Friday, June 24, 2011

The Look

I'm still on vacation, so here's another one of the "crumpled" blogs -- this one is a blog I always intended on finishing but never really could bring it together. But I think the message is definitely an important one. See you next week!

The thing I hate the most about being a working Mom is "The Look". 

If you are a working Mom, you know The Look and you know it well. It is most often found when you run into a friend from a long time ago, an extended family member, a distant in-law, the wife of a rich business man, someone from your home town, a neighbor...

I've become a pro at predicting the exact moment I'll get The Look. For example, I know it will always follow a conversation such as: 

      "Oh, your children are beautiful. Do you stay home with them then?"
      "No, I work. I'm an attorney".
      "Oh" (Insert fake smile here and wait for it...wait for it...there it is: THE LOOK).

The Look is the judgmental look that most people give working Moms. In one look, you "hear" just what the person is thinking: From, "How could you leave these beautiful babies every day?" to "Oh she's an attorney, she has a Nanny" to "Oh don't bother J's Mom honey, she's BUSY?", or (my personal "favorite") the "Oh, that's a choice I could never make...I could never leave my kids".

I hate The Look. I wish people could see that for many working Moms (including myself) it is not a CHOICE that we work. I HAVE to work. If I had my choice I would most certainly be home with my children, but bills need to be paid, college needs to be saved for, clothes need to be purchased…and so I work.

Second, despite the fact that I leave my children during the workday, I am still a great Mom. I still make time to chaperone field trips, stay home to nurse a cold, sit attentively during dance class. I scrapbook their lives, explore and play with them…I just have less time to do that than if I stayed home so I don’t take a minute for granted. In fact, I do a lot more with my kids than many of the people that give me The Look.

The Look holds a vision of a working Mom by the outside world…they see a woman in a suit, who has a nanny, a housekeeper, and a personal chef. A woman with no time for her children, who is cold, and who never plays with their children. That’s not me. I would never think of having others raise my children, and the only Mrs. Clean around my house is me.

Finally, I wish the people giving The Look could see that my children will be okay and in actuality may come out of these years BETTER than if I stayed home with them full time. My kids are smarter, more social, and more adaptable because I am not with them all the time. They will be fine. I will make sure of that.

So next time someone gives you that look…just smile and walk away. I'm realizing that if someone gives you The Look there is really nothing you can do to change their mind. And honestly I much more prefer looking at the looks of love, joy, and happiness I receive from the people that truly matter: my children.


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