Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm a b@#$%, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother

And I’m fond of using song lyrics for my post titles.

Last week I wrote a post complaining about going back to work. About an hour after I wrote it, I began feeling guilty. How can I complain about having a job that pays me well for my skills and is even flexible enough to accommodate part-time work? How much of a spoiled little brat am I that I can bitch and moan about 2 days a week in an air conditioned office where people respect me and my work? There are millions of single moms out there working 2 or more dead-end, minimum wage jobs just to put food on the table, and even more who would give their right eye for even one minimum wage job – not to mention the dual-parent families struggling to make ends meet. I have what they are all dreaming about, and here I am complaining.

Now, having said that, and meaning it 100%, let me say it one more time with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

I am a spoiled little brat for complaining about having a really great job.

It’s hypocrisy to pretend that I am so empathetic that I can die to my own self-pity just because I know in my head that I’m not that bad off. I wish that I was able to do that, but I’m not. Instead I’m here in the duality of being honest about how I feel without giving myself license to wallow in it.

There is always someone worse off. I recognize that what I am going through is not suffering. It’s really not anything like suffering. It’s unhappiness, and it’s a valid emotion. I don’t need to feel bad for feeling bad when others are feeling worse, but I do need to keep my own situation in perspective and use that to pull myself up and keep going. I do need to appreciate the good in what I have, even when I don’t feel good about it.

I have something in common with those single moms, too. We are all feeling the same pull to be more – more of a provider, more of a lover, more of a playmate, more of a teacher, more of soft spot for our kids in a hard world – all at one time. We tell ourselves that we can choose, and we call it “prioritizing,” but so often the choices feel like they are being made for us. We have words thrown at us like “working mom” and “full-time mom,” as if there is some kind of part time mom or not working mom. Then we beat ourselves up for being in one category or another when we really want to be everything at once.

In this, none of us is alone. It drags us down and it pulls us back up onto our feet.

And if it wasn’t there, the word “mother” wouldn’t mean as much as it does, so I guess I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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