I can’t help but wonder sometimes what the women one generation removed from mothering small children think of today’s mothers. Are they embarrassed for us? Angry that we’ve taken for granted the strides they made toward separating woman as mother from woman as human being?
I’m talking, ladies, about the new trend popular with a certain sector of moms who find out you had a day out or, heck, that you actually enjoy working, and respond with a particularly haughty, “Well.” Or maybe it’s more like “we-hell.” These people have a way of turning a one syllable word into many.
You already know what’s coming next. It’s one word imbued with more judgment than Nancy Grace can spit out in a one-hour special on HLN. And that’s saying something.
These mothers, it seems, actually LIKE spending time with their kids. Or so they’ll tell you. As if you don’t like your kids.
These mothers don’t just go off and do fun things because they have kids at home, don’tcha know? And childhood is so short, and the time with our kids is precious, and blah, blah, blabbity, blah, blah.
I think you know where I’m going with this.
My time with my daughter is precious. But so is my time away.
It’s precious for me, the wife and the woman.
And it’s precious for her.
She is at an age where she still counts down the hours until school begins again, who writes love letters to her teacher, who delights in knowing things that I can hardly remember (yes, it turns out, Grover Cleveland was the president who got two cracks at the job without consecutive terms). I can’t imagine my child if school wasn’t enriching her life. She enjoys that time away, and she makes good use of it.
Stepping beyond her traditional education, I wonder who my child would be if she weren’t the social butterfly who plans her own playdates, looping me in at the end so I can talk to so-and-so’s mother.
Would she be better served as a child who is socially awkward, clingy? If she had yet to meet a teacher who could engage her mind?
I have seen what life is like when my daughter spends too many days in a row home from school, when we are both crawling the walls. We become sick of one another, angry with one another, easily annoyed by one another’s peccadilloes.
Just a few hours in school or a trip to the grocery store with her father is all it takes to wear down the prickers popping out of our skin, to make us once again open to one another.
Would we be better as mother and child if we were forever wrapped in the dance of like personalities clashing? If absence did not give us the chance for the hearts to once again grown fond?
I’m going to say no.
I’m going to say it.
I love my daughter more because we spend time away from one another. I dare say the same goes for her.
So to all those mothers, I have just one simple request. Please, just go to hell.
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