Sarah Buckley Friedberg posted the following on her Facebook and it received thousands of likes, shares and comments. I’m sharing it below:
“Society to working moms:
-Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby. The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny helpless baby that is being watched and cared for by someone other than you. Make sure to break the glass ceiling and excel at your job- you can do anything a man can do! It is your job to show society this! Show the world that women can do it all. Rise to the top of your career.
-Also breastfeed for at least a year. So take 2-3 pumping breaks a day at work, but don't let it throw you off your game or let you lose your focus.
-Also, lose that baby weight and get back in shape, as quickly and as gracefully as possible. Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep a night so you can work out, work, and care for your family. But also get up at 5 am to workout, unless you want to do it after your kids go to bed when you also need to clean the house and get life ready for the next day and you know, sleep.
-Maintain a clean, Pinterest worthy house. Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties.
-Maintain the schedule for the entire family. Birthday parties coming up? Make sure to have presents! Ensure the kids are learning to swim, play an instrument, read, ride a bike, be a good human being, eat vegetables, wear sunscreen, drink enough water, say please and thank you. Don't forget they need to dress as their favorite book character on Monday, and wear something yellow on Thursday. Oh it's totally your call but most parents come in on their birthday and read to the entire class. In case nobody told you, if you have more than one kid you will need to buy new shoes approximately every other day. See also: winter coats, shorts, pants that aren't 4 inches too short. There will never be matching socks or gloves for any member of the family, ever again.
-Remember the dog you got before you had kids? Shes getting old now and needs expensive surgery. She also need walking, a new bed, and she smells pretty bad.
-Hey! Kids need lots of doctor appointments. Monthly as babies. Every time they are sick. Specialist appointments, especially if any of them have extra needs. At least two school conferences a year. IEP meetings, if applicable. Parents night. Back to school night. Get to know your school night (what IS this). Most parents are volunteering at least once during the year, would you like to come make a craft with the kids? It will only be an hour or two of your time.
-Sorry, you are now out of vacation time because you used it all for time taking your kids to appointments or when your childcare is unavailable. You should go on vacations though. It's good to relax and unwind from work. Makes you a better employee.
-Don't forget the kids need healthy meals (and so do you! you are trying to lose that last 20 lbs before swim season right). That requires meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep on the weekend. But also hang out with your kids on the weekend since during the week you only get to hang out with them when they are exhausted and angry that you made the wrong kind of spaghetti for dinner.
-Date your spouse! It's important to keep your relationship alive and fresh. Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22+ dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this.
-Oh hey you should have a hobby too. It's important to have "you time". Also be well read, keep up with the latest pop culture and tv shows, and keep an eye on politics and be able to discuss at least one of the above on the small chance you are out in public and encounter another adult necessitating small talk.
-Make sure to have friends. Social time is SO important. Surely there is an hour or two left in the week after all of the working, appointments, exercising, cooking, scheduling, cleaning, imparting lifelong morals and learning on the kids, the usual. Maybe go out after the kids are down for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. Make it a healthy bite though. And you may regret that wine at your 530 am spin class.
-Self care though. SO important. See also: getting in shape. See the general doctor, the dentist (TWICE), the lady doctor. Prob need to get your eyes checked. Full body skin checks 2+ times a year (just me? okay well). Mental health too. Postpartum anxiety? But you look fine and your kids are so cute. Everyone should have a therapist. Good luck finding one that takes your insurance and has hours outside of your normal working time (out of vacation time, remember?). That leaves evening time when you want to hang out with your kids. But it's important, so make time for it.
-Don't wear yoga pants and a mom bun or society is going to mock you in numerous witty blog posts. Never mind that nothing fits. Going to have to get up even earlier so you have time to style your hair, wing your eye liner and search for a pair of pants that fits your new post baby (or multiple baby) shape.
-Get off your phone, turn off the TV, and enjoy your life. Enjoy your kids. THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to lean OUT. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.”
Sarah, you are a pioneer and a saint. I agree with you 100%. I don’t have a school-aged child yet, but I’m certain all of that is accurate.
This has inspired a response, from me… not only a mom but a working mom. Aren’t we all working moms?
Moms to Society
I’m tempted to start and end my rant like this: “Hi society. Go fuck yourself.” But, Sarah’s rant warrants a thoughtful response on behalf of all mothers in America. I say America because I can only imagine what other mothers go through in other countries, so I can’t speak for them 100% accurately. I also say all mothers because “gainfully” employed, by the society that damns us, or not… we’re all working moms.
Guess what I just did and I’m proud of it? I took a dump, undisturbed, from start to wipe! How many days has it been since I pooped? About 3. Yes, I had to poop in Target but my daughter was happy in the cart and I didn’t feel like jamming the cart in the open stall to take a dump. So, I held it and it went back up for the next 2 days. Moms across America, and probably the world, are holding their shit.
My daughter is alone in the kitchen, taking everything out of cabinets and beating the dog with a spatula because I want to drink my coffee in the office while typing this out. I won’t check on her until I’m either a) done typing b) done with my coffee or c) I hear screams of pain and\or despair. Most likely, she’ll come check on me first.
