>Today I was going through my usual Monday routine: wake up late for class, run into class, go to work, go to class, take a nap, go to chapter, homework. Seems pretty normal, right? Well, it would be apart from the small hitch I experienced during work. You see, I work as a nanny for a few Highland Park families. Which, altogether I would deem a pretty good job, the hours are nice and the pay is great, plus I get to play with adorable children. On this particular day it was extremely warm so Stuart and I went to the park via stroller. However, to our dismay the wood chips were wet, so we could not play. After purusing the fountains around the park we began to venture toward home when the idea struck me, I will take Stuart to SMU to see the fountains, there are a ton there (See RJT, I found a use!)! After securing Stuart in the stroller, blankie and baa-baa in hand we began our journey into the land of many fountains and bulldozers (or as Stuart says, Bountens and Bulldooerererers).
While pushing him around campus I experienced a much different sensation than the normal routine. People weren’t making eye contact. And, when I would wave to my friends they would only whisper hi and then be on their merry way. After going through the classic checks of lack of social interaction (fly open, body odor, food in teeth) I arrived at the idea that they weren’t talking to me because I was pushing a stroller with a toddler in tow. This was shocking and also made me very angry. The fact that I was being mistaken for a mom wasn’t even the issue, but I did hate the negative stereotype associated with it.
People make the joke from Napoleon Dynamite “Your mom goes to college!” Well, what if your mom really did? Would her friends come up and talk to her? Or just shrug her aside to protect their own image? Hopefully they would interact, but is that really wishful thinking? This experience taught me a lot about world perception. There really is a negative stigma associated with young, unmarried moms. But, the fact is that they are all around and can handle a lot more than balancing their parents checkbook. These women are role models. They are strong for their children and provide for their livelihood. From the moment of checking that pregnancy test life must get so difficult, yet they strive. Heck, they even go through birth, which is a substanital feat in my book.
Society needs to learn to respect moms. Moms work so hard to make lives great for their kid, even if it means doing the woo-woo trick to their socks or comforting their child after a rough breakup. It really is a tough job, especially for the young ones. You are forced to grow up as a child grows with you, and carry yourself as a woman of grace and integrity. For the married ones, I argue that this is easier, people see the diamond ring and they flock. Whereas the teens, the great unadorned are scorned for their misdoings, even if they are just taking care of some else’s child. I am not saying that parenthood is a task that I am ready to take on, but after today I do really admire those who meet the task with open arms and a burp rag that aren’t afraid to push the big blue stroller across the quad, even if it means funny looks, because damnit, Stuart wants to see the fountains.