Despite my focus on RR here, I don’t often play the mommy card in life. In fact, I outwardly cringe at the opportunities some of my acquaintances take to blame their own anger and world weariness on their kid. Now, bless their hearts, they are usually bemoaning something that any of us would find frustrating – having a cold while being busy at work, for example. That’s sufficient for me to feel deep sympathy that you are suffering so much, you poor, exhausted thing. I usually even say something sympathetic. That’s right. I love you even when you complain. Going for the “you think THAT’S bad” point and using the expression “prego cold” in response to someone whose leg is broken doesn’t actual bolster a complaint. In fact, it makes me less sympathetic since it implies that you are a beleaguered soul single-handedly taking on the future of the world. Yes, that happened. Pregnancy and motherhood are fucking hard. But it’s okay for other people to have hard things, too.
I know someone who, in all seriousness, called the city to ask them not to jackhammer at 10am on the street a few blocks away since her child hadn’t been sleeping well and sometimes fell asleep at that time. Obviously, she said, the person in charge of that crew isn’t a parent. She also says things like this: “This mama bear is so angry! How dare you not smile at my kid when he waves to you on the bus!” Dude, I wish the world revolved around my kid, too, but strangers have a right not to engage. I once spent an entire cross-country flight with a kid eyeballing me through the seat backs chattering and waving after I smiled once. The mother thought it was endearing. I wanted a privacy screen.
Which brings me to this. We have an emergency weather system at work where a pre-identified group of people must come in when the campus closes in order to keep the libraries open. Typically, those people are within walking distance but a large number of people who live within walking distance are not on the list. A large number of those people are single or don’t have kids/aging parents/etc. at home. When I asked to be taken off the list while RR was young and dealing with school cancellations, I got pushback. Despite working in an office where several other people either live equally as close (or closer) and do not feel the impact when schools close. I’m so frustrated. I don’t consider two and half miles with an under-five a reasonable distance. It also sucks to have to get out and shovel/scrape an hour earlier while keeping the kid inside occupied. Frankly, I just want to be home and not on the roads while I’m raising a young child.
Look, I know that all of those complaints are just as valid without the kid codicil. No one wants to be on the roads. No one wants to get up an hour earlier. No one thinks walking two and a half miles in inclement weather is reasonable. But come on, man. Although I am temporarily off the list, it isn’t without a huge amount of pressure and guilt. My boss lives a few houses away and since she can come in (and did while she raised three young boys) I should surely be able to.
Gah. Thanks for listening.