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11/14/12

i still have rage.


Nod of acknowledgement.

This post brought to you by the stream of consciousness style thinking that comes from lots of unstructured time, sleeping infants, and big bird, who is still employed.

I've been thinking a lot about my plans for next year, since my place of employment is hiring soon, and I need to decide if I want my full-time job back, or if I want to keep kicking it part time. SPOILER: I'm leaning towards full time.There are lots and lots of factors in the decision, (a big one is the issue that I feel like I work 3/4 time, but only get paid 1/2 time, so might as well step it up...) but one little factor is the realization that I really like structured time. Maybe it is the ADD Adderall-junkie in me, or maybe it's just a totally normal personal preference, but I really like knowing what I am doing at any given moment during my work day. 10:43? I will be teaching 6th period. Every time. 1:49? I will be teaching 8th period. 9:18? I will be frantically running to pee between classes.

I always know I am going to be productive as hell (educating approximately 40 members of America's future, AT THE SAME TIME,) and that makes me happy. Plus, when I get home, I know how to deal with the unstructured time I have left. It's a good balance that works for me. So sometimes when I have a whole chunk of unstructured time I start to freak out. Consequently, you find yourself reading navel gazing blog posts, and wondering if this post has a point. Probably does not.

Anyway, I was discussing my work-life options with my friend, Gurr, who, incidentally, has offered me much sage advice over the years.(Today's fat pictures are tomorrow's skinny pictures, namely.) Gurr suggested that whatever I do, resist the inclination to explain my hours to people. It is none of their damn business.

Dude, I currently do this all the time and I should stop:

Random: "What do you do?"

Me: "Well I teach in a  High School."

Random: "Oh, who watches the baby?"

Me: "The daycare at my school, but I only teach every other day, and we have lots of days off for Holidays and stuff, and summer vacation, which also gave me a really long maternity leave and yada yada yada I'm a good mom please don't think I am shirking my divinely-granted super special motherhood duties that make me waaaay spiritual but don't allow me to hold the Priesthood in my own church I promise I nurture the hell out of my kid.........bitch slaps self."

Sometimes, much to my chagrin (at myself, mostly,) the person responds with a "How nice! Teaching is such a great Mom job!" And I nod and smile and inwardly berate myself for throwing all my fellow sisters under the bus, because all jobs are good Mom jobs. But the same segment of society that taught me to justify my hours to prove my worth as a parent teaches people that it is okay for women to work as long as it isn't too much, or falls within the realm of "taking care of small children or the infirm." No one says being a Senator is a great Mom job, but Chelsea Clinton turned out all right.

One time someone told me I had to cut down or quit working because "once you bring children into your home you have to be around to raise them." Oh shove it. There is a big difference between someone watching my kid during the day while I work, and raising them. Likewise, I really hate the people who imply that since "Women can't have it all" I should either a.) not have kids at all, or b.) have kids but not work. I hate that this is a "woman" issue (no one tells Men they can't have it all,) and somehow the fault of feminism. Oh, feminism failed because no one managed to steal that time-changer thing from Hermione that lets you do a million things at once. Wrong. Feminism granted women (and men) the ability to create a work-life balance that suits their needs as individuals. I feel like I will get flack for this, but no one can have "it all" and that is okay. Ideally, and what feminists are still working towards, what you can have is a job you like and a family you love and thousands of choices. So stop whining about not being able to be an astronaut doctor fairy princess SAHM and get to work.


I also hate the above comment regarding raising children because no one tells this to the person who contributed the other 50% of said child's DNA. We simply do not berate men for working, or expect them to rationalize their hours to prove their worth as a parent. "Oh, I'm an investment banker, but I get two weeks off for paternity leave when my wife pops out a kid, and I have some vacation time here and there, I promise I'm a good Dad." Said no one ever.

Mitt Romney's experience working a zillion hours a week at Bain supposedly rendered him capable to save the mothereffing free-world from a fiscal cliff of death, but people wonder if Marissa Mayer is a good Mom, and want her to justify her hours running Yahoo. It's a messed up world guys.

(Don't even get me started on the SAHM's are full-time Moms and the rest of us are part-time parents because I will end you right here on the floor.)

So whether or not I go back full-time, I am not justifying my hours anymore. Consider it an informal social experiment: In regards to my career, I'm not going to do things that men aren't expected to do. So no justifying hours, or calling things "Mom jobs" or acting all apologetic for working hard. Bam. World peace.

Well, this was a bit of a rant. (I congratulated myself recently for mellowing out, and being less cranky in my advanced age, but clearly I was fooling myself.)

Don't let the door of my feminist rage hit your bum on the way out.

Also:


40 comments:

Kourtney said...

