Working Mother

What I need to be a successful working mom

At some point in every day, I find myself thinking, “Oh, I wish I had…” Usually, it involves a clone of myself, but, since that is not quite possible, there are some other things that find their way on my wish list as well.

Automatic, programmable everything! We already have robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, as well as smart devices for our homes. It’s getting closer and closer every day to an episode of “The Jetsons.”

It would also be handy if I had a little machine that could swoop through the house both morning and night, toss everything into a garbage bag, and keep it in a safe spot for a week. If no one goes looking for what is in that bag, it can be thrown out.

An automatic laundry machine would be great, too. Not just to put it in the machine and change machines, but to take it out, fold it, and put it in its proper place. Oh, and if it could scold the kids for tossing clean clothes on the floor, that would be a bonus!

Supportive clients and co-workers! Juggling both work and home responsibilities is hard enough without the judgement of others. I will go out on a limb and say that this applies to everyone, regardless of their need for that support.

For every terrific person who understands that the meeting cannot go past 4:30 p.m., there is another person who schedules a meeting at 5 p.m. For every person who respects that I schedule a break at 2:30 p.m. every day to check on my children after school, there is another person who rolls their eyes and asks, “can’t you miss it just this once?”

Support also need to come from the home front. Support in terms of the entire family pitching in to take care of the home tasks. Support in terms of friends and family who step up to help during the occasional work crunch. And support in terms of respecting me as a working mom, or stay at home mom, or non-PTA mom, or the mom who needs a break from everyone.

Fair pay! There, I said it! Everyone deserves fair pay for the work they are doing. When I say ‘fair,’ not only do I mean between two people whose only difference is their genitals, I also mean between two people whose difference is skin tone, religion, culture, ability/disability, and so on.

We have made great strides in this area, but I’m going to push people out of their comfort zones and say its not enough! According to an article in AAUW,

Did you know that in 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent? At the rate of change between 1960 and 2016, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059. But even that slow progress has stalled in recent years. If change continues at the slower rate seen since 2001, women will not reach pay equity with men until 2119.

WHAT?!?!? At this rate, my children’s children could still be fighting for this right! Not only are women being paid less for the same work, they still have to go home at night to their other “job.” And recent research shows that, while men have started to contribute more, women still are responsible for the bulk of the home tasks, as well as the mental load of caring for home and children. We get less pay during our actual jobs and NO pay for the jobs we do after we go home from the first job.

Respect as a working mom We’ve seen the statistics about the call back rate for women and stay at home moms returning to work and it is dismally low for reasons I fail to understand and respect. (See my post here.) We’ve also seen research that states that women, and working moms, are often overlooked for promotions or special projects. We’ve all heard and seen the backlash from co-workers who think we are “prissy” because we avoid water cooler talk or 3-hour pointless meetings.

Outside of work, we’ve seen the commercials that set unrealistic expectations for the “perfect family” that looks nothing like our own. We’ve heard the messages about how awful we are if we let our child watch TV or eat fast food. We’ve heard the comments about being the mom who never signs up to chaperone class trips.

What I know is that being a working mom is tough but it is a labor of love. About 25 million of us working moms (with children under 18) are doing it every day. There’s a good chance you are working with other working moms, so give each other a hug or high five and congratulate each other for surviving every day.

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