I just treated myself to some nice, new, fall clothing for work and classes. It has been a while since I needed to show up at an office, or sit in on a class, and I want to look and feel fantastic as I step back into that world. Although I have been home with my kids for the past couple of years, I have tried to remain fashionable and maintain my appearance, but sneakers and whimsical dresses just won't do come September.
I ordered a few things online, ventured into Manhattan to hit a few boutiques, and of course, spent time in my most favorite venues for shopping, thrift stores. But, as excited as I was to reinvent and resurrect my wardrobe from its maternal slumber, the experience was overshadowed by a looming sense of guilt as I handed each clerk my credit card. The reality was that I hadn't made any of my own money in years for the first time, and it was my husband's hard-earned dough that was funding all of my fabulous, new frocks.
I would like to take a moment and use up a small portion of this paragraph to tell you all that I do not have "one of those" husbands. He doesn't make me feel guilty at all for wanting to go shopping and treat myself to nice things. In fact, he encourages it. He is a firm believer in looking good makes you feel good, and that everyone deserves nice things once in a while. The guilt was all my own. But, why was I feeling this way? So what, I hadn't made any of my own money over the past few years, but I sure as hell was working my ass off! Harder than I ever had! But, no one was cutting me a check for this 24-hour a day, seven-day a week, 364-day a year job I had been holding down. Then I suddenly wondered, "why not???"
Why is it that the world expects mothers to sit home and raise the future of our nations without any type of financial compensation? Helloooooo politicians who make these decisions! Who do you think raised you and formed that self -esteem you have these days with nurture and love? Who do you think got out of bed at night to feed you when you were growing at lightning speed, and needed 4 ounces of milk every few hours? I am sure a lot of you can say at times it was your dads, but we all know the majority of the time, it is the moms.
I know for the men out there who slave away all day to provide for your families, you are killing yourselves each day, too. But, a stay-at-home mom doesn't get a lunch beak. She doesn't get a bathroom break, a quick walk alone out of the office to grab a coffee or a snack. She doesn't even get a bathroom or shower break alone, to refresh herself from the night before, and she never gets to leave work at the office so she can relax at home. It is never ending and the most demanding labor in the world. Not to mention the lack of adult conversation and comradery.
And, don't even try it. Don't tell me that motherhood is a reward and that women who feel this way have issues. No human being can go on that long without feeling strained no matter how much the love their subject matter. Loving your child more than you ever imagined loving anything else, is completely separate from wishing you could see yourself once again in the mirror, and desperately needing a break. In my book; It is the foolish who cannot compartmentalize those feelings for others, and the wise who can admit they have them and continue to carry on in spite of other's ignorance...
So, why aren't we getting any government checks? Or, at least why hasn't this subject come up over there in the White House? Raising the future of America is pretty important, isn't it? How often do we hear people joking around and saying, "Maybe one day you'll be president?" What many don't realize is that a child's self-esteem, ability to trust, and ability to have healthy relationships as adults, are all developed in the first year of life while they are being nurtured by their mother or care takers. The parts of the brain that develop or fuse, if you will, depend on having their needs met and receiving love in the first few months of life. You can't put a price on something as essential as that.
The world needs to change. Installing changing stations and allowing public breastfeeding is a good start, but we need more. Mothers matter. All mothers matter and should not be forgotten or left behind after a child grows. I am lucky to be able to return to my education and work, but so many women do not. They cannot! Because they couldn't obtain enough skills before they began their families, or their skills expired as the world turned and technology took away more and more jobs. So, what do they do? How can they afford schooling, training and all of the supplies that go along with those things? Often if they do not have an able or supportive partner, they can't. So what can we do? Well, what about a Government check, I ask? What do you all think about that?