And by ALL, I mean, ALL the laundry in the free world. All of the weird food issues that combine into mom makng multiple lunches AND dinners each night. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m not supposed to make multiple meals. I’m supposed to make one meal and to heck with those who don’t want to eat it. But… no. One of my kids is gluten-free, I am decidedly NOT gluten-free, sometimes I feel like something that nobody else wants to eat, and My Chemical Romance likes fish. Plus I rarely do the dishes; that is a chore that falls squarely into the realm of ANYONE BUT MOM. So it’s almost easier to make 12 itty-bitty meals than one giant meal that only I will eat.
An old friend — like, a friend from elementary school — posted a facebook link to an article about Women Having it All (Or Not) from Atlantic magazine. Which, in case you’ve never read an article by Atlantic, requires an investment of approximately four hours to read, because it has so many words. And also, lots of huge words. This particular article explored exactly HOW women have it all (or don’t). The answer is, they really don’t.
- As much as society claims to value families, corporations really want worker bees. And you can’t be an effective worker-bee if you have priorities other than your job.
- Taking time off for maternity leave, or leave because of a child’s health issue (or any issue relating to children), derails a woman’s ascent in the corporate world (because of the above bullet point).
- Apparently the option to go back to work/school after your children grow up only exists on television, for example, Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife (and she’s pretty dubious, ethically speaking, amirite?!?!?)
- A “good” work situation is one in which a woman is able to be home with her children between the hours of 6pm-8pm.
- There is no good time to have a baby. When you’re younger, you don’t have the resources (financially) to have a baby, and also you might have a horrible partner, since choosing a life-partner at a young age is always a bad plan. If you wait til you’re older and have more money and a better life partner, the younger women — or the men of various ages — will steal your job while you’re gone, and you’ll have to start back at the beginning.
- Caring for a family is not seen as ambitious or meaningful.
Wow, that’s just a suck.
*** The author mentions that she is speaking about, and to, upper middle class, educated women (and above). I have no idea what In-N-Out Burger’s policy is about families, officially or unofficially.***
Even though I’m a professional stay-at-home mom, this article disturbs me. Being a stay-at-home-mom is a crapshoot; I am entirely dependent, financially, on My Chemical Romance and his job. When he was downsized and out of work, we had serious problems. When his company started having financial difficulties, we ended up moving to Arizona, which was the first step in leaving San Diego, and all of My Chemical Romance’s family. And of course we loved Charlotte, but had to move to Raleigh because he thought his company was going to restructure. I support him, but what happens to our family — and, practically speaking, WHERE WE LIVE — is totally out of my control.
I was hoping that my working sisters had it better. Seems like they do not. For as much as I can keep track of what’s happening in my own family, pay attention to the emotional currents, keep tabs on who is doing what and when, working moms seem to miss that. They may have the financial independence, they may have the ability to converse with other adult human beings, they are in control of where they live, but they are missing their children.
The article in Atlantic continues with what HAS TO CHANGE in order for women to have it all. School hours have to unite with work hours so parents don’t miss too much. Equal opportunities — not just for women, but for everyone! — for leaving work, or having flex-time. Weekends away from work, under all circumstances.
I do not think women can have it all. I think women just have to accept what they have/don’t have, and make the best of it for their families and themselves.