A Privilege and a Sacrifice

Not long ago I was at a restaurant with my family.  We were in the front of the restaurant, waiting to be seated, and the boys were jumping all over Mauricio, excited to be with their daddy after a long day of work. I sat on a bench, watching them, finally relieved to have no one touching me for a few minutes and have the attention elsewhere.  I could breathe a minute... decompress.

An older lady sitting next to me struck up a conversation with me.
She said:  Is that your son?  (pointing at Marco)
I said: Yes... and that one too... (pointing to Jonas)
She said:  Oh wow... TWO little ones? You must have your hands so full...

Can I just rant for a minute?  This is the MOST annoying, MOST cliche thing you can say to a mother. First of all, DUH.  Of course I have my hands full.  Every mom has her hands full.  Motherhood is hard.  BUT, more importantly, my hands are full, but I LIKE it that way.  My children are not a burden to me.  They're most definitely hard work, time consuming and patience testing, but I love them more than my whole life, so yes, my hands are wonderfully full... and my heart?  Over-flowingly full.

I nodded.
She said: So, who takes care of them?
I gave her a questioning confused look
I said: I do?
She said:  Well yes, I know... but during the day?
Another questioning confused look
I said: I do?
She said:  Yes, yes, but while you're at work... who takes care of them?
I said:  Oh!  I'm a stay-at-home-mom... I don't work.

And here it is guys... the point of the whole story...
She opens her arms, really dramatic-like and says in a sing-songy voice...
"Oooooo, what a PRIVILEGED LAAAADY!"


I didn't know what to say, so I meekly said:
"Yes, we are blessed.  My husband is a great provider and we're able to make it work".

But that was the wrong answer.
Don't you sometimes wish you had a rewind button?  Ugh.  I could have put her in her place sooooo good, if only I hadn't been like a deer in headlights!

Here's what I really think on the subject...

Am I privileged?  Hell yes.  I am so grateful that I get to spend every day with my kids... that I get to be their teacher, their playmate, their referee, their boo-boo kisser, their nap time snuggler.  It would break my stinkin' heart if I couldn't do those things for them.

Am I a "Privileged Lady"?  Hell NO!  I ain't rich.  We don't have nannies or butlers or chefs or drivers. We had to live with my in-laws for a whole year to save money to buy a house.  Mauricio's car is from 1997.  My car is a hand-me-down from my mom because I totalled my old car, which by the way was my high school graduation gift.  We buy things off of Craigslist all the time.  We clothes shop at Target.  We haven't taken a vacation since our honeymoon.  We don't have texting.  We don't have cable.  We have to strictly budget and save in order to buy the things we want.

We are not rich...
We are not "Privileged"... in the way she was saying it.

We make an enormous amount of sacrifices for me to be able to stay home with the kids.  It's not something we take lightly.  We could be much better off.  We could both have 401K's.  But we don't.  Because THIS is the time for us to sacrifice.

We feel that it is more important for me to be home with our kids... so that we can decide how to raise them, how to discipline them, what kind of things they should be learning, or exposed to.  We make all the choices.  We are in a completely controlled environment.  For us, that's more important than new cars, yearly vacations, Nordstrom clothes.

So yes, it is a privilege... but it's also a sacrifice.
Dont' get confused.


Cheri said...

That was AWESOME! You said everything I've always thought in a way I could never think to,say. Thank you!

Knitorious Mama said...

I also hate when someone says oh so you don't work. Yes I do work. I don't earn a paycheck. I get paid in hugs and kisses. I say that I am a personal assistant to a very demanding client. It is a 24/7 job with lots of sippy cups, coloring, and diaper changes. It is worth every minute.

Oh and my normal response to oh you have your hands full is: Yes I do my hands are full of cuteness.

Helo said...

For Nicole and ... it reminded me of me when my children were small and I dropped everything to be with them ... like it was worth it! because today I look at them, and I know adults who took all times and stages, what was bad or difficult, we forget ... but what I can not forget and I will never forget in my life was that I participated in near the very infancy of Mirella and Mauricio .... you can imagine what Marco asleep in the middle of the bed with you? because ... and in one of the many trips that Otavio and Rosana did and they were us, Mauricio woke in the middle of the night, scared .... he was our baby .... when they left a piece of my heart broke and never will be repaired ... what makes me happy and know that he and happy, married and has two little boys you like him and that I can visit it from time to time, and the same happens with Mirella ....
Let's enjoy the moments that will never come back, day by day with lots of love and happiness!
A kiss on Mauricio (my baby)

Callie Nicole said...

Good post Nicole! I can never think of the best thing to say when I'm in the situation either - it's always afterward. But it's probably better that way sometimes, and anyway, what is blogging for? I agree with you, it is a privilege and a sacrifice to be able to stay home with our kiddos!

Danielle-Marie said...

Uhm and how's about lots of families can't afford the astronomical cost of daycare for 2 children therefore making it not worth it for the mother (or father, whichever) to go to work. What a judgemental bitch! I'm especially unimpressed by the sing song voice she used to say that to you!