I’ve been a working mom for 10 years, so really I’ve heard it all, but there is one statement that really burns me, and I heard it recently from a supposed friend.
It was a weekday morning and I was trying to power through a quick workout before hitting the office. Just 10 more minutes on the elliptical and I would be done, and low and behold an old friend slides next to me on the nearby machine.
We immediately start chatting and I discover she is back in school, working on a new degree with plans to enter the workforce. Like me, she is a mom, but her journey has been different. She elected to stay home with her kids, had her first child at a young age, and leaped into motherhood from there.
But with the kids getting older, and the need to pay for college educations and beyond, she decided it was time to figure out some work options.
As I continued to sweat it out, I asked her questions about her field of study and new path. She continued to share a bit more about her graduation timing and desired schedule, and that is where I got the zinger.
While she spoke about the hours she wanted to work – hoping to land a perfect shift that only has her working while the kids are at school – she said it.
“I want to be off by the time the kids are out of school. You know, I just don’t want someone else raising my kids. I want to do that.”
I cocked my head, looked at her, and brushed the comment aside.
Thank God the gym machine alerted me I was finished. I said my goodbyes and left.
As I played the conversation back in my head, I started to wonder.
Was her comment meant to be passive aggressive? Is she trying to put herself on a mom pedestal?
Does she even realize her comment could come off as hurtful to me?
And seriously, what the hell! Is she that ignorant to think that working parents are not “raising” their kids?
The last time I checked, my husband and I are the ones setting boundaries for my kids. We are the ones instilling values in them, deciding what they eat, taking them to church, signing them up for activities and exposing them to new things and ways of thinking. We discipline them. We love them. We” RAISE” them.
Yes, I rely on a support network of family, after-school daycare, preschool teachers, coaches and beyond to also watch, teach and care for my children. But make no mistake, my husband and I “raise” our kids.
My kids feel love, comfort and care from me and my husband, but I am so blessed to have a “village” as well.
I know I should brush comments like these off, and I suppose I will never know why she decided to share these words with me. Perhaps I am too sensitive.
Still, I hope more people will recognize statements like this can create divides, hurt and anger. For my friend’s sake, I hope she gets her dream schedule when she enters the work world for the first time, but if she does need to turn to others for help, perhaps she’ll come to discover that’s OK. Even with the “village,” she and her husband will always be the primary people raising her kids. You can work AND raise a family, I know.