****written primarily on Friday, April 13 in the Afternoon with musings from the last 48 hours or so
As the week comes to a close, I want to take a quick moment to express my deepest gratitude to my mom. Yes, I am feeling sentimental. Part due to the fact that yesterday I helped my mom start to pack our family home, the house that I grew up in since I was 10 years old, the place my mom has resided for the last 27 years, and the house that my kids call bubbie’s. We laughed, cried, and howled over some of the memories, including ALL my notebooks from high school and college.
There are thousands of childhood photos of me – swimming, dancing, doing gymnastics, posing in makeup and high heels, dressed up for Halloween, and spending time with my grandparents. There was one photo of my mom with my biological father from 1973. A photo taken before I was conceived, and prior to my parents’ separation immediately following my birth. My mom looks stunning, young and happy.
This touched a chord in me. I really never knew my ‘parents’ together – only apart. Although my mom remarried, I was so touched to see my mom happy like that. My mom always says that “the best thing that came out of that marriage was me,” and I tended to think that meant the marriage and partnership was miserable all the time. Maybe not.
I saved the picture.
Anyway, I digress. The emotion of the day hung heavy as I watched the news and caught up on reading late in the afternoon. What was I reading and watching? Everything on the newly sparked Ann Romney political mommy wars. The war has taken over the news, Facebook, Twitter and the social media stratosphere.
My emotions continued to climb.
Boy, I am in a precarious position when it comes to this subject.
After all, I was a SAHM for 8 years, and at this moment, I am home working while my kids are at the playground with a friend because now I am a WAHM. I did not see being a SAHM as a luxury and I certainly did not eat bonbons. In fact, I was a SAHM while my husband travelled 200 nights/year and I wiped bums, soothed fevers and hand foot mouth disease, and rarely found the time for a sit down meal.
When I decided that for ME I needed to establish an identity separate from all of the aforementioned ‘luxury’…my husband and I settled into a much different arrangement/partnership in which the labor is much more evenly split. In the framework, the timing was right.
Without going on forever, the point was throughout the various stages, there was attention paid to compromise and supporting one another to put food on the table, heat the house while we (husband and myself) felt a sense of self-satisfaction.
My mom did not have someone to compromise, to support her or for her to support. She was a single mother in 1974 for the first five years of my life. We lived at my grandparents’ house. My mom worked to pay bills and utilities and babysitters. My grandmother stopped home on her lunch break to check on her infant granddaughter. My pappy took me to work with him when I was a toddler. My mom brought me to her annual Christmas Celebration.
Today this is a reality for many single moms.
I cannot stand that this Ann Romney thing has turned into another strand of the mommy wars. Unfortunately, it has, BUT that is not what it is really about. It is larger that the mommy wars – it is about understanding that in this country, moms face all types of adversity and situations and they ALL do the best they can. We are all moms. We want food, heat, clothing, shelter, and unconditional love for our kids. Some of us are breadwinners, some are SAHM’s, some do best when we lead a high-powered career, and others face HUGE obstacles.
My childhood allows me to understand that moms DO what they need to do and in this country, and more and more so in this country, both parents are called upon to make ‘it work.’
Any way – you look at it – this discussion is more about the parties running for office understanding the ups and downs of actually providing the basic needs to our children and supporting us as women, so we can do just that.
I say thanks to my mom.