Last night we were sitting out on the deck, recapping our days. Riley was sitting beside me, Christopher was sitting across from me. Kind of out of nowhere Riley announces "Well Daddy's my favourite." I'll be honest, she would have been kinder to punch me in the stomach. I have learned to train my face to not show the inner hurt. "That's not a very nice thing to say, Riley, you're hurting Mommy's feelings." Christopher replied. She just smiled, and said "But you are my favourite Daddy. I'm a Daddy's girl". Seriously how do you respond to that? I wanted to shout out "Yeah, well you're my least favourite kid!" I didn't. I wanted to sit there and cry... I didn't. I jokingly told her that Rowan was my favourite." Rowan is my only child who has never said that Daddy was his favourite. He just loves us for who we are, he's a great little guy like that.
Nothing prepares you for the hurt feelings that go along with motherhood. Everyone knows to be prepared for sleepless nights, but they trick you into thinking that it's sleepless because of babies crying. No one tells you that you will sometimes be the one who is crying. No one prepares you for the feelings of inadequacy. Nothing prepares you for the inevitable "I HATE YOU MOM!" Intellectually you know that they are testing you, and expressing themselves. Knowing that, doesn't take the hurt away from the words. I say the right words in response, not the words that I am screaming in my head. The words that I say, vary "I'm sorry that you feel that way, because no matter what you do, I will always love you."; "Do you know what "hate" means? It is the opposite of love, and I think what you really mean is that you are very angry with me right now."; "Well, I guess I will have to learn to live with that pain."
Here's the thing, I act like I have a thick skin. I act like words don't hurt. The truth is that I am still that same insecure little kid, who desperately needs stroked. I need to be told that I am loved, that I am important, that I matter. Unfortunately that does not come with the job description. If I am extremely lucky when my kids become parents they will appreciate the sacrifices that I have made for them. If I am lucky when they become adults with children of their own they will see how difficult it is, and give me my rightful due. This is all wistful thinking, and at best 20 years away. 20 years is a long time to wait for a pat on the back.
Think about the faces of the teacher and the students at career day if I came in.
"Hi boys and girls, I am here to talk to you about the exciting career choice of "stay at home mom". So I work a 24 hour shift, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. You can expect no sick days, that means that when you are throwing up with the flu, you will be expected to still work. Just make sure that when you are making dinner, you throw up in a different pot boys and girls. The upside of the job is that you can wear track pants and no bra all day long. The most exciting part of this job is that no one will appreciate what you do." Can you imagine their faces? I can, it's making my giggle.
I guess that I must just resign myself to the fact that when I decided to make the sacrifice of being a stay at home mom, part of that sacrifice was also recognition. That's one of the other things that no one really prepares you for. When you decide to stay at home and raise your children, you will receive no accolades. You can expect condescending comments from the working moms who feel like you are one step above a welfare mom. You basically can expect to be treated like a live in nanny / house keeper / personal chief. from your spouse (until that is you express the possibility of re-entering the work force). There are no sick days. There are no personal days, no vacation. It is really a thankless job. As I re-read this I wonder why I do it. It is usually at this point in my blog where I wrap it all up neatly with a positive lesson / affirmation, but I've got nothing. They look cute when they sleep... does that count as a positive affirmation? Perhaps I am just going through some job dissatisfaction right now, I'm sure it will pass.... it will pass right?