Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brutal Honesty

A really good friend of mine and I were chatting this weekend (all before 7:00am because when else would we find time) about the crazy weekend we were in for. She was getting ready for a garage sale, I was running around like a mad woman trying to get my house ready for a family birthday dinner for the baby. My husband, like every other husband in America, helped me with the house by beautifying the yards. I've come to find (with the help of other women) that men's yards are like women's kitchens. They are the at the core of how we view ourselves. If either are a mess, then by deduction so are we.

My friend and I met in college. We were both beginning our teaching credential programs after having non-educational careers. When we met, we were both barely pregnant with our first children. Since we were in education programs we had a crash course on the child's psyche. We read tons of parenting books, shared tips and hoped for the best for one another. Our due dates were 2 weeks apart; she was having a boy, I a girl. The bond that solidified our friendship was a phone call she made to me the morning she went into labor 1 week early. I'll never forget her frantic words, "The books, they all lied. Take them outside and BURN them!" I couldn't help but laugh and told her I'd come visit her soon. I checked into the hospital that night 1 week after my due date and our babies were born mere hours apart. We like to think that they came into this world with a friend waiting for them. All of our kids have been friends since and our friendship has become stronger with each passing year.

I've always seemed to gravitate towards strong, Type A women. My friend is one of the strongest I know, which is why I respect her and her opinion so much. We are two totally different women in most respects (politics, religion, education) except that we are mothers and want to be good ones. Our friendship is not for the weak, but neither are most of our conversations. It's our differences that have made each of us a better friend to one another. The beautiful thing about friendship is that we can't always be strong. A good friend will get you back to where you need to be - without judgement.

Her and I have always despised those who felt entitled to a certain lifestyle. Thank goodness I love her because I don't think I could've heard what she said to me this weekend from anyone else. She said (nicely) "You know, you are not "entitled" to this life that you want." At first I wanted to tell her to shut up because I didn't want to think of myself as one of those people who live in a bubble. But, then I thought maybe to an extent she is right. I guess I'm not really entitled to being a stay-at-home mom. This acknowledged, it doesn't change the fact that I want my old life where I was a SAHM back so bad.

I think the hardest part about going back to work is feeling so close to the life you want, then losing it. I don't have a problem working; I have a problem missing my kids' lives. Sure that old life was a struggle because we only had one income, but at least I wasn't paying someone to raise my kids. At least I could offer them my time and love even if I couldn't buy them cool toys or expensive trips. I know I'm not alone in this. This recession has hurt a lot families and forced them to make a lot of decisions we never wanted to. But, when did wanting to raise your own kids become something you weren't entitled to?


  1. What an interesting story. First, you are so lucky to have a friend like that who can be so honest.

    Second, I have a friend who is similar to you. She and her hubby went through a very difficult time about a year ago, and my friend *refused* to go back to work to help make ends meet. They eventually lost their home. I think she was entitled.

    At the time, I didn't think it was my place to say anything... but now, after reading your post, I wish I would have.


  2. It takes a special friendship to bare the burden of the truth. I'm lucky I have a friend who can do this with a hug in her back pocket. We should all be so lucky :-)