Hi! If you’re dropping in from Mamapedia, I’m looking forward to meeting you, so please come by and see me here: http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum/. And come see me even if you’re not from Mamapedia, cause I want to see you too.
For the next while I will be blogging for the Seattle PI (Post Intelligencer, for you out-of-towners). Same stuff, just fancier housing, so please come check it out! http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum/
5 p.m. – two gin and tonics.
5:15 p.m. – set of children’s books and puzzle.
5:45 p.m. – two gin and tonics.
6:00 p.m. – antique necklace, cookbook.
6:15 p.m. – beer and glass of white wine.
6:30 p.m. – babysitting for a year, golden raffle ticket.
7:00 p.m. – two glass of white wine.
7:15 p.m. – chef prepared Superbowl brunch and mimosas for twenty guests.
7:30 p.m. – trip for four to… nope. bid card confiscated.
Thanks to the lovely, big hearted folks who came out and supported Childhaven with us on Monday night.
Mama’s off to get tipsy and buy cool stuff she doesn’t need for the very best of reasons. If you can, give a moment to find out more about Childhaven: www.childhaven.org.
Re: I hate you.
Dear Sir or Ma’am,
Please provide me with your address so when my kids wake up at 5 a.m. for the fifth morning in a row, I can send them to your house to watch Sponge Bob and jump on the bed.
My favorite new (to me) novelist is Allison Pearson. I am currently devouring her book from 2002, the chick-litish I Don’t Know How She Does it. (Quick aside here on the ridiculously undervalued category of chick lit, which seems to be the home of any smart, funny, and adept woman writer that chooses to write about, well, women). Pearson talks about the paradox of being a working mother in a world where it is still accepted that the home is the woman’s domain. (Having recently discussed this very same real life conundrum with an extremely overworked and raw-nerved friend, this topic is top of mind for me.) Pearson reports that the working mother in the still largely male worlds of finance and law is expected to demonstrate that her children come a distant second to her job. She must be available to her job twenty-four hours a day, ready to travel at a moment’s notice. While a male colleague can be unavailable for an appropriately “male” reason (read – car trouble/sports/liquid “client meeting”), any show of weakness or inflexibility (read – children’s illness/child care deficiencies) by the working mother is queried. Family and diversity friendly policies are in place to reflect well on the company, Pearson implies, not to actually be exercised by working mothers. If she does choose to take advantage of a family friendly policy, the working mother may find her more lucrative accounts and clients being given to colleagues, and her career track blocked. The working mother’s commitment to her job may be called into question when she has more children; while, says Pearson, the working father is never asked how he will “manage to juggle career and fatherhood.”
At home, according to Pearson, the working mother is still expected to do most of household management, to cook and clean, to arrange child care and to be the one who steps in when child care falls through, to attend the parent teacher interviews, pack the kids’ lunches, arrange the doctor’s appointments, remember the occasions and buy the gifts for her family and his, ad infinitum. The working father on the other hand is awarded a Nobel laureate if he happens to make the occasional swim meet or cook a meatloaf.
As a mother who works part-time from home, I don’t have first hand access to this set-up. I wonder if I am absurdly sheltered. My husband and I have what I consider to be a reasonably equitable division of house and child labor (to be clear – we are against actual child labor, until the kids are at least eight). However, I am learning that I take for granted things that other mothers and wives don’t expect, like that my husband will occasionally watch his own children and wash his own socks. It’s a reasonable, functional partnership.
Is mine really such an unusual state of affairs in the home? And was I naïve in assuming that most workplaces nowadays are, aside from the occasional backslide, reasonably respectful of family and equality? Pearson’s book fascinates and upsets me, but mostly it’s raw and really funny. Is it accurate? What do you think? I would love to hear how you feel the division of labor shakes out in your home; and what it is like for the working mother outside of hers.
Check out Allison Pearson here: http://www.meettheauthor.co.uk/bookbites/337.html
Up until very recently, I was a full time stay-at-home-mother to my two boys. At the beginning of September, my two-year old joined my four-year old at daycare three days a week, and I took on some freelance writing projects. I discussed this (for me, quite dramatic) change with the kids, and they seemed to take it very much in stride. Jack even said to his father – who has worked a sixty-ish hour week Jack’s whole life – “Daddy, you only grew up to be a Daddy, but Mommy is a Mommy and a writer. Didn’t you want to be anything else?”
However, for the past two weeks, the kids have been sick and barred from daycare until a notary swears that they are no longer infectious, and I, having committed to a few articles, have been on the computer for a couple of snatched hours each day. The kids have been left to entertain/annoy each other, more so than usual. Today, when I explained that I had to do just a few more minutes of work before we carved our pumpkin, Jack yelled, “I wish you never got a job,” and burst into tears.
I suppose that it’s easier for kids to accept when parents have “always” been working. I know it’s good for the kids to see me as an individual with interests other than themselves. It’s a positive change, and we’ll all adjust. But my heart still has a stomach-ache.