I don't always agree with your views, but I like reading other people's perspectives, even if I disagree. This post, however, I totally get. I have 1 daughter and 1 baby on the way and I work full time. It's hard not to feel like crap for not being home full time, but at the same time I feel that me working is a huge benefit to our family right now. I probably can't do it forever (maybe not after baby #2... don't know) so I'm going to enjoy it while I can. Because you know what? Not only do I kind of need to work to help support our family, I actually really like it. Reading your post today made me feel like it's okay to feel that way so thanks!

Amber said...

Dear SCB,
Remind me to squeeze your guts out the next time I see you. Seriously. LOVE this. LOVE.

Risa said...

I have been ranting about this since I had my first almost 12 years ago. I'm just really sarcastic when someone asks me who is watching my kid(s) when I'm at work. I say, "no one. We're letting them be raised by wolves." If you don't ask my husband those questions, it's not appropriate to ask me them. My childcare choices or employment choices are none of anyone's business and unless their funding my life, they can STH(ell)U.

neil282828 said...

It must be exhausting making mountains out of molehills constantly. You’d save a lot frustration if you cut people the same slack you expect.

Sandy said...

This is excellent. Whenever I tell people I'm having a kid, I am quick to say, "my husband will be staying home with the baby." This is partly because I want to banish the idea that only women can be stay at home parents, which is good. But it's also partly because I want to make sure no one gets it in their head that I'm going to quit (or even go part time) or think I'm (gasp) going to use childcare, which is bad. You're right to ask if the men are doing it, and if they're not, then don't do it. I've never heard a man follow up a baby announcement at the office with a "don't worry my wife is staying home."

Sandy said...

Also, back off Neil. This is not a small issue for many working women.

Natalie said...

I so agree. I am just ending my maternity leave with my third child. I want to go back to work. I need to go back to work for my mental health. But I always feel like I need to justify. Yes I work full time but my job is super flexible. But really it isn't anybody's business.

Ashley said...

Bam. World Peace.

Love you.

Shan said...

Do you watch Grey's Anatomy? I loved it last week. Meredith is doing her kid at Callie's and she makes a face at the door. Callie sees it and says "No, no. Don't do that. You work. That's good. It's good for her to see you work. See? Mommy works! That's good!" We shouldn't feel guilty and we shouldn't have to justify anything. Call me when my kid actually has an issue due to our working outside the home, then you can ask me about my life. More than likely, she'll be fine and we won't have any such conversation. Love this post!

Shan said...

Stupid phone. Dropping her kid, but doing her kid.

Kaylie Astin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

@ Neil, you sure do have a lot of time to leave comments on things you don't care about. You even made yourself a fancy shmancy anonymous profile today. Cute. Who was watching your kids while this happened? Does your wife know about this?


Me? I'm doing just fine. I'm not exhausted yet. I'm just getting started. Because this is important to me, and to my kid, and you don't get to cowardly creep on the internet under the guise of anonymity and tell me what I can and cannot care about.

You now what I think of anonymous male commenters telling me what to care about? I think they have tiny molehills they wish were mountains, because maybe they'd have the balls to say things to my face.

Now go home and let the grown ups talk.

Imogen said...

I love you.

MamaBear said...

Every post, I want to just pop in and say "I love you more today than yesterday." How can someone I've never met say so much of what is inside of me?

MY husband works full-time and I'm in school so I can return to working full-time. He has a good job, but it's not enough to support teens. However, I do NOT live in Utah, and get few judgmental idiot comments. Also, my youngest just started kindergarten. I'm blessed not to live in Utah - but it was a choice. I used to.

So. LOVE. You may safely assume this response to all future posts.

Colt said...

My mother worked. I spent time with relatives, I turned out awesome.

My cousins whose parents who didn't work due to making a small fortune in Amway have never been able to hold down a job.

Seeing my mother get up and go to work every day taught me the value of having a job and that having a career was important. It showed me that women are cable of doing anything a man can do. I never doubted her love for me, her care in my raising and that she made sure to value the time we did have together. I honestly believe I learned as much or watching my mother go to work as if she had been there with me while I watched Sesame Street.

Tori said...

My husband is a stay at home dad. I constantly feel like I have to apologize for it. Sorry I make more money. Sorry I don't have the temperment to chase after a one year old all day. Sorry my daycare lady stopped watching kids. Sorry my daughter had a brain injury and now needs therapy 4x a month and someone to work with her during the day. Sorry I am not a "full time mom" in your eyes. That term makes me angry with rage.

Sandy said...

I have another comment. Another justification that I hear working women in the LDS church make is that the prophets have said that it's okay for women to work if their families have "special circumstances." Women who work do not hesitate to point to this bit of prophetic counsel in defense of their decisions. I also hear them say all the time that they've received personal revelation that God is okay with their family's decisions. I think this is all well and good. But why do we feel the need to defend what is a pretty common decision on religious grounds? I know I use the "special circumstances" card all the time. You know what our "special circumstances" are? We like not being poor and I make a lot more money than my husband. Yeah, I could quit my job and pray that he gets a better one and move in with our parents in the meantime, but that sounds effing insane when I am capable of making a good living pretty easily. I don't need a revelation from God to tell me not to quit my job, just half a brain.

rae said...

this post made me think of one of my favorite articles ever (love this writer too, btw)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/mommy-wars_b_1210602.html

:)

Pam

Steph said...

