Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Mommy Card

You know how some folks tend to complain about certain cards that get played in uncomfortable situations, like the 'race' card? (You know, because it totally makes sense to get defensive whenever race is an issue in an obviously racial situation.) Or the 'woman' card because somehow, being a woman comes with all of these perks and advantages like pay inequity and monthly periods.

During a recent job interview, there was a crucial moment when I got stuck trying to think of an appropriate response to an important question. First of all, let's mention the fact that I had my first job interview in yearzzz. Second, let's celebrate the fact that it wasn't at a fast food restaurant. And finally, let's reflect on all of the reasons why it might be a big deal for someone like me at this moment...because:

<--- THIS has been my life for the past three and a half years. Before that, I'm sure that I was sufficiently civic-minded and engaged, but I forgot about all of that because it was so long ago. Before I spent my downtime on a family trip doing laundry. Before I stopped caring that my house is really messy. Before I drove an SUV. Before people stopped calling me by my given name. Before my TV options included PBS Kids and really bad Disney sitcoms. Before I became susceptible to the type of embarrassing brain freeze that causes one to forget an entire chunk of relevant life experience.

Before the Kid. Here is my Mommy Card.

Alas, no one is all that interested in hearing about any of the nonsense I endure on a given day. Like the fact that my child appears to be rejecting all of the potty training that she has received, so it makes perfect sense that she would be wearing her ballet tutu when I arrived to pick her up from school. It is not at all strange that she can recite the list of items that come in an Old McDonald's Happy Meal but cannot tell me where she hid the toothpaste tube. It is just another normal day when she shouts 'Christmas' in response to a request to clean up her toys.

Unfortunately, the Mommy card doesn't pack the same punch as the others. And it doesn't help that there are people in this world who peddle foolishness disguised as biblical truth. You know, people who preach the gospel of selfless contentedness. The type of person who might not appreciate why I would want to work outside of the home after all of these years. The person who posted this ---->

What makes her so happy? Why don't I share in any of the joy she lists here? I love Jesus too, so what the heck is my problem???

Suddenly I feel like I'm back at that interview and this is the instant replay of that pivotal question. Before my brain freezes and my mind trails off to wonder about the unidentified stain on this suit which I haven't worn in two years, I sit up straight like a seasoned poker player and put my cards on the table:

I am the Busy Black Woman. I have a three year old Busy Black Child. To the extent that my attendance at various civic and community activities was possible (i.e., stroller accessible, didn't interfere with her sleeping/feeding schedule, kid-friendly, or child care was available), I participated. Now that she is older, I hope that I will be available to do more during those hours that she is in school. If that works for you, wonderful. If not, then I appreciate your time and you can validate my parking.

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