Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Boudicca Draws Her Sword

This started when I was over at Absinthe and Cookies. This is the original Post. I thought it had to be a joke. I thought for sure that it was from some news source that wasn’t really news, but just sounded like it because it had news in the title. I was wrong. I looked up this Gretchen Ritter woman and it is true. And there are people angry. That includes me.

Ith evidently felt the same way, wondering if this could be true and she stumbled upon the same article I did, the original written by the author, which requires registering. If you want to see it, you can use BugMeNot, information provided to me by blogfather Harvey, or if you want, you can go back over to where Ith posted large sections of the text. Your choice. (**Update from Harvey: from Bugmenot, and you DO need all three, firstname: George, email:, password: nopass. Use these when you have to register to see the original article.)

It wasn’t really a tough decision for me to stay home looking back on it. I wasn’t forced into it by society or by some whacked out movement. It was a personal choice. When we had the 3rd child, unexpectedly, it became increasingly difficult for me to work. I was just dead dog tired. Even though I was only working 20 hours a week, I had three children under the age of four and while my morning for pay job (which paid VERY well) was mentally taxing, my afternoon and night job was both emotionally and physically exhausting. I was fortunate in that I had an excellent paying job to ensure I could hire someone to help me, but I was still up at 6 every morning, functioning on little or no sleep as babies and toddlers don’t sleep well. The corporation I worked for announced they were closing my plant and that I could transfer to CT if I wanted to, keeping my job. No thanks. My husband is self employed and he sure as hell wasn’t going to move his business there. Plus, no offense if any of you are from Hartford, CT, but Garden of Eden it ain’t. I was scheduled to get laid off in August, 2000, and I was trying to decide if I would try to find something part time again or stay home full time. I was deathly afraid of not using my brain. Then my Mother in law died in January, 2000. I haven’t blogged on it much, but it was a life altering event in our family. When my kids were sick or there was some other reason I couldn’t take them to pre-school or to the Mom that was looking after my baby, my Mother in law always stepped in. As a buddy of mine called her, Ma was my “Go To Girl.” When she died unexpectedly, it threw a huge curve ball into our lives in ways we never expected. I reassessed my life and we decided that I would request an early lay off. We discussed it, although really, it was my decision as I was the one that would be feeling the effects the most. We went through pros and cons and my husband left the decision to me, with the assurance I would get his full support no matter my ultimate decision, although he did prefer I stay home. You can say what you want, but nobody raises your kids better than you do. I got my lay off date pushed back to April, 2000. From that point on, I have stayed home.

My kids like me home. They have been outwardly afraid I will get a job away from them. They like me picking them up from school, not going away on some day care bus. They like that I volunteer at the school and that I attend all their class functions. They like that I stay home with them during the summers and I don’t ship them off to some day care disguised as a day camp. They like that I’m the one that does their homework with them and not some teenager at some aftercare being paid minimum wage, like some of their friends. They just LIKE me being there. They remember when I wasn’t, in particular, my eldest. I don’t think I’m damaging them. I think I’m RAISING them. I think I am providing stability. I’m a damn smart woman and I am encouraging them to use their intelligence and working to get them to think on higher levels.

I am not dismissing or belittling those women who must work for pay and be mothers. Let me tell you, those women are beat and it is hard. They worry about their kids, they worry about their jobs and every single mother I know that is working for pay, has made this decision based on outlying circumstances, whether it be financial or some other reason. I don’t want anyone to think I sit atop an Ivory Tower passing judgment on those who do not do what I do. I don’t feel that way. This was my CHOICE and it was the best for MY family.

I find so much of what this woman, Gretchen, says to be hurtful, unsubstantiated and untrue. Yet, she is a professor at a major State institution and she is teaching this to young people, young women. She is teaching this to women who one day may want to be a stay at home Mom, yet are now ashamed by that thought.

  • She thinks that by us women staying home that our husbands are denied the chance to be good fathers. What type of fathers is she talking about? My husband bathes my children. He is up with me when they are sick (although I prefer to do it alone since he has to function the next day). He plays ball with them outside and LOVES taking them to the mall. Once a week he takes them to dinner when I train Karate, a boys’ night out. He loves being a father. What am I denying him? He is doing all he would do if I was working.

  • We lose out by staying home? I think not. I did that rat race, thank you very much. Guess what I realized when I got laid off? I was easily replaced. I worked hundreds of hours of overtime, worrying about my military customer. I was replaced when they closed the plant, and very easily. Employees are expendable, Moms are not. That lay off hammered that home. As for not giving to the broader community, what stay at home Moms is she talking about? All the stay at home Moms I know volunteer too, whether it be to their kid’s schools, the American Cancer Society, Junior League, the local VA center, or their church, to name a few. Who is Gretchen to decide where our Volunteer hours count most? Who is she to deem what is important and what is not? I know plenty of working parents who do no volunteer work… because they can’t. They’re too tired and rightfully so. Has Ms. Ritter forgotten how much good has been done in our society on the backs of the stay at home Moms? Perhaps she needs to dig a little deeper.

  • Full time mothering is bad for children because it teaches them we are divided by gender. Guess what, here’s a news flash,Gretchen, we are divided by gender. Last I looked in the mirror, I had two breasts and was missing a penis. I bear children. I am not muscular or hairy. I am not strong. A fact is a fact, I am not my husband. I am as smart as he, but I am not the same. I know many stay at home Dads. Is it OK for them, but not for me? Isn’t that being a bit bigoted? You would hate it if someone said that he could be an engineer, but she couldn’t. Doesn’t that run both ways for all ‘jobs’?

