute polyester jumper made by my grandma.
This went on for years, until in jr high I just told my dad I really would rather walk the nearly 2 miles to school (even in the below zero winters) than ride that bus again. He asked me why and I finally told him. My dad was a bit stunned that this had gone on for so long, then he asked if this was so and so’s daughter and I said yes. And he told me: you are bigger than her, taller than her and that next time she does anything to knock her on her ass. I was worried about getting in trouble with the bus driver but my dad assured me it’d be okay.
Here is a great shot of me showing one of my 4-H pigs, about 6th grade.
So one day in 7th grade after having this girl sit behind me and kick my sit and say nasty things, I’d had it. I got up, turned around and asked if she wanted to fight. (You should note that I had reached my full height of 5’4″ and I was a hearty farm girl who rode horses, did 4-H and FFA, worked cows, sheep, pigs, hauled hay, and all other sorts of farm things. My nemesis was a couple inches shorter, probably 20 lbs lighter and not a farm girl.) I can still remember that day. She got up, said some nasty things, and I knocked her on her ass. This pretty much ended it, she would from time to time say something and I’d just challenge her and she’d back off. Of course, not all the mean girls I’ve know in my life can be dealt with so easily. Because let’s face it girls can be very sneaky and clever-especially when they are mean.
Now, fast forward nearly 20 years. I am in my mid thirties, mommy to the cutest set of boy/girl twins you’ve ever met, a college graduate, a chemistry teacher who took time off to raise these sweet babies, and now have “mommy friends”. Here’s where you think, finally! All that mean girl crap of the past is gone. We are all mature, intelligent, women, who are all in the same boat: Trying to raise our kids the best we can, juggling housework, marriage and bills. And still trying to keep a little bit of our identity as women intact by having some “big girl” time together.
But little did I know, the mean girls had grown up to be “The Mommy Guilt Club” (MGC). If you’ve been fortunate enough not to encounter this club allow me to give you a few examples:
-labor and delivery (horror) stories
Let me be clear, I do not want to make light of the difficulties some of us have had in getting pregnant (been there), staying pregnant (done that), or the difficulty of L&D. But what I’ve found is that no matter how difficult your struggles, or how heart breaking: The members of the MGC have had it worse, had it longer, had more etc. That’s not to say that some of these members haven’t had it worse, it’s just that they never allow anyone else tell their story.
-Breastfeeding- It’s like guys comparing their high school glory days or the size of their, shoe. For women, if you couldn’t breastfeed a pack of wolverines while juggling, you really weren’t trying hard were you?
I will admit that breastfeeding was hard to do. It is a natural thing, a wonderful thing to do for you and your child. Being a farm girl and science teacher I think it’s the best thing for a new baby. However, it was not, at least for me, an easy thing to do. It did not come “natural” to me in spite of the many books I read while pregnant. I know that trying to figure this out with a newborn is difficult, but with two? Yikes! It was the hardest thing for me to do, I didn’t make a lot of milk, and having babies who were born at 35 weeks (which our pediatrician said made them “lazy suckers”) made it even harder.
But please, before you throw your bras at me, I do know women who were champs and were able to breast feed twins very well.
-SAHM vs. working moms
Before ever getting pregnant I was adamant about staying home to raise my children. I thought, and still do think, it was the best thing for our children. That being said I know there are families who cannot afford to give up an income, or single mothers who have no choice but to work. I refuse to judge the choices or circumstances of women doing what they feel is best for their families.
And now my dirty little secrets: Staying home with kids is hard. And there are days I wonder why if my kids would be better off with a sitter who maybe had more patience than I had that day. And selfishly, I miss working. I miss being a teacher. And yes, as the members of the MGC will tell me, I know I am teaching valuable things to my own sweet little kids. But I miss being a chemistry teacher. I miss the mental challenge of trying to stay ahead of really bright kids. I love science. I also miss working in a professional environment, with other professionals. I know that my kids are only going to be little for so long and that this stage will go quickly. But still.
But as of today, I resign my membership in the Mommy Guilt Club. I am trying to be a good, Christian mother and wife. I am working to raise children who love God, who are loved, secure, confident, and kind people. Maybe I’m not doing it the way you would, I’m sure I could do it better. But I’m working on it and I refuse to let mean girls dictate how I should take care of my family.
And that is the end of my little speech.
I’d love to hear your comments.
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