This is where I shoot something off in kind of a hurry that’s probably a pretty loaded issue and might end up making people upset (unless I just happen to have the Internet’s! Only! Gracious! Audience! which I know I do).
Just thinking about work.
Work and kids.
Work and moms and kids.
And the Industrial Revolution.
My (nonexistent fake) thorough factual investigation into the matter reveals that approximately 93 baskillion articles and blogs and books have been written about the whole mom/work/life balance issue. Because it’s a doozy.
My thoughts today, which shall come with an accompanying challenge if you persevere to the end, are these:
Thanks to our old pal the Industrial Revolution and everything that’s come since, the truth is, it just isn’t a full-time job running a household any more, I don’t think. Well, not for me. I have a very small house and only one child. I’m sure it’s different for some of you. It just takes less time and more money. Unless you are a frontier woman. Which is kind of its whole own career, one which most of us aren’t remotely prepared for.
I rarely make my own clothes and seldom grow my own food and while I like to cook as much as I can, I tend to go ahead and go for the pre-churned butter and pre-slaughtered chickens and such. I also have a machine that makes laundry into a process that yes, takes all day, but I’m not actually DOING anything with it for about 90% of that time.
The thing is though, just because I can get food and clothing and household goods at varying degrees of prefabrication (which also tends to cost more money), I do feel that I would very much like to also be contributing to the household income and to society as a whole by expending some of my time, energies, and talents in some kind of employment capacity.
And here’s where it gets real…
I pretty much don’t want to end up shipping my pre-school-aged kid(s) off to other people to be sort of entertained/distracted/supervised/even educated by other people for 20-45 hrs every week.
Maybe this is less of a thing for people who bore their children from conception and maybe it’ll be less of a thing for me after a while, but when your connection to your children is tenuous, that’s a lot of time. That plus naps plus sleeping at night plus church equals not a ton of together time.
Also – to be honest, I don’t really want songs and toys and activities and crafts to be what raises my child. I kind of like the old-fashioned idea of them, just, you know, being around people who are about the business of life. Helping out on occasion; learning how to just be around without having to consume or destroy everything that’s not kept out of their reach. You know, kinda like how basically the entire rest of the world except us rich white folks do it. (OMG did she EVEN just say that.)
And in an IRONIC socio-historical twist, it seems like the only way to get “balanced” “real-life” non-babysitting-type (pre-school) education nowadays is to go to the EXTRA-fancy Montessori whatever whatsits preschools that cost an arm and a leg and you have to sign up for them basically as soon as you go off the pill.
Which you then HAVE to work to be able to afford.
Here’s my thing:
Yay, Industrial Revolution. Thank you for my computer and my phone and my pre-churned butter. And for the fact that I can have Thai food for lunch and Mexican for dinner.
Thank you for some of that time back that now can be used towards advancing humanity and technology until we can all have our promised hoverboards and holo-screens.
But I don’t really want to trade that for time with my kids, thank you very much.
There are, like, a COUPLE of efforts at making family-friendly mom-employment out there. And for those of you who work toward that, kudos plus hurrah plus hip hip hooray (totally not being sarcastic. Keep it up).
Hey bosses, business owners, general public with expendable income, here’s my challenge:
Take just a minute and think about what work there might be around your office or in your business that would allow a mom out there to put in a good, hard extra few hours of work during naptime while the dishwasher is running or whatever, but not have to ship her kid off somewhere and commute. What might that be? Get creative. Don’t hire a college kid who wants the latest iPhone, call up a mom (*COUGHMECOUGH*) and offer it to her.
I want to work outside of/in addition to keeping my house…
And I want to be the one who parents my kid.
It’s almost 2014… can’t we find a way to make that happen?
**It should also be noted here that I have an inherent phobia/skepticism of any and all sales-system-type things, even ones with legitimately good products that people actually want. I basically never ever want to be a salesperson. I know you’re saying “beggars can’t be choosers” but… If you are like a super successful sales representative at one of those things and you need someone to keep your books/fulfill orders/etc. for an hourly rate, I am your man. Not remotely interested in hosting parties and (literally or figuratively) knocking on doors. Just FYI. Absolutely nothing wrong with people doing it, obviously, but I don’t want to. At all.
I kind of feel like a lot of those things are a bit of a flypaper kind of thing where they flame up until they’ve exhausted your circles of people you know, then they die out. And I just kind of have this sense that people end up MAYBE breaking even if they’re that lucky (or if they’re just super duper resourceful and organized and driven like Gwen).
Or maybe they’re amazing for people and the perfect solution. But I just don’t want to sell stuff. Don’t wanna don’t wanna.