Warning, rant following.
There are social norms. There are things we “don’t” or “shouldn’t” say. Hell, don’t even think them. We have progressed as a society since the obscene act that was slavery, racism (at least I like to think we have), sexism (in general), etc. The point is, terrible acts have been committed, terrible things has been said and we, as a people, have taken great strides to not repeat history.
I have been incredibly taken aback by the inappropriate comments that I have received on social media about travelling for my profession on a long-term assignment. Social media is so unbelievable for keeping up with people that you may otherwise lose track of. HOWEVER, social media also can lead to comparison (something that steals our joy), and it also gives a false sense of a meaningful relationship. People think, because they read my blog or see snippets of my life through Facebook status updates, that they know me. That simply is not accurate.
I attempt to be as transparent as I can be. My life is in no way perfect, it is pretty perfect for me, but by no means, perfect for someone else. I do NOT claim to have a perfectly manicured house or child, to have achieved the balancing act that is managing my professional goals with my very important role as a parent, have a flawless marriage, etc. My point is, while I am transparent, to some extent reading ABOUT me is not knowing me. Some comments I have received have made it so explicitly clear that there are individuals out there who do not know my boundaries, triggers, etc. I have been hurt to hear that others feel I am putting my profession before my family, that I am making the “wrong” choice by accepting the position in New Hampshire, and that my priorities are in some way incorrectly organized.
New Hampshire was an absolutely life-changing, incredible experience. I had an incredibly rewarding professional experience, explored another section of the United States, learned to swim, gained an appreciation for yoga, etc. I also missed Aiden so much it was hard to breath, bawled through Mother’s Day and spent so much time completely alone while I struggled with extreme morning sickness. New Hampshire has made me a stronger person and, I believe, that strength will make me a better mom. I truly believe that our normal, comfortable life can only result in growth if we seek it. New Hampshire DEMANDED growth. In every way, I had to throw aside my comfort zones, to survive an extremely difficult situation.
Let me also say, I could not have experienced this incredible experience without a huge support system, an incredible spouse and a very tolerant child. They are saints, saints who I missed dreadfully.
I do not regret leaving my family, my life and Washington for three months. I truly feel I had the rare opportunity to make a difference somewhere. The comments I have received have hurt me, and just like any painful word, leave a scar that cannot be removed. For those that have been supportive, thank you. My hope, is just like other societal norms that have evolved over time, I hope the stigma of the working, professional-minded mom will continue to evolve. I should say, every hurtful comment I received was from a female. I would have expected that females would bind together and help to lift each other up; however, that has not been my experience. I hope in 20 or 30 more years, we truly will be farther as women. Stay at home mom, working mom, woman that wants to be a mom, woman that does not want children; all deserve love and support, not judgment. I assure you, that is what you will receive from me.