Dear Amy…

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Dear Amy Glass,

If you ever read this, I am sure you will immediately notice that I fit into the category of “mommy blogger”.  So, I won’t be surprised if you discredit everything I am about to write.  As I have written before though, it is unfair to discredit someone solely based on a difference of opinions.

Even though I disagree with your view of a stay-at-home mom, I can tell that you are a strong-willed, independent woman who aspires to do something great in this world.  For that, I do applaud you.  It seems that your desire is for women to be ambitious, to achieve greatness, and you are using your words to try and inspire women to do so.  That is something to be noted and recognized.

Unfortunately though, your words are not giving inspiration.  There is a fine line between challenging and attacking, and I do believe your attempt to challenge women has actually come across as an attack on many.  Your call was for women to step outside of the box that our culture has shoved us into; but your idea of achievements is in fact calling women to step into another box.  What you are telling women is that if they don’t define themselves by their career, then they are not ambitious and have not achieved anything.  What you have done is set limitations and boundaries on what achievements women are allowed to make.  This narrow-minded definition of success is the very essence of why women stood up for equality in the first place.

You write a lot about men achieving greatness because they don’t allow things of little importance–like children–to get in their way.  Then, you challenge women to think like men do, and strive for achievements outside of the home.

What you are calling for,  is a role reversal.  I do not believe the solution to inequality is for women to think and act like men, because I do find error in the traditional/stereotypical role of a man.  When someone, male or female, solely identifies themselves with their work, then their relationships suffer.  I have seen too many broken families because one spouse has decided that they have nothing to do with what goes on at home.  If you have no intention to take part in parenting a child, then there is no reason for you to have a family to begin with. If your desire is to solely focus on your career, which is completely fine and acceptable, then just don’t have a family.

I am sure there are readers now, who are claiming that I don’t think women can do it all: have a career and have a family.  This is not true, you can have both, but if you want to “have your cake and eat it to”, then you are required to be fully present in both roles, as an employee and as a parent.

The notable feminist Gloria Steinem, which I am sure you have heard of, has said, “The truth is that women can’t be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.”  You praise men for their ability to completely separate themselves from their home life, and urge women to do the same.  You also see the home as something of little importance.  So, I wonder what your view of a stay-at-home dad is.  Do you see them as weak individuals too?  Or would you applaud them for not being your idea of a stereotypical man, because that would be inequality and a double standard.

You may have called me weak and lacking ambition, but that does not make me waiver from my decision to be a stay-at-home mom.  I encourage you to come to Lakeland, FL, where you will find many women who made an informed, not forced, decision to stay at home.  There are many stay-at-home moms here, including me, that are college-educated, which I am sure you will see as a disappointment, but we do not.  Your view of a stay-at-home mom is someone who folds her husband’s clothes and changes her child’s diaper, but we are so much more than a maid or a nanny.  If you would have taken the time to truly get to know us, you would have been able to see that.  There are many stay-at-home moms here in Lakeland that are incredible artists, amazing photographers, inspiring writers, challenging educators, and selfless volunteers.  So please refrain from stereotyping us as women who are weak-willed, that allow themselves to forced to fill roles that you think no one should fill.

And next time you want to call the role of stay-at-home mom “the path of least resistance” I would ask you to walk a mile in our shoes.  When I was a working mom, no one ever looked down on me or questioned my significance as a woman.  But the day I became a stay-at-home mom I have constantly been fighting against people like you that claim I am somehow less-than because I don’t receive a paycheck for my work.

Sincerely,

a strong-willed, passionate, opinionated, feminist, wife, and stay-at-home mom

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No Tots Allowed

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I never wanted to be one of those parents who brought their crying baby to the movies.  When Selah was born, my husband and I were very strict about what places Selah could join us and when it was best for Selah to stay home.  I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been to the movie theater.  Instead, we go to the drive-in where my child has the freedom to move about and play in our car without disturbing anyone else.  And if we go out to get some coffee, we try to sit outside so that Selah can be as loud as she wishes.

Even though we are very conscious about what places we bring Selah, we have still had our run-ins with the awkward glares.  I recall once eating dinner with my husband and my daughter at Burger 21, which we had deemed as an “ok” place to bring Selah.  There were many customers eating there, so it was quite loud, and I also recall seeing other families.  But as my daughter became very vocal, as she loves to verbally express herself, I could see the table next to us start to shift uncomfortably in their chairs.  Every couple of minutes or so, I could feel them staring at our table with their judgmental eyes.  My husband and I chose to not let their uncomfortableness ruin our family night out.

Luckily, I’ve never experienced other customers complaining about my daughter in such a way that management has asked us to leave.  But, I know there are many families who have had that experience.  If you’ve been paying attention to social media and the news lately I am sure you’ve heard of the family asked to leave Panera Bread because of their daughter’s squeaky shoes, or the family that caused many customers to feel uncomfortable at a well-to-do restaurant.

As I have stated before, my husband and I have a list of approved places to bring Selah, and a list of places where we leave Selah at home.  Any restaurant that is on the pricier side, we save for date nights.  Personally, we see it as a matter of respect for others.  If I know that people are spending quite a bit of money to dine there and if the ambiance is that of an intimate, romantic, dining experience, I think it is only fair to the other diners to not bring my incredibly vocal infant.

As far as Panera Bread goes, that is on our approved-to-bring-Selah dining list.  It has a casual atmosphere, families tend to eat there, and it is not a place with servers.  So when I heard about a family being asked to leave because their daughter’s squeaky shoes were bothering another customer, my blood began to boil.  Putting aside the fact that her squeaky shoes were actually orthopedic shoes to encourage her to walk, I find it absolutely absurd this family was asked to leave—even if her shoes had only been fun toddler shoes and not serving a medical purpose. If an intimate, quiet, dining experience is what you are aiming for then either eat at home, or find a restaurant that provides that type of atmosphere.  But if you do choose to eat out and find yourself at a casual, family-friendly restaurant, then do not be surprised when you get just that.

For our family, our decision on where to go with our little one has always been ruled by respect for others.  If outside seating is available, we try to snag those tables, so our daughter is comfortable and so are other diners.  Before we go out, we always think about where we are going and whether or not it is  fair to others to bring an infant who cannot comprehend manners.  But, believe you me, if that table at Burger 21 had chosen to complain to management about us, and try to get us to leave, they would have been met with not just a very vocal child, but an equally vocal mom.