Tonight I learned not to judge the middle-aged woman in her pajamas pumping gas at the gas station. She may have spent all morning trying to get the checkbook balanced, and after three hours had to settle for a 10 cent discrepancy.
I learned not to judge the woman in yoga pants pushing the grocery cart around Meijer. It is quite possible she was wearing real clothes earlier in the day the first time she left the house. That would also be before she helped her husband pick up leaves, and got covered in dirt, rotting leaves, and dog poop. Also, before the dog barfed up a combo of her own poo and grass in the laundry room. Twice.
I learned not to judge the weary-looking mother staring blankly at the grocery store shelf. It is very likely that this is the only time she has been at the store without her preschooler in a very long time, and needs to take advantage of this by picking up gifts for him for his upcoming birthday and Christmas. She might just be racking her brain to remember what size Lightning McQueen he was most interested in three days ago when they were at this very same store together.
For all you know, that woman has worked for the last 6 days straight. She could have bitten off more than she can chew. She misses her family. She misses her dog.
I learned not to judge the woman with her hair quickly escaping her pony tail and no makeup out in public at 9:00PM. She knows damn well that she has no right to be out. But she also spent all of her day doing so many other chores, that she still needs to buy groceries, including supplies for her son’s lunch at daycare tomorrow. And when she arrives home, she still will need to put away the groceries, pack said lunch for the son, pack one for herself, and tuck the tiny night owl into bed.
Then eat some Halloween candy.
Then type up and publish a blog post.
Then start reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower as preparation to publish her own YA book, hopefully before midnight.
This week I learned that I am totally that woman. You can judge me all you want, but I am drained. Stay-at-home moms always argue that the work they do is REAL work. And I wouldn’t argue that point, having done it for almost 2 years myself. But, it is DIFFERENT work. For all the days when the house ends up more of a disaster at the end of the day than when you started, there are many more days than not where you feel a sense of accomplishment of actually finishing the dishes, making a semi-nutritional and/or delicious dinner, or spending an actual 10 minutes of quality time with your child. Working full time makes those tiny accomplishments impossible.