If anyone tells you it’s men who keep women down, don’t believe them.
I have now been told by three FEMALE academics at my kids’ school that any/all of the behavior problems manifested by either/both of my sons can likely be attributed to my working outside the home.
Um…hello? What year is this? I’m responsible for every ill that befalls my children because I have a career? Whatever happened to “I am woman, hear me roar?”
“Maybe if you spent more time with them…,” “I don’t want to judge, but his accidents started right around the time you went into rehearsals for your new play…,” “Well, maybe the problem has something to do with your work schedule…”
Look, I genuinely love the teachers and specialists at my boys’ school. They are talented professionals who treat my kids with love, compassion and respect. But these kinds of comments are hurtful, and way more damaging than any construction workers’ cat calls or chauvinistic boss’ demands that a female VP fetch him a cup of java in the middle of an executive meeting.
I shouldn’t have to defend my choice to work outside the home to anyone. Btw, I did notice that not one teacher has ever suggested that either of my kids’ (infrequent) less than stellar behavior has anything to do with my husband’s workaholic tendencies. No, of course not. Because it’s okay for the man to work, to have a career, to be devoted to his profession.
If all these smart, thoughtful women immediately leap to the conclusion that every issue that surfaces in the classroom is the fault of a working mother, what hope do we have of ever achieving real equality? I work hard. But I work even harder taking care of my kids, loving them, being with them, listening to them. But I don’t get credit for all of their successes and positive characteristics. I want credit for their kindness, their compassion, their off-the-charts intelligence, their creativity, humor, good grades, verbal acuity, etc…
I could go on and on. But I wont. I’ll suffice to say that it is 2010 in America and all of that mumbo jumbo we grew up with about us women having it all and not having to choose between family and career, I actually believed that. I’ve built my life around the premise that you can in fact have professional fulfillment and still be a caring, devoted mother.
Maybe you can’t have it all. But you can sure have a lot. Isn’t it time to dispense with the 1950’s June Cleaver mentality and support each other whether we choose to work outside the home or mother full time?