The day Georgie turned seven months he rolled from back to front. And he started shaking his head “no” today. Very amusing. He doesn’t hear “no” to him very often; I only say it when he bites while nursing. What’s the point if he doesn’t understand? I prefer to redirect his behavior if he’s doing something I don’t want him to do. If he gets too close to the oven, I explain that it’s hot (and give the sign for hot), move him away and let him play with some fascinating Ziploc containers and wooden spoons.
The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at Huntington Reservation has a program for kids called Twinkle Tots. I took Georgie this past week, and was amazed by how many people showed up. The line snaked through the entire building, with kids running and screaming, babysitters trying in vain to maintain order, and summer moms trying to cram in one family thing before school starts. I met a couple of young moms with babies in slings. Turns out the one sells cloth diapers on eBay and both attend the local La Leche League meetings. It was a nice bit of hippy validation.
I was standing in line behind four moms with a bunch of kids. (Two of the women were pregnant with their second children). They were well-moneyed, with Peg Perego double-strollers, kids in head-to-toe Baby Gap & Gymboree, two moms in Ann Taylor sweater sets and the pregos in Pea-In-The-Pod maternity clothes. But they were obnoxious, making critical and disdainful comments about women they worked with (“She isn’t coming back to work when she has the baby; I can’t imagine what she’ll do all day!”) as well as snide remarks about some of the other women in line; I saw one point to a mom in line and say “she can’t possibly afford to pay for this program.” (it cost $1 per kid to participate, the woman had 4 kids), and another made fun of a woman carrying a baby in a sling, saying “What does she think this is, the African Congo?” She turned around, saw Georgie in his sling and knew I was watching her but wouldn’t look at me in the eye. It irritated me and I was this close to saying something. But the line was long and I could just see the headline: Angry mother decks pregnant elitist. So I let it be.
Their money didn’t irritate me. Their disdain did. The disrespect towards the woman who was trying to share a fun, inexpensive event with her kids. The disrespect towards stay-at-home mothers. The disrespect towards me. But what bothered me even more is that I saw those women as squanderers. They use so much when I get by on so much less. My husband goes to work at a dangerous job every day so that I have the privilege of staying home to raise our child. Do their husbands wear bulletproof vests to sit behind desks? Do their husbands have HIV-positive heroin addicts spit in their faces when they go on their pharmaceutical sales visits? Do their husbands worry about the driver in front of them pulling out a gun and shooting them on the way to the course for 18 holes with a client? Of course not. I’m not a socialist, and I won’t be spiraling into a whining “it’s not fair.” I believe in accepting the fork you chose and making the best of it. I don’t keep company with people who don’t wish to concern themselves with the world outside of their rose-colored Land Rover. I just don’t like inanity, condescension or cattiness. And I don’t like people who disrespect stay-at-home mothers. It’s the most important, most difficult job imaginable. The benefits are awesome.
I filled out a form the other day and I paused when I saw the line for “Job Title.” I wrote, “Domestic Engineer, specializing in Early Childhood Development.”
Take that, Pregnant Land Rover Broad.