Dear Facebook friends,
I read it quickly, noticed that she was a freelance journalist (like me), agreed with several of the points, and shared it along with a comment along the lines of "these are some of the reasons why I'm choosing to stay home and freelance at this point in my life."
See, no daggers! No accusations! I certainly wasn't out to pee in anyone's Corn Flakes, or however that expression goes.
The first couple of comments on my shared post were other moms who have chosen to stay home with their children while they're little, and they agreed with the post wholeheartedly.
But then the working moms started commenting, and I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.
All over Facebook (including on my own "share"), there were working moms running after author Lydia Lovric with pitchforks. I felt panicky. I didn't mean to upset anyone. I didn't think the article was judgmental! But everyone else did, so ... was it? Crap!
I had a headache and the kids were cranky, and I felt like I just couldn't deal with one more rotten thing in my day. I deleted my "share," threw my phone on the night-stand, and tried to sleep.
But I couldn't let go of the grumpy feelings, because -- like it or not -- there were good points in that article. I didn't like the fact that I had backed down.
So here I am.
Yes, I agree she used a few cringe-worthy lines ("The feminists may not like it..." and "...although I did love my job very much, I love you more"). I don't agree with those statements at all. Let's move on.
Let's talk about the lines that resonated with me, because IT WASN'T ALL BAD, GUYS.
I liked how she talked about using cloth diapers to save money, because we did that, too. Well yeah, like 10 per cent of the decision was based off wanting to be cool like Amalah, but it was mostly about the cost-savings.
I like how she talked about not taking fancy vacations, because we can't afford those, either.
Sometimes I feel really sad about this, when it seems like EVERYONE ELSE is going on nice vacations, and we're saving up to go camping *sigh*.
(But when you share your gorgeous pictures on Facebook of the week-long Caribbean vacation you took with your family, you don't see me commenting with "Ohhh, must be NICE to take a vacation like that. We couldn't afford it because I stay at home with our little angel-pies." No. You don't.)
I like how she talked about not eating in restaurants very often, and not spending a lot of money on clothes or shoes or purses, because we are constantly making sacrifices just like this.
(Heck, we left our entire city behind because we couldn't afford a house there, and moved an hour away from our families so that we could have an actual yard.)
As a mom who stays at home and works (at home) on a freelance basis, I don't fall neatly into either the stay-at-home-mom or the working-mom camp. I can schedule mid-morning playdates with my stay-at-home mom friends, but I spend the afternoons working on deadline while Gchatting my working-mom friends.
I see both worlds, but I don't fit into either one, exactly. I think they're both great. I don't judge my friends who work full-time (I'm completely proud and impressed by their success) and I don't judge my friends who don't work at all (I'm amazed by their patience and ability to put their careers on hold).
The trouble is that moms feel the need to defend their position (myself included) whenever they feel it's being questioned, and sometimes it gets downright vicious.
When there's an article from the perspective of a working mom -- talking about the importance of having a career -- sometimes the stay-at-home moms feel insecure about their decision. They feel a little sad they are not getting promotions and raises and bonuses (at least, I know I do).
When there's an article from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom -- talking about the importance of being there for your kids day in and day out -- sometimes the working moms feel insecure about their decision. They worry they aren't spending enough time with their kids, and that they are putting too much focus on their work (at least, I know I do).
We've already established that there's no "perfect" solution that works for everyone, so it seems wrong that anyone has to compare themselves to anyone else (and feel guilty or insecure), but we're never going to get past it, it seems. So maybe we just have to be nicer about not attacking the decisions of other moms. Easier said than done, right? Ugh.
I'm glad I deleted my "share" of the article, because I didn't like the negativity that was building up on my Facebook wall, and the dinging to notify me of every new reply. It was making me angry and upset and worried that I'd hurt people by sharing it.
But I still believe there were good points in that article (although I certainly didn't agree with every single line).
Not having two full-time incomes means we DO make sacrifices, worry about money, and have to give things up, and I DO sometimes wonder about the career I'd have if I had continued to work full-time.
But on the other hand, I DO feel confident with my decision to work from home at this point in our lives, and I DO appreciate that I get to drive the preschool carpool and organize play-dates and spend this time with my two-year-old and four-year-old while they're young.
So why isn't it OK to say that in a public forum without being attacked?
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