If you google the term “working moms” you’ll find roughly 5,410,000 results.
If you google the term “working dads”, you’ll find 365,000 results.
The top results for working dads come from articles posted as far back as 2002. The top results for working moms were created just a few days ago (and, incidentally, from the Work It, Mom! site. Go us!).
Any guesses where I’m going with this?
Why is it that Working Mom is an identity all its own, with support groups and message boards and blogs and research - and Working Dad is little more than an after thought?
Why am I conferring with my friends about finding a better work-home balance and writing blogs about my unique experiences as a mother in the workforce and explaining to teachers that no, sorry, noon on Wednesday is NOT a good time for me - and my husband is… not?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a man hater (considering I was raised with two of them, married one, and am raising another one of my own). And I understand that men love their families. I’m also aware of a growing trend for men to stay home with the kids while their wives become the primary bread winners.
But even that… is different.
A man stays home with the kids and he’s progressive and in touch with his family and oh my God how cute is that? he is so good with those kids!
A man works - and he works. He works. He has a family. The two are seperate roles, complete identities that need not interfere with each other.
A woman works and she is a working mother. She is, at all times, one as well as the other. She wears multiple hats and juggles all of her responsibilities simultaneously. She does not choose one or the other, for fear of failing at all of it, but instead insists on having it all.
Is that the problem?
Did we do this to ourselves?
Have men known all along that the secret is not in trying to have it all but in picking a ball and running with it?
Do we, as women, get stuck holding the briefcase and the backpack and the diaper bag and the grocery list because we insist that we can have handle all of it? Or do our male counterparts simply get let off the hook too easily by being expected to work or stay home?
Surely, the answer must be somewhere in between.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a spoiled brat, but I just can’t stomach the idea that I have to choose to either work or be a mom. And at the same time, it doesn’t seem right to me that parenting and housekeeping should only be a female responsibility - especially if both parents are also working to provide the family with much needed income.
Maybe it comes down to expectations. Lowering ours and raising theirs so that we can meet somwhere in the middle, in a place that is a better representation of equality and fairness and no, I’m sorry, I CANNOT DO IT ALL.
What do you think?
Do you know any “working dads”? Does it matter to you if you don’t? Do you wish, sometimes, that you were married to one?