I like reading your blog. I despise the pressure that women (myself included) feel to justify our career decisions. I stay at home with my kids, and I like it, and I chose it, but I still forget and get caught up in explaining to all the details of why and how and please don't think I had a career-ending baby by accident, etc., etc. You've inspired me-- I'm going to OWN my decisions like you are. :) Thanks!

LC said...

If you choose not to be "conventional," I think you choose to face an inquisition now and then. It's just life. (At least that's been my experience since we chose to become a homeschooling family).

We all have a different normal, and not everyone remembers that. If someone thinks he or she merits an explanation, I don't see why it has to be any more than "It works for us."

Shelby Hansen said...

Dude! I’m only 18, going to Weber State, got a dad for a bishop back in michigan, and I’ve been having a faith crisis since my sophomore year of high school... this blog is like a breath of fresh air for me. I got a bf who wants to go on a mission, but is not a douche about my obvious lack of “spirituality” and is actually quite open minded when I talk about my plans for a full time career and reluctance to have kids with anyone any time before I’m quite possibly 30. The priesthood / 200 year old gender roles of women, the homophobia, and the “get your tickets to heaven, choose 1st class, business, or economy, you only need to do a billion rituals and act perfect to get them tickets!” are my big beefs with the church. Keep blogging! I’m sending this to some of my cousins in Provo who share the same sentiments, I think they will enjoy your blog as much as I do :)

Stephanie said...

@ Steph
That's a really good point, it does work both ways. None of us should be justifying our choices, either to work outside the home or stay at home. Also, great name.

@Shelby, I really love that description of heaven. Economy class all the way over here...

postmormongirl said...

You sound perfectly human. And I agree that people need to just let you make your own decisions, like the adult that you are.

gurrbonzo said...

Ahhhh, wise words from a wise friend, I see. Moral of the story: WE DO WHAT WE WANT.

Gretta Whalen said...

@neil282828
I assume you think this is a molehill because your name is "Neil" and you are not a working mom. If I'm wrong, though, Neil, and you are a working mom, then congratulations and good for you. Please understand that while this is a molehill for you, it is a mountain for some, and that is OK.

Queen of the Castle said...

I'm getting ready to head back to work after being a stay at home mom for the past eight years ( I know it's an uphill battle). As I've been telling people about my plans, at first I was scared that they were judging me, but then I realized that I WANT TO WORK. I don't have to, I want to. I have talents that simply aren't tapped as a stay at home mom and I want to use them.

I quit apologizing and simply talk about how excited I am to get back in the classroom.

I frame my teaching as its good for our family, not so I can be a good mom. My husband has a pretty flexible job that makes my wanting to be a teacher work, as does my wanting to be a teacher work to make his job easier. It's as two way street. And truth be told I have other employment opportunities, but I love teaching.

MJ said...

I love you. I've been both, am currently a sahm, and like it, but looking forward to going back to work someday soon (circumstances won't allow right now). I grew up with a working mom, I turned out great, and I know your beautiful baby girl will be awesome. She has YOU for a mom.

My MIL currently aren't speaking for many reasons, but a major one was her insistence that if she watched my kids once a week or every other week, she would be their primary caregiver. GRRR.

Holly T. said...

This is my freaking life. I work full time, I have one kid. But I swear, can't people stay out of my damn business about why I'm working? It's none of your business! Maybe I'm very career driven, maybe my husband doesn't make enough... you'll never know!
I read this last week but just posted it on FB tonight because I actually had some 20 year old, childless girl tell me that because I chose to work, I wasn't doing the right thing for my kid. Oh. Hell. No.
But I felt bad for her at the same time. So naive. Hopefully that will change someday! *sigh* I love this post. THANK YOU!!

Mrs. Clark said...

I didn't work when my kids were young because I could not give them the best part of me if I was giving it at work. I couldn't juggle both. All church stuff aside, I truly felt called to stay at home with my kids.

I think I've said this before, but my mom worked, and I absolutely hated it. It was hard being a guest in the daycare provider's home; it was obvious that her kids resented us being there, and being at school all day was stressful enough for a kid, let alone having to go to someone else's house and follow their rules for several hours afterward. My sister feels the same way.

That said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for everyone. We need to show respect for others' choices, and for them, regardless of our own.

Wendy said...

My mom worked part-time at a "bad mom" job, swing shift a the local hospital. My attitude toward daycare totally depended on the person; two I loved, one I hated.

