Actual Conversation: "They are great parents." Response: "They are. When they are there. You know they BOTH work right?"
How did we get here? To this impossible double standard? We raise our girls to be all, do all, and be anything they want to be but we never intend to let them. Not REALLY. The reality is when our girls do speak up and are bold and are leaders they are seen as "bossy". When they do grow up and pursue their dreams, we tell them that they can be a CEO, a stay at home mommy, a artist, a engineer or serve our country. We tell them their voice is valuable but the true message they hear from their mothers, from their peers, from their school, from the media, from society, is: Be bold but not too bold. Be pretty but not too pretty. Be confident but not too confident. Be strong but not too strong. Girls have a voice alright but they have already been taught to apologize for it, justify it, or downplay their talents. Again, we tell them they can be anything they want to be but never intend to let them. I could go on a billion rabbit trails like inequality or unequal pay but I'd like to dig dipper in regards to the labels we give our girls and the roles of motherhood that are often drilled into us so much that we don't even realize there is a discussion to be had.
I know. I know. I sound like a feminist. . . I am. If I was raising boys I would be looking at the injustices they are also facing.
But I'm not. I am raising three daughters with my husband and navigating what message I want to portray to them. How I want them to have a healthy outlook when it comes not only to their bodies but when it comes to who they are and the roles they will find themselves someday choosing. How someday they may choose motherhood and what that looks like.
We don't question a Father's love or dedication to his children when he is a working dad. In fact, we don't even use the term working dad. We wouldn't even use it as a way to describe him. He works. He is a dad.
When a Mother works, she is labeled as a working mom. It's part of her identity. Inadvertently, her level of dedication and commitment to her children and her family is also questioned.
Picture this scene:
A woman is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and she has a toddler strapped to her leg. She receives a call. Dad has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the dad is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids? Or would it be a non-issue?
A man is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and he has a toddler strapped to his leg. He receives a call. Mom has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the mom is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids?
If this scene was in a movie it WOULD be portrayed differently and the audience would also feel that. Either the mom is a do-it-all-be-home-in-time-to-bake-the-pie-for-the-school-fundraiser or the cold mom in a business suit who is putting work first and is unattached to her family.
I'm passionate (obviously) about this discussion. I'm excited about looking at motherhood differently and not unfairly placing labels and stereotypes into the category "working moms" or "stay at home moms". We are moms and we love our children. Period.