  • And what ‘stay at home Moms’ does she know that have no other interests outside the home? I know a bunch of stay at home Moms. Not one of them is in HER category. That’s what keeps us sane. We are runners, quilters, artists, carpenters, organizers, and volunteers. Who does she think she is to pigeon hole us? My kids are very well aware of my interests and what I did before I chose to stay home. So do all the children of the other Moms I know.
I remember when I was single, knowing that one day I would probably want to stay home and raise my kids. I remember being afraid to ever let a man know that when I was dating him, in particular dating a peer, for fear he would think I was a freak or was trying to trap him.

What in the hell has happened to our society? Quite frankly, I’m sick of people asking me when I’m going to get a real job, like what I do is not really working. I hate when I put occupation “Mom” people look at me like it’s nothing. I’m not real. I’ve become this invisible asexual entity in our society, driving a mini-van, worthy of no respect, and quite honestly, I’m pretty sick of it.

Let me tell you something, it is a damn hard job. There is no quarterly or yearly assessment telling you that you're doing a great job. It is monotonous and mindnumbing. There isn’t big brain thinking skills talking all day to children. Nobody tells you the floors look great or thank you for doing the 10 loads of laundry. But they sure as hell bitch when it isn’t done. There are no pay raises or promotions. Hell, there’s no monetary pay… except, we now qualify for an IRA or something. Thank God for small favors.

We have to seek out our positives on our own. When you’re in a restaurant and someone tells you that you have the best behaved and well mannered children they’ve ever seen, you throw it in the mental tally of positives. When a Mom calls you and tells you some kind thing your child did for their child, you throw that in that mental tally of positives. When you see one child helping a sibling, yet another mental tally. These aren’t things thrust upon us, but rather things we have to see on our own. We have to look for positive progression, even when it feels like there is none.

I started this blog as an outlet. There are days I think I am surely going insane. When things get bad, my biggest fantasy is that I get on I-95N and just drive until I hit Maine and I never come back. I live in a little cabin, all by myself, with books and music. Nobody else. Just me. (Well, maybe a conjugal visit here and there, but that’s beside the point.) That is my escape. I haven't and won't do it because it is a fantasy and I love my family, but I would lie if I said that pull to I-95N has not been strong when times have been really bad, and trust me, we have had some really bad times. I blog because it allows me to sit down every night and look at my day in its entirety and see the happiness and the laughter and the good things that have happened because sometimes, it all gets lost. And now knowing I blog at night, when little funny or wonderful things occur during the day, I make note to notice it even more.

It’s a tough job, but it is a worthy job. My Mom had this job before me, as did her Mother, and her Mother before her. And my Father’s Mom had this job, as did her Mother, and her Mother before her. I follow in a long line of strong intelligent women. It is not something I am ashamed of or regret. I am proud to say I am doing as my foremothers did before me and I only hope I can do the job as well as they did.

So to Gretchen Ritter, I say, “If I make the Lesbian Moms feel bad, screw them. And if you think I make the Working Moms feel bad… that’s their problem, not mine. The beautiful thing about the year 2004 is we women aren’t slaves to our husbands and I’m not a slave to society. We can make choices. I made mine. Too bad if you disapprove. Last I looked, I didn’t give a damn. And as I am apt to say, ‘A pox upon you and your ilk and may you rot.’ "


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:19 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

You gave me chills. That was outstanding.

As far as I'm concerned what you do is one of the most important jobs in this society. Moms and Dads are raising our future. I like the fact that at least 3 young men will have had the benefit of a full time, smart and sassy woman teaching them the way of life.

Let me just go on record as saying Thank You!

9:56 PM  
Blogger That 1 Guy said...

Wow, nice job. Very nice. I'll just sit here quietly now ... that sword worries me.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Fabulous! Society undervalues parenting about as much as it fails to protect it's children. Fantastic rant, brilliantly written!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Great post, Boudicca!

One more thing that irks me about Ritter - and about a lot of women who disagree with her - they all think they are 'giving up' ever having the chance at a career if they stay home with the kids.
Kids grow up, when they do, women are free to discover new careers they may never have imagined before the chilren were born. Moms have to have great imaginations - so we can end up in great careers after raising our great kids.

6:54 AM  
Blogger _Jon said...

Well said.
I know that it is a job I couldn't do.
Ugh, I'd be insane.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh - I feel a post coming on... from a former stay at home mom with grown kids. Hey, they're gone, life didn't end... imagine that. *grin*

-- Teresa

9:46 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Info from BugMeNot:

firstname: george
password: nopass

go ahead & update the post if you'd like.
And yes, you need all three. This page is REALLY irritating.

Anyway, Bou, I think you've got your answer as to whether this would make a good Showcase entry :-)

You might even want to put it in next week's Carnival of the Vanities, too. It'll be the 100th edition, and probably pretty well trafficked.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Done. Thanks Harvey.

My husband is really bent. I printed out the article so I could hit some key points without having to toggle and he was saying, "Who in the hell is this?" and then he went off as Italians are good at doing. :)

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a "Department of Womens Studies"? That's not a real educational discipline, and I don't take anything from anyone working in a Department of *whatever* Studies seriously.


3:08 AM  

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