Being a woman with a career can be challenging, any day of the week. Being a mother with a career can be really challenging, any day of the week. The demands of motherhood, coupled with the social expectation for mothers to drop everything and tend to their children, can make a working mom's life, well, um, let's just say difficult. That social expectation is (arguably) why people say things to moms about their careers, that they don't say to dads.
After having my first child (keep in mind that I'm Canadian, and we Canadian moms have it really good, what with a full year of government-sponsored maternity leave and all), I went back to my part-time retail job, eager to re-join the adult world. Sure, I loved my daughter, but when people would ask if I would rather be home with her I would look at them like they were crazy. The love I have for my kid doesn't stop me from also loving some adult interaction and brain stimulation, either.
Why does no one ever ask dads about missing their kids when they go to work?Why isn't a dad constantly asked if he's trying to, "have it all" when he returns to his career of choice? Because, in our society, dads are "supposed to" fill the role of "financial provider," while women are expected to provide in other areas. In our society, fathers are allowed to continue to be seen as complex human beings with multiple needs and numerous areas of interest, while mothers are dwindled down to "care giver," and that's it. Fathers aren't the center of endless social experiments in which children are studied by researchers to see if there are longterm benefits or drawbacks to dads working. Honestly, it's incredibly frustrating to have a mother's career choices questioned again and again and again.
It is, without question, a double standard in parenting rooted in gender inequality and blatant sexism. Times are a'changing though, (slowly, but surely) but that doesn't mean these eight things people say to moms about their careers that they don't usually say to dads, don't exist.
It Must Have Been Hard For You To Come Back To Work
I think it's challenging for any parent to leave their baby for the first few times. But it does get easier, and if you love what you do, then there's a good reason to return to work.
How Can You Concentrate? You Must Think Of Your Baby Constantly
I'm pretty sure no one ever says this to dads.
It Must Be So Hard To Leave Your Baby/Toddler With Someone Else
Well, yes. Except for the part where I get to have adult conversations. Seriously though, why is this only something that moms get asked? Because I'm pretty sure dads don't normally have to answer to this type of comment. Maybe what I really need is to be providing money for my family, or getting back to my career before I lose momentum, or any other number of things. Maybe I'm okay with leaving my child with someone else. Maybe I'm not, and you just opened a wound back up. In any case, it's none of your damn business.
How Do You Get Anything Done?
Let's see, to-do lists, help from my partner, daycare, occasionally ordering dinner in, occasionally paying for a cleaning person to help scour the things I haven't had time to clean...basically the same way other people things done, using whatever resources I can scrounge up.
Have You Ever Thought Of Being A Stay-At-Home Mom, So You Can Be With Your Kids More?
Nope. I love my kids, but staying away from doing something I love so that I can eventually resent them for taking me away from that thing isn't high on my list. You can love your children just as much when you're pursuing your career as when you're staying home with them.
How Do You Juggle Cooking And Cleaning With Your Career?
Ummm...well, actually, those are both things that men can do, too. Maybe you missed that tiny nugget of information?
Oh, You Work From Home? Do You Sell Those Wraps/Nail Stickers/Skin Care?
Listen, I have no problem with selling this stuff (just don't add me to your Facebook group without asking first), but no one would ever assume that a dad who works from home is selling it. There are other careers moms can have that don't involve going to an office. Like what I do, for instance.
Oh, You Work From Home? It Must Be Great To Be Able To Be With Your Kids!
Ahem. Have you ever tried to get anything accomplished that involves thinking when you have a toddler yanking on your pants and crying because you gave them the wrong color sippy cup? No. My kid goes to daycare so that I can work from home.