I came across this article via a friends facebook page. Caroline Hax is a writer with the Washington Post, who has a column called 'Tell me about it' where people write in and she answers (modern day agony aunt kind of thing). Not really my kind of thing but I read this on my friends page and it did make me think about our lack of understanding of others in general.
In this article the questioner raises the age old irritant of 'what do stay at home mums (or in old fashioned speak: housewife) do all day?'. This is probably something that most SAHMs feel condmemned by at some point. Often its them condemning themselves, women put so much pressure on themselves these days to be perfect. Its crazy. If you've been at home with a crying baby all day and haven't even been able to sit down with a cup of tea, by the end of the day you are just about rung out. How many women, having been in that situation, will still be thinking, 'I need to get the dinner ready...'? Somtimes we need to recognise its ok to say, actually I am having an awful day, could you come round and help? or 'darling I'm sorry theres'no dinner, why don't we get a takeaway?' (ok no remarks on maybe him cooking the dinner, thats not the point :) )
The thing is, it is almost impossible to understand what being a parent is like, mum or dad, unless you are one. You can explain to people, you can show them the state of your house, you can cry off engagements due to kids illness (or your own exhaustion!) but they won't get it until they are there in that situation. And actually I am ok with that. It's not a red rag to a bull for me. It's a bit like faith... (ok you knew that had to come in somewhere, didn;t you ;) ) You cannot really come to grips with faith unless you have it. You can explain to friends what you believe and why, but they won't understand truly until they are there. Oh yes they can be knowledgable on the bible, even be a theologian, but thats the 'head' stuff not the heart, (that make sense?). Same with kids. I have a friend who moved to Australia when she was 7 months Pregnant with her first child. She knew no one out there and her husband was going to be working very long hours. I told her she was nuts. Not because I wanted to hurt her but because I would have been a bad friend if I had said, 'oh how wonderful, you'll have a great time. baby? no problem...' So I didnt. It was bloody hard for her but at least she had some warning. She had read baby books by the shed load, done ante-natal classes etc she had the knoweldge, but not the actual baby yet. How could she possibly know what it was going to be like?
The best comment in the article really was the last one:
'Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself. '
If we all made more of a sincere effort to understand each others position, life would be a lot more pleasant.