My friend Becky recently encountered a person whose “Just a Mom” response drove her to venting on her Facebook page. In my typical fashion, I tried to turn it around so she could perhaps see it from the other person’s point of view, in the hope of helping her work through the hurt feelings.
When Becky expressed that she needed a break, this person was confused why Becky would need a break from anything, when she was “Just a Mom.” As you can guess, Becky is a stay-at-home mother. But what isn’t obvious…and the point of this posting…is that the person did not try to see it from Becky’s point of view. The stranger did not try to ascertain if Becky had something going on in her life to cause her stress, or what-have-you.
I told Becky that perhaps she could look at it from another perspective, in the hopes it would take away some of the sting. This stranger’s observation of Becky is indicative of how she, the stranger, is seen in her own life. How sad it must be for that person to feel that she is not valued for her contributions to the home, hearth, and family. Is her only value determined by the paycheck she brings home from her employer?
NO SUCH MONSTER
There is no such thing as “Just a Mom.” This creature doesn’t exist. The word “just” is defined as: barely; merely; scarcely; by a very small space or time.
I can’t imagine a world where the word “Just” and “Mom” belong in the same sentence, when used in that context.
Mothers are the backbone of most families. There are, of course, some men who have filled the role of single-caregiver, provider, Mr. Mom, etc. This isn’t to bypass them or to do them a disservice. I am only addressing the issue that here we are in the 21st century, and still we are giving little-to-no credit where it belongs. We are still downplaying the main adult role in our childhoods.
Those Moms that stay at home with their children should not be looked down upon! Is it jealousy that causes other women to make such painful comments? Are they secretly harboring the desire to quit their job and be “Just a mom?”
In today’s society, it is the rare occasion that a family can survive, let alone thrive, on one income. Most of the two-parent families in the U.S. have two working parents. Does this mean the single-working-parent family is better or worse? I put forth my opinion…No! It only makes for a difference.
We should embrace these differences. Neither is better or worse than the other. Each environment has its benefits and drawbacks. But that doesn’t mean we should think less of the At-Home-Mom. Just because no one is writing her a check at the end of the week, for services rendered, does not mean her time is any less valuable.
In Becky’s particular case, she has reasons for being a stay-at-home Mom. Some of those reasons are medical-related. My point being, the person who belittled her did not even try to ascertain if this were the case. She made a value judgment based solely on her own opinion of what Moms should be doing with their lives.
STOP, THINK, THEN SPEAK
Perhaps before we speak judgments, we should try to view the situation from as many angles as possible. It is not hard to do this, but it does take some training of our own mental processes. Truly, how can it hurt to pause before saying something that can hurt another?
Just because someone is a stranger to us, does that give us the right to judge them? Again, I submit my opinion…NO.
This is one area I know I need to work on, too. Not the “Just a Mom” theory, but pausing before passing along a statement that is too judgmental. It’s just so easy to say whatever pops into our minds!
NEXT TIME, TRY –
Perhaps we can try harder to look at situations from more than our one view. Try turning it around, putting ourselves into the other person’s shoes (so to speak), and see if life looks differently that way. We don’t have to have a full biography on the person. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we are putting ourselves in the position of passing judgment. The goal is to see how what we say can hurt/influence others.
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, personally. Yep, I can admit that. I used to be the “What comes up, comes out” type. Now, I try really hard to monitor what I say before stating my opinion. I’m not always successful, but I am getting better!
Sometimes hindsight gets to bite me in the backside and I then get to figure out how to go back to a person to straighten out an issue. Not so easy if it was a stranger, right? That is another reason to try to learn to be proactive in our thoughts instead of reactive.
In Becky’s case, she was able to get past the hurt and realize the stranger’s comments showed a lack of knowledge on the part of that stranger.
Have you ever referred to yourself as “Just a Mom?” Have you ever experienced the open-mouth-insert-foot situation before? If so, please feel free to share in the comments.
image by koraw @ freeimages.com
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHIRLEY!!!
I want to send a personal Happy Birthday out to my good friend Shirley. If it weren’t for her, I never would have dared to try my hand at writing. She truly is the one person I can point out as the reason I started writing. Even the Other Half and my other close friends had no idea that I had that tiny little flame of a wish residing in me.
Since I have tried my hand at writing, the Other Half and my friends and family have been very supportive, for which I am eternally grateful. But without Shirley’s encouragement, I don’t think I would have ever taken that first step.
So, Shirley, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU and may you have many more HAPPY BIRTHDAYs.
Thanks for reading this week’s posting. Please leave a comment or question if you can. Until next week . . .