I've always known that I would be a working mom (and by "working" I mean working outside of the home, because I'm well aware that every single parent is
always working, even if they're not getting paid for it). I've had a job since I was 16, so earning my own money has been an innate part of my life for a long time. What I didn't know is that choosing to be a "working mom" would mean answering questions about my career after kids that no grown-ass woman would be remotely interested answering. I'm talking intrusive, condescending and just downright ridiculous questions that, well, men aren't necessarily asked to answer.
Like, it's 2016, so why is the notion of a mother having a career outside of her home (and other aspirations beyond her hopes for her children) still cause for endless questions or a topic for debate?
Becoming a mother doesn't strip a woman of her personality or dreams or goals or the many other, multifaceted parts of herself that make her who she is as an individual. Very few men are treated like dehumanized procreators after they've spawned a child, so why do we continue to focus on women who return to work and ask them, "How do you do it?" or, "I can't imagine what that must be like," or, "Are you trying to have it all?"
I'm beyond exhausted by constantly having to
justify my decision to have a career while also having kids, as I'm sure many other women are, too. I'm sure we could all go the rest of our lives without having to answer the following ten questions ever again. "Don't You Miss Your Kids?"
Asking this questions implies that there's something wrong with a woman's thinking if she is willingly spending time away from her kids. I mean, do I miss my kids from time to time when I'm not with them? Sure, but I also enjoy the daily interactions with other adults that don't involve having to wipe someone's back side or arguing about the sounds that various farm animals make. I love my kids, as I'm sure
every mom does, but I also love my independence and working while they're away doesn't mean that I love them any less. "Do You Ever Get To Spend Time With Your Kids?"
No, we're basically perfect strangers. Who is this person that keeps asking me for chocolate milk anyway?
Puh-lease! Of course I get to spend time with my kids. Maybe it's not every waking hour, but it's plenty of time for us both to get annoyed by one another and for me to be reminded to take my birth control. "How Does Your Partner Feel About You Working?"
Well, this decision wasn't really up to my partner. We make decisions as a family, sure, but we are not defined by one another nor do we make decisions for one another. We both have careers and we're both completely in support of one another. Thankfully, my husband doesn't carry the same dated mysogynistic presumptions that imply that women are only meant to be housewives (nothing wrong with
being a housewife, but we've got choices now). "Aren't You Worried That Your Kids Will Feel Abandoned?"
Again, this is an implication that having a career and allowing my kids to attend daycare somehow makes me less of a loving mother. So, you know, just don't ask this
ever. It makes a woman feel like she's undeserving of her children's love by implying that she's "abandoned" them when really she is just being a human being with multiple interests and goals and life-aspirations. "Who Makes Supper?"
Um, the supper fairy, obviously.
"Who Takes Care Of The House While You're Working?"
Well, the house pretty much just sits there and doesn't implode all on its own while I'm at work.
really? I love having a squeaky clean house just as much as any OCD mother, but I understand that there are more important things in life than sparkling clean toilets and unfolded laundry. Also, I have a parenting partner who partakes in all of the parenting responsibilities (and adult responsibilities) up to and including taking care of our home. Asking this question implies that household chores are solely a woman's responsibility and, if the woman isn't around her house at all hours of the day to tend to it well, then, like, who in the world is there left to clean and cook and do laundry? I'll give you a hint: everyone else who lives in that house. "Do You Feel Guilty For Leaving Your Kids With Someone Else?"
The answer to this one is actually tricky because, yes, I
do feel guilty sometimes, but it's not because I should. I feel guilty because so many people imply that that's the way I should feel for taking my kids to daycare while I get my work done. This isn't necessarily something that's my problem, but rather the problem of a society that assumes a woman has her priorities confused if she's working instead of staying at home with her children.
Also, does anyone ever ask the dads out there if they feel guilty for working while their kids are in the care of someone else? Nope. Right, so this sexist remark can go in the dump along with all the other underhanded and presumptive statements about a woman's choice to have a career because I will
never answer it again. "Aren't You Exhausted All The Time?"
There's really nothing offensive about this question. It is, however, a rhetorical one because
every mom is exhausted. "Are You Worried About What's Going On With Your Kid At Day Care While You're At Work?"
Of course I worry about my kids. Every hour of every day I worry about them, but that's because
I'm a mom and that's what we do. Having a career doesn't make me worry about them any more or and less than I would if I were the one taking care of them every day at home. As a mom, I'm always going to worry about my kids and working while they're away doesn't change that, it just changes the focus of my worries. For example, I worry about bullies from time to time while they're away, but if they were at home with me I'd be worried about them not becoming socialized. I'll always be worried about something but my career won't change that. "Do You Have To Work?"
Whether or not a woman has to work is really none of anyone else's business. Some women don't have to work in order to get by financially, but some women do and both circumstances are deeply personal and not something that should be questioned by others.
As for the women that
do have a choice and still decide to pursue a career, their motives are doubly questioned because people still assume that no woman would ever possibly choose to be away from her children. This is sad and untrue, and it again implies that women are prioritizing their paychecks above their children.