“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” – Heraclitus
While there have been changes that make it so much easier for me to be a working mom (microwaves, meal delivery service, robotic vacuums), there are still some things we need to work on. Here is a small list of my own pet peeves that I hope to see changed.
Sports and activities and schools still function as though there is a stay at home mom in every home. After-school activities that need transportation back and forth, a one week notice that a volunteer is needed for a field trip, or the phone call that can only be returned between 2:15 and 2:45. Even more so, the entire PTA structure is based on parents who have time to volunteer. As much as I love my three children, I simply cannot be involved in any kind of official PTA. It’s all I can do to get time off when I have a four-week notice that volunteers are needed. Schools so desperately need our help now, so I hope this is figured out soon.
Clothing designers still focus on female professionals who have time/money to iron or dry clean their clothes and can stay clean all day long. They don’t make clothes for the working mom who needs to corral children out the door to school, quickly wipe off any stains from said corralling, look professional all day even after a lunchtime walk as that is the only time she can do it, then pick up and drop of kids, catch a few minutes of some games, throw all the sports supplies in the trunk, cook dinner for kids who are ‘starving’ and do one last conference call before bed. (Has anyone else noticed that all those ‘supermoms’ on TV have beautifully pressed white shirts on. No Way!) And don’t get me started on shoes!
Co-workers and others assume I am being rude when I carry my phone all day, just in case. And school staff assume I don’t care for my kids when I am in the middle of a presentation and can’t take the call. I understand the need for communication for my children but it is quite frustrating to leave an important meeting to take what I assume is an emergency school call only to be told, “don’t forget to drop off the permission slips.” And my kids assume “emergency” means ” I can’t find the remote.” Regardless of how you look at it, my phone is with me for good reason, even if my kids take advantage of it.
There are still people who believe that, because I work from home, I somehow have less important work or less work period. If I don’t answer the phone, it must be because I am folding laundry or cooking dinner. It couldn’t possibly be that I am already on the phone, or I have put my phone on do not disturb so I can actually get work done. Really! It’s not just working moms who are taking advantage of flexible work situations. The Gig Economy: 2020 Freelance Workforce Predicted To Rise To 43%. We really need to change how we view people who work from home.
Finally, it seems that in the last decade or so, ‘being busy’ has become a status symbol of sorts. There is almost a contest for who can fit more in their schedule. If you have not filled your schedule all day long with meetings or activities, you have been “doing nothing.” It is no longer considered to be a productive day if you have even 30 minutes of unscheduled time. There are actually parents in my community who think I am depriving my children because I allow them to only be in one sport at a time. Oh my! I actually make my son choose between hitting lessons and gymnastics. How awful!
Given a bit more time, I could think of a few more, but I want to hear from you. What are your pet peeves about being a working mom?