Working parent not working mother - Mind The Baby

Working parent not “working mother”

It’s been more than a little bit quiet on the blog here for the past few months and I apologise! I’ve a whole bunch of posts in drafts but I’ve struggled to find the time to polish them up for you.

I’ve a good reason though – I hope! I got myself a new job there a while ago which I’m just loving. It’s completely changed my lifestyle and my outlook. It’s given my career a whole new lease of life and I’m really excited about that. But it makes blogging hard. (Just joining up the dots for you there!)

The new job has exposed me to something I was fairly sheltered from in the past few years, and that I had naively thought might be on the way out. It’s this idea that I’m a “working mother” rather than just a worker. In a “won’t somebody please think of the children” kind of way. I’ve lost count now of how many people have enquired about “how I manage” with a small child at home.

Of course, it’s a perfectly reasonable question. Because as a family, we do obviously have to juggle and plan around two working parents. Which we do…very well…because we have to, like.

It’s just the number of times I am asked. It’s often enough to know that implicit in the question are two others:

  1. How can you be a (good) mother and do the job that you do, with the unpredictable hours and the regular travelling?
  2. Should you be doing the job under said circumstances?

To this, I have a number of responses but first, I’d just like to highlight how such thinking completely diminishes the role and contribution of my husband to both our family unit as a whole, and as a father. The suggestion, however well-meaning or unintentional, that he isn’t more than capable of doing an equal and, may I say excellent, job of being a parent is offensive, sexist and really at this stage now, just plain boring. Apart from anything else, my better half is a superior cook, cleaner and meal planner than me, so I’m sure the people asking the above question might well wonder what I might be bringing to the party at all.

But just to answer “how do I manage?”. For once and for all, like. Here is my response:

  • I am present here at work. Doing a good job and loving it. I get here on time. I get the job done. I leave when it’s finished. What happens before I get here and when I walk out the door, is none of your damn business.
  • Our child has two parents.
  • My male colleagues all have children. How do they manage?
  • Don’t project your own issues on me.
  • It’s 2016.

12 thoughts on “Working parent not “working mother””

  1. Assumptions about mothers needing to be “there” for the kids more than fathers do everyone a disservice – I feel very defensive of my husband when I hear about “all the men” not pulling their weight with childcare or housework (he is 50:50 on the latter, and was same on the former when we both worked full-time)
    Anyway, here’s to 2016 and all the great parents 🙂

    1. This is it exactly Office Mum. It’s the focus on only the mothers as the working parent that’s the problem, rather than the unit as a whole. I’m absolutely not saying that there aren’t women trying to juggle it all with little or no help but for a growing number of families, parenting and working are 50/50 responsibilities, like you say.

  2. I’ve worked full time for a year and also been a SAHM for a year and you really can’t win. All you can do is what’s right for you. Some people will judge you whatever you do. Congrats on the new job btw!

  3. I know exactly what you mean, my husband usually works evenings/ night so is free to have our toddler during the day, while I am at work. We both share the rearing of our child and I wouldn’t have it any other way – except maybe some more couple time!

  4. Congrats on the new job.

    The “working mother” stuff is wearing; and buoyed up by too many self-defeating sources to name on a bank holiday when I’m duty-bound to scoff the remnants of chocolate. All part of the burden of responsibility.

What do you think?