Of the working and the stay-at-home variety and everything in between, this one’s for you. I know you see women like me on comment threads, with the current choice to be childless thinking we don’t understand you. I am here to tell you that we don’t. As someone without kids, I have maybe changed 5 diapers in my life, and have never woken up to a baby’s cry. I’ve only healed a handful of boo-boos. I’ve only read 10 or 15 bedtime stories. The best knowledge I’ve instilled in another human being was probably in the bathroom of a club, passing a stranger a tissue to wipe the vomit off her lips. I have never held hands that were equally my own and not, at the exact same time.
It is this lack of understanding that makes me want to say thank you. In a world where people think feminism just means climbing the corporate latter, you are the anchor to the boat, keeping us all — especially the next generation — in check. In the face of a society that tells you how you should be, you are choosing what you are and what fulfills you and what’s best for your family. You don’t get a paid break or sick time. You are your own boss at a job you can’t leave at the door when you enter your home because your job is your home. You can’t fire your employees, and you know even when your patience runs thin, you wouldn’t want to.
I don’t know what your life is like.
I apologize for giving you looks at the supermarket when your kid is in tantrum mode. I’m working to reverse this reflex. I know it’s not your fault. I can’t even begin to fathom what your relationship with your kids is because my own one with my mom was atypical due to distance. This is part of the reason why I chose my path. Not to be hard on myself, but I would probably be awful at it. But you — whether you are breast feeding on the phone with the mechanic, or dropping your kids off at school on your way to work, I don’t under estimate the magnitude of your choice to create the next generation. I don’t undermine your sacrifice and I hope your kids don’t, either.
While we may be different in our journeys, one thing can be said for both of us: There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is herself. You are spit-up on your shirt and bags under your eyes beautiful. You are swing sets and backyard barbecues and homework and chasing monsters under the bed beautiful. We are each long nights and too short of days in our own ways, but though my reasons for staying up late are different from yours, I just have this to say: