Every day we make judgments (admit it, we do). These judgments can depend on many things: body type, where a person lives, what kind of car you drive, a tone of voice, etc. As an only child and a girl who accompanied her father to football practice, these judgments started early. In college, a female Chemistry major is (somewhat) of a rarity, so again, more judgments. By the time law school finished, I thought I had accepted most of what people had to say. But then, becoming a mom, and a working mom, no less, the “comments” started coming out of the woodwork. So, maybe because I just feel like venting or am feeling feisty, I am going to “debunk” or explain some of them:
1. “She must not love/care about her children enough to stay at home with them.” This is the one that bothers me the most. I am not here to debate working vs. stay at home mom merits here. However, because I made the choice to work does not mean I do not love my children. Period. End of Discussion.
2. “Since she is a working mom, she gets easier hours at work.” I wish! I realize my schedule is simpler than most, because I work in-house. However, I still have conference calls, meetings, presentations, etc. to attend and bosses to make happy. Now, I am not at work at the crack of dawn because I have to drop my girls off at daycare/school and I leave “early” to pick them up. But I typically eat lunch at my desk and can be seen lugging my laptop home at night. I concede that I am lucky to have “flexible” hours, but that means you may see an email from me at 11 PM.
3. “Because she earns a paycheck, she can afford anything her kids want (or her kids are spoiled).” Yes, both my hubby and I “bring home the bacon.” However, this does not mean A n’ B are wearing Burberry jumpers or have Louis Vuitton backpacks. We budget, pay the mortgage, bills, and save for college and retirement. Yes, A n’ B have the Sketchers Twinkle Toes, but only from Grandma for a birthday present (after gift cards, coupons and the BOGO ½ offer). And Mommy and Daddy continue to drive an 11 year old Honda Civic. Every family makes choices for items they want or need, and I spoil my children when I can.
4. “She won’t be making VP by 33 since she has kids.” Yep, you are probably right – I won’t be climbing the corporate ladder anytime soon. Prior to having my girls, I was ambitious. I could stay late at work and hit up the work networking function after that. I could work all weekend on research or presentations and be ready for Monday morning, asking for more opportunities. Now my priorities have changed. I will leave work with 20 emails in my inbox, in order to make it to swimming lessons. (The emails will get answered, just maybe at 10 PM).
5. “She must be completely organized” HA! I do have lists, bulletin boards and a BlackBerry for personal use, but I am pretty much just winging it. And if you ever see my house…
I am sure there are more stereotypes, both good and bad, for working moms. It’s just that this morning, this is what you get. Sorry – with sick kids and my in-laws coming – this mommy is exhausted and cranky!