What I did love without reservation was that two nights a week that Dad was the one at home. He was different that Mom, but equally awesome in his own way. I got to have a relationship with my dad that was so different than those of my friends, and I didn't feel "cheated" in my relationship with my mom. I also remember a great deal of pride in knowing what my mother did, and that she loved it, and was really good at it.

There are so many different ways to put the puzzle together, and it would be really lovely if we trusted people to do what worked best for them without criticizing because it's not the stereotype or the same choice we made. One of my favorite stories ever from a church speaker was a guy who talked about people feeling the need to apologize if their children married a "non-Mormon" - his response was always "so did my wife" and to walk away. Some days I want to go back to childhood and just start telling people to mind their own beeswax.

Mary said...

I'm excited for a world where women won't be labeled based on the number of hours they work, or when the world won't be surprised when women do something great, or many things great. A penis or a vagina shouldn't make a conversation noteworthy. Being great humans regardless of the genitalia we possess should make noteworthy conversations.

Kevin said...

Actually you are responsible for slightly more than half.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWuWjbeO-Y

Act like it.

Stephanie said...

@Kevin

That was awesome.

I will have that song stuck in my head all morning now...

Rachael said...

I think it's good to keep in mind that while there's not a one-size-fits-all answer for women in general, there's also a good chance that what works for you one year won't be ideal in another 5 or 10. When my first baby was born, I was overjoyed at the fact that I was still in grad school and still teaching. And I was grateful that I could keep teaching (I teach at a university so it's more flexible) with subsequent children. Now that I'm expecting my fifth baby and our children are over, I'd really love to be done working (the emotional energy drain is what's hardest for me, because I have a hard time staying patient with my children if I've been dealing with antagonistic students), but it's not possible until my husband is done with school. (Okay, it's possible, but I like not having to worry about money or take out student loans, so ta-da! I work.)

Long story short, it's an individual matter and the right answer is different in every stage of life.

Rachael said...

*children are older, not over (are they ever over?!)

Reuven said...

Today at church, an individual in a leadership position said gospel principles (faith, Godhead)will be taught differently to boys and girls. I asked, "Why? How?" because I truly did not get what he was trying to say. There was silence.

I used my nice voice...my "I'm not insulting you. I honestly have no idea what you mean" voice. His reply: "There are gender differences. Boys earn a Duty to God...and Young Women do Personal Progress." And from that I was supposed to extract the answer.

I communicated that I still didn't get what he meant...because I really didn't.

The others in the room sat in silence...either in tacit agreement with him, ignorance, or indifference. No one else asked for clarity.

As long as people say such things in church...and no one counters...we will continue to have a culture that minimalizes what women contributes in an organizational capacity...clearly we groom boys and girls differently for their pre-assigned roles...maybe I'd still accept that party line if I wasn't the only breadwinner for my child, a parent, and a professional teacher who considers "building the kingdom" to mean helping kids who have parents strung out on drugs to find a healthy path in life.

I have fought hard to become a good teacher...but in a church setting, my insight regarding improving teaching today was not asked for. I saw with disturbing clarity today that we function in a culture that expects women to defer to men. Today I was implicitly told to suppress my knowledge because someone else, a man, was instructing.
Yes, a women could have conducted the meeting in the same fashion. Perhaps that is the problem really...we mistake "calling" with permission to quiet others from contributing meaningfully...and as so many callings are "Priesthood ones"...the natural result is a deference to men that actually inhibits growth and improvement in the Church.

I have been feeling so out of place at church lately. I wanted so badly to contribute today, feel a part of the "ward family." Instead I found that when you are yourself, you risk realizing that you are expected to be someone else.

AzĂșcar said...

As a chick with three kids who has worked full time with all of them, tried to have the sperm donor stay at home and failed at it, had a mom and dad who worked and split the home duties equally and therefore learned that all the genders do all the things, i still answer when people want to know how I allot child care duties AND I SHOULD STOP*

*unless they are interested since they are wondering about the types of options that are out there for themselves and their children, and they are honestly curious about how other parents make it work...

KT said...

That video gave me chills (the happy kind). I've taught YW lessons about homemakeing that have made me want to beat my head against the chalkboard. Instead of drilling childbirth into the heads of our daughters, we should be encouraging educations and choices. Love it.

Kelli Anderson said...

"astronaut doctor fairy princess SAHM and get to work."

lol.

i love this post. and second every word.

Talia Jacole said...

I just love this. I too have had to over explain myself MANY times after the dreaded “what do you do?” question. The bottom line is everyone is different and people should treat others how they would like to be treated. It would be unfair for me to make judgmental comments towards the stay at home moms that I know (and trust me, I know A LOT being LDS and all). Stay strong and do you. Some of the best mom’s I know have been full-time working mothers :)

Happy Holidays!
- Talia
rubytiaradiaries.blogspot.com