Dear Polished Stranger (From a Happy Working Mommy)
Dear Very Polished Stranger,
Let me tell you a secret … I am well aware that that my toddler is currently trying to drive a toy dump trunk into my cleavage while announcing, “Oh no! Truck stuck!”
You are right, though, that I didn’t notice the 2 pens in my hair … yes, or that binder clip the toddler found in my shirt. I’m sure there was a reason it was in there. I had copy-edits this week … and am drafting … and had teleconferences with Hollywood … also a toddler, a teen, and a kid in college. It’s been a chaotic week, and I think it’s only Wednesday. Honestly, though, we should be grateful that I’ve remembered to wear a shirt in the first place. I’m a little sleepy.
I will admit that juggling work & kids hasn’t made me look particularly model-like. (Neither did the years pre-kids & career when I partied, incidentally. The black circles under my eyes aren’t actually NEW.) You know what my kids & work HAVE made me? HAPPY even when I’m as tired as I look.
Yep. I’m kinda old to have such a wee mammal, but no, I’m NOT his grandmother. That teenager currently making faces at my toddler isn’t a teen dad. They’re both my kids. There’s a 3rd one at university (graduating after only 3 years with HIGHEST honours, btw.)
Yep. I can see why you think it’s a “little weird” to have a 21 year old, a teen, and toddler. I was pretty close to my daughter’s age when I started this mom gig.
No, it wasn’t an “oops.” Motherhood has been on purpose every damn time, too. I FOUGHT for these kids. I don’t have a body that grows babies well. Only one of the 3 grew in my body, so when I say it was a choice, I mean it was a difficult, expensive, and utterly exhausting fight to have all 3 of these kids in my life. I spent over $60k in legal fees for one of them. The hospital bills for one were in excess of $200k, and I didn’t know until afterwards if the insurance would cover it. Let’s not even start on the future tuition bills (do you know how expensive college is these days?), or the past clothes, lessons, and etc. Then there’s weird things. Teen is getting a pilot’s license. Daughter needed to move to Guatemala (among other places) for a few months for school.
It’s all my money though, and that’s what I choose to spend it on: being a mom. If it were your money, you could comment. It’s not.
Some people like designer clothes or shiny rocks on their fingers and ears… or cars … or who knows. I don’t get some (most) of that, but I don’t care what they do with their lives and money bc it’s none of my business. Me? I work to afford being a mom and to take trips. That’s my choice.
Some people hit an age where they stop wanting babies. I hear it will happen to me too, but … lately I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ll start fostering or adopting teens in a few years. That’s my current loose plan for the next adventure. I like being a mom. I like working too. I’m doing fairly decent at both so far. The eldest had scholarship for uni, and multiple fellowships for graduate school. The middle one is excelling in school and socially. The wee one overcame medical challenges. They’re all happy and want for absolutely nothing.
While we’re chatting, I want to politely point out that if you suggest again that my rather intense toddler is “lucky” I adopted him, I may have to smack you. I’m trying not to resort to violence or cussing because it would set a a bad example. Being a mom makes me a better person. It might be a fair note to say that you’re lucky I adopted him. Without him here in my arms, I would be demonstrating my skills with words that aren’t toddler-safe. I do get what you meant, but he’s no luckier than my other two kids. It’s hurtful to say that. I didn’t “rescue” any of them. It’s not a social service to be a mama. It’s my calling in life. I’m the lucky one.
I don’t judge you for your lack of kids. I promise you. I’d rather people who don’t want to be parents opt out. It’s better for you and potential kids. It’s a respectable choice. It’s perfectly cool not to want this. I even understand why it seems odd to want it somedays, but I’d like you to think about your attitude toward those of us who DO want it. I’d like you to think about why you see no issue with YOUR choice, but think it’s okay to judge mine.
Here’s the deal: finger paint is messy. Motherhood, in general, is messy. Writing is oddly messy. All of it is a bit exhausting when combined. It’s also exceedingly fun–and it hurts no one.
And if I’m okay with my choices and can afford them, why does it even matter to you? I’ll take the babies. You take the baubles. We’re both happier with this plan, and at the end, that’s what we ALL deserve in this world: happiness.
Happy Working Mom
PS I clean up pretty well, so feel free to come to one of my book events where I usually wear the clothes I don’t wear around the toddler. I’ll even cover some of the black circles under my eyes. Umm, no promises on the pens in my hair though.