I just read an article that got to me. I really felt for the writer, and really, really understood her struggle. While I am not a single mom, I get it and have been putting a lot of thought into things over the last couple of months (where I wrote here but did not publish). Her post can be found here.
See, I've seen a lot of anger, vitriol and animosity around the digital world -- and it hurts a bit. It feels sometimes like there is no room for struggle, no room to really connect as people. There's a lot of judgement out there. And, the mommy wars out there are painful to read about. I have a lot of expletives in my head about all that drama.
But -- I also question some of the articles about the mommy wars. Because while people write about moms who choose to stay home, or moms who choose to work outside the home, there is really very little attention paid to moms who don't make the choice.
I didn't make that choice -- it was made for me. And, while I am finally coming to the point in life -- my life as a work at home mom that is -- where I am okay with being here even though the kids are getting much older, it was still never my choice.
The kids and I are much closer now than when I worked outside the home -- but they are also much older, so I can't tell you if it's because I am home, of if it's simply that we have much more in common now as they learn about the world around them in more in depth ways.
The youngest, especially, has blossomed as an individual while I've been home, which brings a smile to my face in all reality. And, what really gets me is that they really see the struggle. They see the struggle with my "job" (the shop -- and the new one I am opening soon), they see the struggle with the laundry, dishes, getting food on the table -- when, as an artisan, I am making a mere fraction of what I would be making outside the home.
They were used to a standard of living that I can't provide them anymore -- and it's taken a while, but they are getting used to it. But where can we be really honest with what's going on in life -- to really try an make that connection if there is just so much judgement out there? How does it really benefit to judge what one doesn't understand -- because we really as people don't have the full pictures of each others stories, not really.
My closest friend lives 3,000 miles away -- and I love her dearly, but even still I don't know everything about her -- I don't know her whole story day-in-and-day-out, so there is nothing I would want to judge about her. I am pretty sure it's the same for her. So, what is it about the digital world that makes everything so judgy?
Is it just that we can hide, seemingly anonymously behind the computer screen? I hope not -- I hope it's not that and instead it's that people really don't know how hurtful they are being. I really hope that it's more simple: that when someone posts something on facebook or other media about "government moochers" that they don't know the inner struggle of the "friends" they are sharing that with.
It's hard to come clean with real thoughts out there in cyberspace -- which lends itself to creating an online persona that really becomes one-dimensional. I know it's hard -- and I avoid it like the plague, because I don't really want people to know the struggles of being a work-at-home-mom.
But then again -- I think that being real may be more important in the long run. Like the gemstones I work with -- I am multi-faceted, and I am pretty sure my customers are as well.