Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I can bring home the bacon

M and I attended a Parents as Teachers meeting last night about "Securing Your Family's Financial Future For A Dollar A Day." It wasn't anything earth shattering, but it was good to get yet another (objective) opinion that we ain't doing half bad. Usual stuff: throw your change into a big jar and empty it once a year or so, teach your kids good financial habits with allowances and such, install a timer on your thermostat so you're not heating or cooling your house when you're not home, use CFLs, start saving for your kid's college now, and retirement, too. That sort of thing.

This Saturday, at long last, I will attend my first play group. Parents as Teachers facilitates tons of play groups and fun activities, all scheduled Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 and 5. Grrrr. After receiving the gajillionth e-mail inviting me to participate in something I will never be able to attend due to work, I shot back what in hindsight was probably a snippy e-mail asking if they couldn't see fit to schedule something during the evenings or weekends for us working mothers. I know we're the bane of all that's good and holy about motherhood, but some of us not only have to work, but we like to work.

I never received a response back from PAT, and figured that maybe there just wasn't anything that could be done. It's sort of like how I'll never be able to be a member of the Salvation Army's Women's Auxiliary or my church's Women's Club simply because I choose to earn a paycheck and am therefore not available to meet for tea and crumpets at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.

The last time we met with our parent educator, I mentioned something to her about PAT never scheduling things around working mom schedules. (Something about this whole thing just irks's like yet another admonishment to me that I go to work every day and leave my child with someone else and - gasp! - share household duties with my husband.) Our parent educator said, "You know, there's another working mom who has been saying the same thing. She's offered to try to start a play group for working moms. If you're interested, I'll throw your hat into the ring." Abso-frickin'-lutely. So, our first meeting is this Saturday at 11 a.m. at my brand new friend's house. She's in the marketing department at Purina. I love her already.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against stay-at-home moms. I think being a SAHM is one of the toughest jobs on earth, and it takes a special person to do it. I am not one of those women. I would be doing a disservice to both myself and to my daughter if I tried, because I would fail miserably. What I don't understand is why it has to be so acrimonious between the two groups.

From my viewpoint (that of a working mom, of course), it's a matter of defense. I do not like it when a SAHM, fully aware that I work full time, says to me, "I just feel like I'm so fortunate that I'm able to stay at home with Junior and give him the love and attention he truly deserves from his mother. No one else can do that." Yes, I've actually had someone say that to me. I wanted to chuck my basket of fries at her head.

I'm pretty sure Zozo has a great life and is enjoying it so far. I, too, enjoy my life and think that we all get along well enough. Isn't it enough that she knows she's loved and that she brings great joy to my life, and that I cherish every second I get to spend with her? Must I stay home and repeat that over and over, or can I keep my job, contribute to our family's welfare, feel like a contributing member to society and serve as a motivated role model for my daughter?


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