I read a post the other day about work-outside-the-home moms, and how friggin’ hard it can be (duh), and how asking someone how she “does it all” can be a really awkward question to field.
I don’t know why. The answer is obviously “artificial nanite enhancement”.
While I can definitely sympathize with some of the woes (I get to be the primary earner AND do most of the housework? Yay!), I haven’t actually worked outside of the home full time since my son was born. I got my years’ maternity leave, because Canada rocks, and then I went back to work part-time. I bumped it up to four full days a week a little while later. But that 5th day, I just couldn’t do it. I needed that day, to actually hang out together as a family, to maybe go to the gym and do some writing. Though it was sometimes a financial struggle, it was my own way of keeping the mythical work-life Balance.
Which, by the way, everybody claims to be an advocate for, and says they totally understand and respect that things get left undone for the sake of Balance. But the reaction I invariably got when I told people I only worked Tuesday to Friday was this:
“Oh!” (haughty sniff) “THAT must be nice.”
The implication being that I am somehow failing to “do it all”. Clearly I must be living a life of privilege.
It was usually at that point that I elected not to inform them that we had house cleaners, too.
With the new job, I’ll finally be back to working a full week. My mother has even bequeathed me her collection of Working Woman silk scarves from her own corporate days. (I was disappointed – I thought they were a standard-issue perk from the Corporate World. I didn’t know you had to provide your own.)
(It sounds like a momentous occasion, this passing of the accessories, but the job is not that corporate. I think my Mom just likes to get rid of her stuff.)
I am totally fine with the return to the full-time hours, by the way. It’s time. My kid needs the routine of daycare, and I need something that I can immerse myself in and be passionate about. I just hope I don’t become one of those people who rolls their eyes when they encounter someone lucky enough to be forging their own mythical Balance.
And I’m going to have to hire the cleaners back.