I’m a mom. I’m also a teacher. Mom first, teacher second. I have two beautiful children (I may be a little biased) whom I love more than life itself. Sure, they drive me crazy on the daily, but they are the most precious two little blue eyed babies I’ve ever laid my eyes on and I love them more than anything. I miss them every day when I drop them off at daycare. Sometimes I cry when I replay what an old friend said to me: “Why do you drop your kid off with other people just so you can watch other people’s kids?”
This kills me sometimes. But I do it because I love what I do. Because I am a passionate educator. Because teaching a struggling learner how to read, and how to write his own name, is gratifying to me. That doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. It just means that the career I’ve chosen, not to mention part of our income, involves enriching the lives of other children.
But that’s not what this is all about. This is about the 2+ months of sheer bliss that I have off from my teaching duties. This is a perk of our tireless job, clearly. After a teary goodbye to my 20 or so students, it’s a full blown celebration. I am finally able to dedicate my every waking moment to my kids, who yearn for my attention 24/7 for the rest of the year. Amazing, right?
So let me ask you, would you believe that multiple times this summer, some complete stranger has muttered under their breath a comment along the lines of “and that’s why you don’t bring children here?” That’s why you don’t bring children to the pool, this resort, the beach, the ferry, the restaurant, the store, the movies, the pond, etc. You fill in the blank. These comments, which were made loudly enough for all to hear, were referring to me and all the other beautiful mamas trying to make right by their kids in all of these family/kid friendly locations. Mind boggling.
Listen: I have a 4-year-old and an 18-month-old. My little guy can’t sit still for shit, but he’s pleasant, and captures the hearts of all he lays eyes on. My 4 year old is sweet and spirited, but respectful and kind. All in all, they are mild-mannered, well-behaved (when in public) kids. But when I tell you that we were splashing around the KIDDIE pool of a family resort on our vacation when a man had the balls to loudly utter “That’s why children shouldn’t be here,” I just about lost it. I told him he probably shouldn’t be sitting in the kiddie pool but hey, sounds like a personal problem.
Next up, I decided to take my kids on a ferry to an island off the coast of Cape Cod, sans hubby. He was working and, with the help of my mom and aunt, I took my kids on a week-long vacation. I figured the ferry ride would be a walk in the park; an hour compared to our five-hour flight to aforementioned family vacation.
But I was wrong. It was like the flight but on steroids. While two men stared at me for the entire ferry ride as I nervously walked my son up and down the aisle, I thought to myself, “They must think I’m a rockstar mom, on this ferry with two kids and no husband.” Think again — because, nope. Those long stares were actually seething with judgment. How do I know, you ask? Upon disembarking, and among other kids’ screams and whines, they loudly, obnoxiously asked each other why the hell anyone would bring a baby on a ferry. Last time I checked Nantucket wasn’t an adults-only island, amiright?
So to all those A-holes (with a capital A) who have questioned me and all the other moms who are living their best lives with their kids, let me ask you something — what is it you would like us to do? Would you like us to live in a hole? Shall we coop up in our homes and “keep” the children? Should we shush them and entertain them in the safety of a small space? Is that what you want? Should moms deprive themselves of the real world to preserve the peace and quiet of your 55-minute ferry ride? Perhaps we should put them in front of an iPad to keep them quiet. But I’m sure you’d have a problem with that too.
Sorry to burst your bubble — but it ain’t happening, and this mama isn’t having your distasteful comments anymore, either. I know I’m not the only mom who has heard this remark.
We’re giving ourselves, and our kids, what we (and they) deserve. It’s what we signed up for, and what our journey in motherhood is all about. We are creating lasting memories, despite it sometimes being really freaking hard.
We walk the aisle of the plane over and over again, praying that our toddler doesn’t piss you off. We’re strolling our child in circles on the ferry so he doesn’t scream and disrupt your midday cat nap. We’re bringing them out to a restaurant because we are too tired to cook and need a break from the dishes. We save the money and take the trip, because we deserve it. But bottom line, we’re doing our damn best and we are proud of it.
So to all those people out there who have ever had the audacity to question why we chose to bring our child to a certain (kid-friendly) location, take a second to think about what you’re actually saying. If perhaps our baby is in a bar late-night, sure, question away. Otherwise, keep your judgments, and your rude, obnoxious, inappropriate comments, to your dang selves.
Oh and by the way — when my kid finally falls asleep on the ferry ride, I might even have a glass of wine. Because I earned it.
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