with Sara and Veronica
We're two moms with different backgrounds, jobs and points of view, writing about our opinions on the political and social issues affecting working moms. We'll also keep our eye on the media and the celebrity mom world to highlight issues that are relevant to your life.
Check out our personal blogs: Veronica's Blog and Sara's Blog
I’m half of a very traditional, mother-does-most-everything-around the home marriage. I recently tabled my career because I wanted to stay at home and do the mommy-freelancing-volunteer thing. My husband, meanwhile toils away at the office working hard to support us. I do the lion’s share of cooking, cleaning, taking care of our son. I’m lucky that we were able to make such a decision, and now I see being a mom as my main job, with everything else that I’m supposed to get done as second fiddle. And that’s ok. I expected nothing less when I left the working world.
That’s why I was intrigued by the recent New York Times article about the “equally shared parenting” movement. For me, this concept is totally out of whack. The notion that my husband and I would make lists, and charts and color code our life seems absurd. It would never work for us. And it isn’t the arrangement of 99% of the people I know. While I’m not convinced that social norms have dictated the fact that I do more laundry and dishes, I can say that leaving my job was a lot easier since the majority of my friends don’t work. We’re all living the SAHM life together.
But what about those who sign up for the equal parenting thing? Admittedly, even though I know it wouldn’t work in my household, when I read about those families for whom this concept works I got a little twinge of jealousy. I can’t imagine having my husband always being on the hook for doing the “whites” or making playdates.
Although the mantra of equal parenting is out of whack for me, I like that those involved in the concept realize this and admit that it’s not for everyone. I admire that one of the movements’ founders tries to find ways to redesign our inflexible and antiquated workplaces. However, I see the coverage and resulting discussion about it as just another way to stir up the mommy wars pot and make mothers (and fathers) continually question and fear the decisions they make about the difficult choice between balancing career and family.
The media is constantly drawing our attention to the perils of putting family before career. You never read about stay-at-home mom success stories. We only hear about the stay-at-home mom who sacrifices everything to raise her kids only to be left “vulnerable,” and in financial distress.
One of the moms in the article even admitted her fears, stating:
I was scared that if we had kids, I would be left home with the cooking, the cleaning and the children.
It makes stay-at-home motherhood seem like a wasteland of dirty laundry and hellion kids. I’m not saying being a full-time mom isn’t scary. It’s weird to think that my well-earned master’s degree is now being used to teach my son to count to 20. But six months into life as a volunteering-freelancing mommy I have no fear.
I think if equally shared parenting works for you, great. But I would hate to see people using the concept as a Band-Aid for their fears about full-time mommyhood. To those moms out there who are making excel spreadsheets about who will do the laundry next Tuesday when all you really want to be doing is reading your kid a book on the couch in the middle of the afternoon: don’t be scared. Delete the color-coded chart, and if you’re lucky enough, try your hand at being a mom in the traditional sense. It’s a whole lot better than the media portrays it to be.
Any equal parenting parents out there who think I’m out of whack?
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