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…Hear me roar

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?

About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Oklahoma City with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

8 responses to “…Hear me roar

  1. Debbie Popiel White ⋅

    You knew I had to weigh in on this, right? I can certainly show you many studies that prove the exact opposite of what these educators are claiming. Working mothers create positive role models for their children by a. being happier people, b. contributing to their community and household and c. proving to their female children that they don’t have to grow up to marry doctors and lawyers that they can in fact be those doctors and lawyers themselves and to boys that anything a boy can do a girl can do. (I want to stick my tongue out at this point so please forgive me.) I am astonished that these female educators would supplement their probable guilt over their choices by projecting it onto you. Here’s an idea instead of placing blame let’s talk about how together we can assist in raising our children to be successful human beings, accepting responsibility for their actions and supporting each other. This is one of the huge problems we have in society; women not supporting women. You never hear a bunch of men sitting around saying to each other, “Gee if only I was home more maybe my kids wouldn’t, fill in the blank.” Or “You know Bob you really should cut back at the office.” Trust me ladies we feel enough of our own guilt over trying to juggle it all, house, career, children and oh yeah we have to look great while we’re doing all that too, so we really don’t need you to remind us of all the things that are actually our fault. I am the director of a school and I speak with parents everyday who struggle over their choices. My job? Support them, give them the resources they need to make healthy choices for themselves and their family and love their children when they are at work. Can I replace their mom while she’s at the office or on stage? Certainly not but they won’t ever hear from me, “Maybe if mommy worked less you’d have less accidents.” Thanks for sharing this and giving us working moms a venue in what is this? Oh yes, the 21st century!


    • gettrich ⋅

      Ah, my friend, you do say things beautifully. Parents are lucky to have you watching their kids every day and watching their backs as they struggle to do it all out there in the wide world. Thanks much for writing!


  2. Andi ⋅

    So that’s why the prison’s are so full of criminals, it’s their mom’s fault!!!! I was just wondering the other day why I had three awesome adult children who are productive citizens in their community. Guess I just got lucky Debra that the day care providers I had did a great job raising my children while I was out working. Obivously it had nothing to do with mine or their father’s care in the home!!


  3. mack Burly ⋅

    Yeah, babe, my wife just ran down to the store to get me some more beer so I thought I’d take a minute and write. That’s BS what your kid’s ahem, “specialist” (what exactly is that anyway) had to say. Broads like you who have other stuff going on outside the home should not be blamed for their kid’s problems at school. My wife works, does all the shopping, cleaning and cooking and still has time to take care of our five kids (ages 3 to seven), including weekly meetings with our eldest child’s probation officer. I got a feeling that this “specialist” is a real bowser with no kids of her own, Am I right? Well, just wanted to say, don’t compromise because, as my wife proves every day, a broad can do it all and still have it all. Geez, I hope my wife gets back with that beer pretty soon. I smell somethin burning on the stove.


  4. Hey, wait a minute. Don’t those “academic women” work too?!!!


  5. Haley ⋅

    I’m an educator and I would never talk to a parent that way! I know how hard it is to work to support my small family of two. I can’t imagine how I’ll find the energy when I have my own child to raise, on top of working in my chosen profession. Perhaps your energetic boys are just bored with whatever activity they have to do in class. Your boys are extremely blessed to have two amazing parents that care about them and are able to provide for them.


  6. Chasha

    These people are very out of touch with the reality of modern life. As an educator myself, I couldn’t imagine myself nor my collegues thinking that let alone saying it to a parent. The reality of modern life is that the adults work. And most teachers are very aware of this, as they themselves have careers, and most will tell you they feel like they spend more time with their students than with their own sons or daughters. Quality time is what is more important, as well as the praise to criticism ratio.


  7. grafixnews ⋅



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