Words, words, words, words, words.
If someone tells me they think I'm doing a good job I tend to give them a glare-y eyeball and half-lip sneer. A part of my soul believes any praise foisted upon me from other humans comes from a place of deep surprise and low expectations.
Call me crazy. I promise I won't hold that against you.
I suppose this is why I had such a strong reaction to Liz's blog post about all the things you can't say to mothers, specifically the ones who work outside of the home.
There is nothing we can say to each other that doesn't risk the rolling of eyes or worse - the harboring of resentment.
You can't ask us what we do? Or if we worry about our kids? You can't say anything that could be considered even remotely critical of our parenting abilities ... such as wondering if we've chosen to work ... or has work been forced upon us. You can't even say anything about yourself in a proud manner, lest becomes an insult. Since, you know, we do things differently in our house.
There's always some knucklehead telling us someone else is raising our children. As if it's the worst possible thing in the world (I'm waving at you, iVillage!).
Of course that's offset by the neanderthals wondering why you, who stay at home, bothered to seek higher education. You're just wasting the tenured talents of others.
There's always some grandmotherly figure lurking out in the world telling you your kids need more protein or less candy or fewer toys.
Some stranger on the street is bound to question how you let your kid dress or how late you are out with them on a Wednesday night.
We might agree that most folks -- busy-bodies included -- don't mean to offend. But we can't help ourselves. We get offended. We keep licking at the wound and seeking solidarity.
We believe that if we talk about it. If we make the world aware of all the hurts they hurl at us with their ill-considered, off the cuff ideas (that have nothing to do with our circumstances and weren't solicited in the first place) the world would be a better place.
We could finally end the mommy war we keep fighting in our heads.
Until someone dares to ask you what you do ... as if any ONE thing you DO should define you ... and it all starts all over again.
We're all crazy.
I hope you won't hold it against me for saying so.