Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Anonymous




Dear Anonymous,

You raised some very valid points, but as you have chosen to hide your identity, I can not respond by personal email as I try to do with all who have taken the time to comment. I will respond to them here:

"And if you were a career woman, and someone said to you about the late hours you keep at work - "You don't have kids... you just have a job" - would you be similarly offended?"

I am not an expert on linguistics (or grammar as you may have noticed), but I believe the word "just" becomes derogatory when it is used to minimize a person in the form of comparison, i.e. "You're not _________, you are JUST a _______ ". Fill in any labels you like and it will read equally offensive.

I would have been equally offended if D had referred to herself as "just" anything. Motherhood is an invaluable profession. It is odd, to me at least, that because some women choose motherhood as a profession, that she would be referred to as "just a mom" in such a flippant manner. Yet, her husband who works outside the home would never be referred to as "just a bread winner". And, as I wrote in my diary, I feel the phrase, "just a mother" is offensive to all women because it is what makes us uniquely female.

"For all we know, the speaker at hand was truly speaking about the logistics of needing a car and not speaking at all about the honor of being a mom. Yet somehow, this simple statement of fact is a big deal."

What is true in your observation is that the reader has no way of knowing whether or not the speaker was referring to logistics or the misconception that a mother's day is not full (or busy). And that is because the speaker never took the time to ask about the logistics of life without a car, but rather continued to blaze a trail of disrespect as indicated in the latter portion of my entry. Had she been interested in logistics and asked, I might have been able to express my preference to walk and our commitment to being a one car family. I might have been able to tell her about the doe and fawns we saw on the trail when walking to the pool. I might have told her how Satch likes to stop and lick the nectar from the honeysuckle on our way to Town Center. I might have told her about the time the bus didn't stop for us after the reptile workshop and how I piggybacked Satch half way home before we caught a second bus making the loop. I might have told her that getting a new drivers license is yet another thing on my to-do list and will be addressed eventually.

"But further, you go on to be judgmental of people who choose to pursue career paths."

I do not see the truth in this statement. I have not made any remarks towards women who choose to have careers instead of children. I have not made any remarks about moms who must work outside the home. I have made an observation about my life as I perceive it. This is my diary wherein I write about things that matter to me. I am very passionate about my life and a very big part of it is being a mother as I have chosen this path. I believe I made this clear in my diary entry.

"Isn't there a career person whose paycheck provides you the luxury of being able to stay at home with your son?"

Yes there is. It was a mutual decision and my husband and I both made sacrifices to provide the kind of life we've envisioned for our son.

"And let's be honest: in this world, it is a luxury."

Honestly, being home with my son is certainly a privilege for which I am grateful, but I would not call it a luxury given the challenging nature of it. Moreover, we live rather simply. And again as stated above, we have both made sacrifices in order to provide the kind of life we've envisioned for our son.

"I sure hope he doesn't mind his work being belittled like this."

I am certain that my husband does not feel belittled. He has a very strong sense of self and good ethics. My husband encourages me to express my feelings. He also has a sharp sense of humor and I am certain that he sees the humor as well as the hint of truth in my "corporate butt wiping" analogy.

"I wish SAHMs didn't feel the need to get all knee-jerk about any comment regarding their lack of jobs/careers outside of the home."

I wish that people would stop making degrading comments about women. When one strikes the feminine spirit with an insult to her being, one risks receiving an involuntary kick. To be unmoved by an offense does not serve anyone. It does not open a window for understanding. Lack of communication leads to misunderstanding. I believe I have made my intentions as well as my boundaries perfectly clear.

"This reaction honestly tells me more about you, and your need to justify your life choices...At least for this reader, it makes me respect you less, not more."

My diary is not intended to be a justification of my life choices, but rather my perception of my life. Nor is this response to you a justification of my life choices, it is an acknowledgment of your presence in the form of a reply. I come to this page to write about our days so that my son will have a record of our life together. Amidst the minutia of every day life, there is great beauty. Every life is woven with luminous threads. I write about the things that matter to me and occasionally I write about things that unnerve me. I write to see more clearly. I write to remember. Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your question and comments.

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posted by Wendy at 5:50 AM

4 Comments:

Blogger Carrie said...

I bristle so much when people tell me that I'm "lucky" to stay at home or that it's a "luxury."
In some senses, yes, it is a privilege, as you say, but saying that I'm lucky is an insult to the hard work I do and the decisions my husband and I make so that we CAN live our life this way.

Like you, my family leads a fairly simple life. Like you, we're committed to being a one car family. We have made sacrifices and purposeful choices (available to most people) so that I can stay home with my daughter. It has nothing to do with "luck."

This article spoke to me many months ago: http://frugaldad.com/2008/10/09/being-a-full-time-parent-has-more-to-do-with-sacrifice-than-luck/

Your kindness and patience with this commenter is commendable Wendy. I wouldn't have that kind of love in my heart with comments like this. I applaud you.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

That is so GRRRR inducing!!!
you handled it well.. if they come back, I'd want them to know...(I'd say to them..) "You READ this, so your response honestly tells me more about you, and your SAHM issues, than your ability to read my personal diary and leave it for what it is, a personal diary. This makes me have less respect for YOU and more pity, that you have to be such a small person."

I guess some people can't just butt out and realize just because something is on the internet, doesn't mean it's up for discussion and judgment.

I still think you rock, and are doing an amazing job.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Auntslappy said...

You live the life I only wish I could- Im a working mom. And YOU inspire me to make those fleeting moments more wonderful.

Your justification doesn't require words- the fruits of your efforts are wandering around your house right now probably asking to go outside and catch some more bugs.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Michelle M said...

What a beautiful reply to someone not brave enough to use their own name. Thank you for sharing this, your diary is an inspiration.

As a stay-at-home mum who does a little work while my precious babes sleep I too have encountered the same uninformed, thoughtless remarks - "what do you do all day?", "when are you going back to work?", "aren't you lucky to be able to stay home". And like you and the other commenters, my husband and I made a decision that being a SAHM was the most important thing I could do, that the sacrifices we make everyday are worth it to be able to give our children the gift of my TIME, LOVE and ATTENTION. I choose to parent my children with intention, not by accident, and that takes time and focus.

This path my family is on is not easy (in fact I find it much harder than my "real job" ever was), but it is the most wonderful, rewarding experience. But I still get frustrated that our choice for me to stay home is seen as less valuable than paid work. I thought feminism was about choice, not about having to do everything?

Anyway, enough of a rant from me. I really just wanted to say that I respect and honour your choice to be a SAHM and I think Satch is very blessed to have you as his mum.

5:51 AM  

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