For those die-hard KT fans out there, you will recall my bantering from earlier this winter about how I was a happily married wife (HMW) seeking a full-time wife (FTW). In fact, unless your memory is as bad as mine, you might even recall that I concluded that what I really want is a clone of my weekend self to get my work done during the week, so I could relax on the weekends. Doesn’t that sound grand?
Well, it is something that I continue to think about. What I have really found myself thinking lately is this – how lucky stay-at-home mom’s are that they don’t have to worry about childcare drama and stress. I realize that isn’t fair because SAHM have a different slate of things to worry about than working mom’s – and I’m really not into the whole pitting us against each other media approach. But when things get desperate, the grass is always greener, you know?
The other thing that really chaps my a** is something that isn’t fair either but I’m just telling you what I think today. I have a co-worker. He is pleasant and I have no complaints about him – and he, too, has a darling daughter who is just a bit older than mine. But what I’m always aware of is that every day is different for him because he is a working dad. And he has a full-time stay at home wife.
I don’t have a full-time stay at home wife.
I am the full-time wife. Who also works.
And so, I always find myself wondering how this makes my stress load different. Should I be given more flexibility and leeway than he is? The truth is, I need it.
He can assure me that my childcare situation will workout and everything will be fine – and remain calm while doing so – because he never has to worry about that particular crisis as long as his wife stays home. He can just get up and go to work.
I don’t have that liberty when my childcare situation is thrown into orbit, like it has been, seemingly forever now.
But we all know that when some workers are given more leeway than others, it creates workplace drama.
Think also of your co-workers who are childless. We’ve all heard stories of how they feel slighted because they stay later and travel more than those with children.
My reaction to that is – that is their decision and they aren’t dealing with the stress and responsibility of raising a child. Is it fair. Maybe not. But neither is life.
And so, what is my conclusion to all of this? My conclusion is that working dads do not carry the same kind of stress as working moms. Especially working dads with stay at home wives. My conclusion is that being a working mom is a constant struggle and the reality is – I need more workplace flexibility and leeway than everyone else. “I” includes all working moms. So – does that annoy you if you aren’t a working mom?
I don’t care.
I just ask you to remind yourself that that working mom in your office – her day is always longer and always harder than yours – so just remind yourself of that when you are pissed off that you’re burning the midnight oil and she’s home. Someday, you might find yourself in her same position and then you’ll be grateful for that other person in your office who never tried to make you feel bad for leaving early.
The American Prospect also has a very interesting article that I urge you to read:
The jist of it is that younger Americans have very progressive and realistic views on the realities of marriage and working while raising children, which surprised me. And most interesting is that those kids who came from dual working parents seem to have an overwhelmingly positive view of having two parents who work. 75% agreed that it is a best case scenario because it means more money for the family and a marriage of more equality.
I was impressed and happy to read it. We all know that KT is a guilt-free zone. So if you are a guilty working mother, then I think you’re wasting your time and energy for no reason – but the reality is also this – when your child is young like mine, they aren’t capable of giving you this sort of feed back – that they like the money that comes from you working and they respect your egalitarian marriage. So you just have to tell yourself that with enough hard work, devotion and confidence building on your part, they will grow up to feel that way. And keep reading great pieces like the American Prospect one – because it’s what you want to hear.