And it sucks.
It’s really hard being a working mother, particularly since we have to go through 9 months carrying a child and then take at least 3 months off after the birth to recuperate and survive through the newborn stage before getting back to work.
I gave up a quarter of a million because it was a contract in another city (worth $250,000), and as a new mother, I now can’t really be away from Baby Bun for any long stretch of time until he is weaned off breast milk (6 months), and is old enough to be without his mother and main caretaker at night without being in some serious distress (right now, this is not an option, he is far too young to understand anything about working and careers.)
It’s only money… but is it wrong to feel a little sad about the situation?
I guess there will be other jobs and other contracts, but this one was confirmed that I would get it and *sigh*… it’s not easy.
Before you say anything, yes, my partner would have done the same.
He would have said no to these contracts in another city because he would have wanted to stay together as a family for at least this young tender stage, and actually, this is what he did before he took the contract that he got.
So in my particular case, it isn’t just a mother-only or female thing, but… still.
It still makes me rather sad .. or a better word for it, wistful about the whole situation.
THINKING ABOUT WORKING MOTHERS IN GENERAL
It does however, make me wonder how many mothers go through this on a regular basis, hamstringing their careers for the sake of their children, while fathers don’t seem to have to go through any kind of stigma if they have to travel 5 days a week to be away from their family.
When a child is sick, who stays home? The mother, right?
When there are two important meetings in both of their lives on the same day, at the same time when they need to go pick up their child or do something family-related, whose meeting takes precedence?
Who pinch-hits all the time?
Even when I mention to my family that I want to start working as soon as possible, my mom and my brother give me a slightly horrified look like I would even consider NOT being at home to be with Baby Bun 24/7 because I am his MOTHER.
What about his FATHER?
Why doesn’t the guy ever get this kind of horrified reaction?
“MY GOD MAN!
You want to go to WORK?
And leave your child AT HOME alone with a stranger?
Or to put him in a daycare with strangers and strange children!??”
Sure, you can tell me it’s because I’m the one providing the milk and he is used to me, bla bla bla… but really, there’s no reason why a guy shouldn’t also be lambasted for not spending more time off work to take care of a newborn growing into a baby.
Or at least, to help.
Truth be told, it’s driving me insane to only have Baby Bun as company, which is why blogging has become even more important in my life.
He’s cute and all, but is not much in way of conversation.
Plus, I also feel my brain turning to mush because I don’t have anything interesting to talk about other than what Baby Bun has done all day. Or stuff I happen to come across on the internet. Or what I’ve read recently.
ALL SOMEWHAT BORING if I cannot also insert funny anecdotes about co-workers.
WHY CAN’T FATHERS TAKE OVER?
I have been struggling with this annoying idea that mothers are the only ones who can take care of their children.
Fathers can too, babies have absolutely no preference of one parent over another, or even if it’s their parents.
They only care if the person is there for them 24/7, and it could be a nanny, a grandparent, anyone, really, just someone familiar and there for them when they need them to be.
Some guys are much better caretakers than some women.
That’s not to say I don’t think I’m a good mother. I think I’m a great mother, and I always try my best to take care of Baby Bun, but I don’t want that to be my only defining role in life, and I want to have a career and be someone other than a mother.
So to read and hear about how working mothers dealt with this in the past, having to try and be this perfect mother, sexy wife as well as fighting in the boardroom to even be acknowledged that she had a brain and should be paid as much as a man, made me feel rather sad about the whole situation.
When they got home, they couldn’t sit on the couch and say: Hey honey, what’s for dinner?
They had to change and then make dinner for everyone, and after serving as the house elf and getting everyone to go to sleep, start the laundry and do all these motherly things that they couldn’t do because they weren’t able to (or maybe because they DIDN’T BLOODY WANT TO) stay at home with their children.
Women in the past only had two roles: The Wife Of ______ or The Mother Of ______.
They were non-entities, and I don’t know about any other mother but I am not a non-entity.
Luckily, my partner is someone who cleans, cooks (he is the primary chef), and is willing to do laundry.
It isn’t so bad as before, he really does do a lot more than most modern guys, and he is aware that he has to take on extra work to help me out because I am sleep-deprived some days and unable to function beyond lying comatose beside a kicking, unable-to-nap Baby Bun.
His mother had already warned him repeatedly to help me out as much as he could, and getting a nice, ringing, REPEATED endorsement from my mother-in-law to pick up the slack and be a support to me, is fantastic.
I am not looking for pity (who does, especially if they can get a quarter of a million in a year), but I would like to hear some reassurances from other working mothers that this is normal to feel this way — to want to work and feel frustrated that you can’t.
That’s all I had to say.
(This short little rant turned into an actual post. Who woulda thunk it?)