Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm doing the best that I can.

I should know better than to get upset by what other people say on the Internet, but sometimes I can't help myself. Sometimes people say things that cut so deeply, that touch such a nerve, that I just can't let it go.

A friend of mine posted a rather humorous status message on Facebook musing about why an eleven year old would have a cell phone, and who could possibly be calling an eleven year old early in the morning. It was a lighthearted comment, but one of his relatives felt the need to respond thusly:

A parent who probably never saw her child get up this morning b/c they already left for work & most likely will only see their child for (maybe) 2-3 hrs before they go to bed. Sad how some parents only spend time with their children 15 hrs... out of 121 hrs in 5 days! Priorities! Money should never replace time with your children. Invest, rather, in your child's future. The other reason for a young child to have a cell phone.......broken homes. Helps the absentee parent keep in better touch (to help ease the conscience of that parent). I know......harsh examples, but unfortunally I koow of too many real life situations to back it up. 

I realize she isn't talking about me.  She doesn't even know me.  But those words hurt.  I work outside the home at least five days a week.  I leave at 7 a.m. and don't return until after 6 p.m. because that's what my job demands.  I cherish every minute with my son, every precious and all-to-rare minute.   If there's a choice between sleeping in and spending time with Jack, I spend time with Jack every single time.  If there's a choice between a babysitter or finding an activity I can do with Jack, I find something Jack and I can do together every single time.  Maybe that isn't enough - God knows I struggle with that question every time I leave the house to go to work.  Did I make Jack smile this morning?  Was our time together quality time?  Did I read to him enough, sing to him enough, hold him enough?

Am I wrong?  Am I doing the wrong thing?  No, I can't even question it.  I'm confident that I'm doing the best that I can for my family.  If I don't go to work, we don't have a roof over our heads, food in our refrigerator, health insurance.  Absent winning the lottery or living on some kind of handout, I don't know any other way to do this.  Money certainly does not replace time with my child, thank  you very much, but it is a necessity, a fact of life. 

My choice to work long hours is not born of a desire for things, for accumulation and status symbols.  I do it out of the deep love I have for my family.  That can't be the wrong things to do.  And lest this post become any more melodramatic than I already has, I will end on a light note, with a nod to Bender:  judgmental people like that broad on Facebook can bite my shiny metal ass. 



Mike's Crazy Wife said...

I feel your pain! God meant for me to be a mommy about 4 hours a day, any more than that is risking a mental break down (mine and the kids).

AND my 9 year old has a cell phone, because she can't use her daddy's (he's home full time) and if there's a medical emergency while I'm out working for the almighty dollar (that buys food for my neglected kids) she can call me!

Quietly, humbly, stepping off my soapbox before I get started.

Ash said...

oops - im one of those mummys. :( have to bring in the milk money home so we dont have a choice but work and this so called money can provide our son with a better future. all of us aren't rich and afford to be a stay at home mum even though we wish for the same. reality sucks and truth hurts but we do what we have to do.

cheer up and have a great weekend. :)

~ash's mum

Carrie said...

Jenn your an amazing mother. dont ever let anyone or anything make you feel any different ... You enjoy the time that is there and that is the most important thing. Besides I think jacks hugs and cuddles are worth every second they are deffinently something that I remember.

Wisconsin Mommy said...

Interesting how some people can only feel okay about their choices by putting down other's. Unfortunately, Facebook gives them a place where they feel it's okay to do that.

You are doing great by your little boy - if you were the type of parent that wasn't, that comment wouldn't have even phased you.

Hang in there!