The Bitch is Back
Coming from our “nobody’s perfect” corner of the Internet, I have to talk about the woman I’m a constant bitch to. Come to think of it, I hope she’s only the one, but I know I must have my blindspots like anybody else. The thing is, my mother raised me with all of the usual cornerstones of good friendship: the Golden Rule, If You Can’t Say Something Nice…, If You’d Enjoy Receiving It It’s a Good Gift to Give, and Those Who Live in Glass Houses etc. It isn’t that my mom failed. It’s not my mom’s fault. It’s completely my own. I look down on this one particular mommy and I am ruthless.
Her kid can look a little worse for wear. Oatmeal crusted on his face, crud gluing his hair together, boogers. All my other friends, I’m willing to chalk it up to a bad morning, in a rush, woke up late, whole family has a cold. It’s bitchy to hold some people to a higher standard but I admit I do it. It bothers me when her kid looks gross.
Going to her house is not a nice experience for me a lot of the time. I know it’s not fair to compare BC and AC (Before Child and After Child). You’d think that as I watch my own baby smearing rice cereal into the rug or throwing Cheerios at the cat it would remind me that houses are for living in, not showcasing. Nope; inner bitch could not care less. “When was the last time a vacuum appeared on this floor? Is anything coming out of that kitchen sanitary? Nice bathroom, Typhoid Mary.”
The worst though, is my SAHM (stay at home mothering) scale. If you aren’t going to return to the workplace, then taking care of your house and child IS YOUR FULL TIME JOB. This is the one I can’t keep to myself. There are plenty of people in the world who have legitimate reasons for needing daycare or help with housework. This woman IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Not only is she failing to bring in money, she’s actually costing twice what she should: the loss of her income PLUS the money to pay daycare three days a week. If your major achievement for the day was making dinner (in a gross kitchen) then eating it on TV trays (kitchen table is filled with useless crap) you are probably not a good bargain for your spouse or your kid(s). The coup de grace is her husband having to do things for the baby that she said she would do. He works all day then plays Superdad nights and weekends. On my SAHM scale, there aren’t enough excuses in the book for this one. Either you’re pulling your own weight or you’re being pulled. She’s dead weight.
So, in an effort to quit being quite such a mega-bitch, I asked a friend why this woman bothers me so much. She broke it down into three main categories.
- Children don’t look like ads for Baby Gap all the time. If I can have compassion towards people with actual problems, can’t I lighten up a little on things like a toddler having peanut butter on his pants?
- The house. When I go to visit Robin or AJ, do I care if their house is messy? Of course not. I’m there for good company, not the damn Parade of Homes. They have children who might be charitably described as compact tropical storms: they’re high impact, loud, and leave a trail of devastation everywhere they make landfall. If I can enjoy their company and their children, can’t I do that for everyone?
- Finally, the SAHM scale. I have a friend in Atlanta named Lindy. Lindy makes gorgeous food, has three kids who look like a catalog cover, lives in a Better Homes and Gardens house, and she’s even nice to boot. But Lindy still has problems. She still has serious stuff to get through. If I pay attention to her whole life, rather what I see on Facebook, I know there’s no such thing as the perfect SAHM. If I found out tomorrow Lindy had a terrible misfortune, would I quit being her friend because she wasn’t doing homemade gourmet food every evening? If, god forbid, her husband got sick or she got seriously injured, would she be a different person if the kids went to daycare for awhile so she could be at the hospital? Hell, no. I’d stand by her and offer to help, not make bitchy and snide comments about the need to jettison some dead weight so everybody else can be happier.
So, time to cut the cattiness. Yes, her kid can be a mess, her house can be gross and I need to have more compassion for why her son is in daycare. She’s not a bad mom, she’s a mom facing serious challenges and my support would get everybody so much further than assuming she’s a bum who won’t take responsibility for her own kid. If Robin, AJ and Lindy wouldn’t get cut down, then she shouldn’t either. Excuse me, I have an apology to go make.
Let me find a mirror.