Today I read two different posts on the topic of parenting and working. In one, a mother addressed the question of why she would choose to work outside the home. No one has dared to ask me that directly. I have worked since I graduated from college, and that was more than 20 years ago. I’ve had a career in public relations the entire time with varying amounts of other marketing duties. I like my current job. It allows me a certain amount of flexibility in my daily routine. I can control when I travel. All things considered, it is pretty good. I’ll refer to it as my day job.
It hit me recently how much I do when I get home. Most regularly, there is meal preparation and other chores around the house. But, then I schedule all doctor and dentist appointments for my son and usually take him. I have tended to be the one to research baby/child-related matters. For example, I took tours of multiple daycare facilities and my husband went to the top two choices so we could make a decision. When our son was late in starting to speak, I had him evaluated and a speech therapist came to our home on Saturdays. Then, it transitioned to the local elementary school and I now take him once a week prior to heading to work.
My son’s birthday parties have been organized by me. One year that meant renting equipment for the backyard. This year, we went to a place that provided most of the entertainment/services and all I needed to bring was the cupcakes. I ordered those, too. I won’t list all the random other things I tackle because I think any mother recognizes that life constantly presents us with on-going demands and we just adapt.
The professional job I accepted with a written understanding of what I would do. Being a mother is uncharted territory for me and is a constantly evolving process. Why do I continue to pursue this career now that I have a son? Well, I have invested a great amount of time and effort in it to simply walk away from it. For another, I crave learning new things. I don’t know that I would be as involved in social media if not for my job. So the intellectual part is pretty significant. Finally, as a homeowner, the income is necessary. Working outside of the home does not mean I can skip my responsibilities there. It means I have less time there and double the overall workload.
The other blog was by a man who noted that he has been praised for his involvement in parenting but given that both he and his wife work, that should be expected. I think that is probably exceptional on his part. My husband absolutely participates at home. He tackles the outdoor projects like getting up on the roof to clear gutters, repairing the deck, or mowing the lawn. He installed baby gates and put together the crib and other equipment.
So here I sit doing one more thing. However, this blog is for me. It is time for me to reflect and I’m hoping it will allow me to engage with some new friends. The thing is when the week is through I usually have something left over that went unfinished that goes on my mental list of things to do for the following week. We don’t have homework yet, so what will get knocked down on the list for that?!
I’ve made different choices than most—pursuing my career first and motherhood later. Now I’m doing both. I’ll suggest that while stay-at-home mothers seem to resent the notion that they don’t work, there also seems to be a reverse discrimination toward mothers who have jobs outside. Is it possible that I am less maternal because I want to be in a work environment with other adults? I don’t think so. And I think it is reasonable to expect my husband to contribute along with me after a day at the office.
Have you ever been questioned for the decisions you have made regarding your career or motherhood? How is the division of labor in the home changing?