I don’t belong to a mom’s group, but I have a group of amazing women who happen to be mothers to either humans, pets or other people's’ babies (mine). I’m #blessed and so is my daughter and on-the-way daughter #2 (who may make me go #2 on the delivery table, here’s hoping).
I will go back to work when I damn well feel like it. It will be a treat because I’ll give average to below-average effort (don’t read into this), take plenty of meal, snack and bathroom breaks and “forget” to pump enough throughout the day because I hate the sound that damned machine makes. I’ll complain the whole time I’m at work so people think I’m making sacrifices when secretly I’m so happy my husband is stuck with the kids, suffering like I normally do.
I won’t breastfeed for at least a year because my milk supply will drop off when I go back to work… see above for lazy pumping habits. I won’t be upset when I stop anywhere between 5-6 months but I’m open to up to a year. I’ll be happy to get my body back and watch my tits deflate back down to a saggy B cup. I’ll be happy that they stop spraying my husband while we’re having sex, if we ever get a chance again.
As for baby weight, I’m fat now. What the fuck. I don’t care and nobody else does either. If you have any comments about my weight, eat shit and die. You won’t be hearing from me anymore. Think what you want in your head but you’ve never been through my misery. My misery is unique, just like everyone else’s, so I’ll be wearing my stretchy pants (leggings, sweats, harem pants… whatever) for the rest of the foreseeable future. The house will be a wreck and I can only guarantee their won’t be cat shit on the floor. It may be in the tub, or the sink. The dog will eat the cat barf, so that’s cool.
Though I can’t promise being an effective swim instructor, “poop doula”, the moderator, the mediator… I can promise that we will have dance parties, I can promise that. I need to dance to bad music so if Pandora plays a song I like while I’m making 4 different breakfast options, I’m going to shake my fat ass while my daughter stands in shock and awe. I’m going to laugh while she lets her arms hang awkwardly at her sides. I’m going to cry when she refuses all 4 of her breakfast options.
I don’t have to maintain much of a schedule for the family because once you have kids, people tend to fade away. Only those with lives and interests that don’t involve children, mind you. This is sad, yet convenient, for our schedule. The parents and family-friends we still have are totally down for hanging out in sweats, over eating tacos and\or pizza and sitting in mutual exhausted silence while our children mix pounds of Play Dough, torture the cats and rampage around the house. Party on, Garth.
As for pets, you’re on your own, bitches. If the dog needs expensive surgery, I will beg for charity or beg for euthanasia. For myself, not the dog. I’m selfish like that.
Vacation? Is that Latin for “not in this lifetime, idiot”? Vacations involve packing every known item for every possible scenario which means a full trunk AND roof box for 2 adults and 1 toddler. Not to mention who will watch the dog while we’re away and who will come make sure our cats haven’t covered the living room floor in piss.
Healthy meals? Is that Latin for “not in this lifetime, idiot”? I’m eating pizza rolls and hoping the toddler eats one whole one. Thank goodness for toddler vitamins. She thinks they’re candy and I’m not informing her otherwise.
As for dating your spouse, having hobbies and having friends: I think they’re all one in the same. My husband is now my hobby. As is having friends. All my friends are moms or into kids (see previous paragraph about relationships dissipating post-children), so that also works out pretty well. I also, will probably never exercise again. Like I said before, I’m lucky to poop alone so I sure as hell am not getting away to a gym any time soon. Maybe I can consider “taking care of myself” a hobby? My daughter has been to plenty of my doctor appointments and she doesn’t seem to care as long as she can have a cracker at the same time.
I wear what I want. Sometimes that includes (but is not limited to): Clashing patterns, pants that haven’t been washed in a week, leggings (and regular underwear...I don’t care if the world sees my underwear line), Little House on the Prairie style dresses (with anti-chafe butter between my legs, of course), Birkenstocks, Crocs, my husband’s tee shirts, no bra, and yes, the dreaded “mom bun” (which I blame for my receding hairline). My big toes are hairy and so is my upper lip. Don’t even ask about my shins, and no: I don’t shave above the knee. I’m not sure when the last time I had my eyebrows waxed was, so I’ll just leave ‘em bushy. “Oh, Danielle, you should get a bikini or Brazilian wax”. Oh, insert ex-friend name here, eat shit and die.
Get off my phone, turn off the TV and enjoy my life?! That IS how I enjoy my life! Hey! Maybe those are my hobbies!! I play my phone on the toilet and fall asleep with the TV on, because by the time I’m able to watch what I want, It’s 0830 or 0900, and my body is shutting down.
So, society? Why don’t you go raise yourself. Anyone who has the point of view that Sarah Buckley Friedberg mocked in her essay, and is judgey or pushy about it, I’d like to go back in time to see how your mother raised you. Or, see how you’re raising your kids now. What’s that? You don’t have kids? Hmm, didn’t think so. I guarantee you watched TV, ate high fructose corn syrup, sometimes hung out in your diaper or underwear all day, missed story circle at the local mom group, had cavities, got stung by bees, was bullied, vaccinated and all other deadly events. You turned out fine (maybe). Your moms tried the best they knew how and the best they could. They sacrificed their “hobbies”, interests, self-care, finances and careers for your entitled butts. It takes a certain type of woman to be a mother, and you, “society”, are not that type of woman.