If I find myself in the position of being unemployed, I prefer the term homemaker. It is a little homely, but I prefer it to stay at home mom or housewife. For me stay at home mom focuses my identity too much on my child/ren, housewife of course too much on my husband, though I like the phonetics of housewife, it sounds cool to my ear, sort of foreign. I like the stuff homemakers do and I seem to want to do more and more of it all the time.I love to manage home projects, pay bills, cook,grocery shop and clean, maybe even the occasional craft. Homemaker it is if my life takes that turn.
I have been wanting to post on the whole Lean In “controversy”. Sandberg is not a writer, nor a social scientist, she is entitled to a contradictions when writing about an incredibly complex subject.
Being a full-time employed mom I struggle to do it all. I reflect with particular zeal on the second shift and sometimes a third shift if the baby is up at night. There is no doubt in my mind I am living the second shift and it is a lot to balance, but the truth is that the plight of women has always been hard. Before women in most western countries had access to better birth control and technology in the home we were often pregnant with two or three little ones running around while we made preserves for the winter, scrubbed laundry, and did dishes. So yes, there is a second shift, but it isn’t the same as working and making the home the way people used to. The fridge, the laundry machine, and pre-packaged food (health issues aside) have made it way easier for women to work and keep house. I am not saying that it isn’t hard as much as I am saying it has ALWAYS been hard. Sure I miss my child when I go to work, but if I had 8 or 9 kids I am guessing I would miss one of them on one day and feel like I never even got to know others, I would have been way too busy working to prepare food for 10 or 11 mouths to really get to know them all every single day.
Lastly bringing it round back to margies, if I am honest it was also really hard before the baby. I partied a lot and worked and it is almost as hard to party three or four nights / week and to work full time and keep house as it is to have a baby, work full time and keep house. I often felt like my older co-workers had it a lot easier than me because they weren’t out at a new art opening or whisky bar until 1:00 am the night before. Admittedly I had a few years post all the party, pre the baby where things were a bit more calm. It is the only time in my life I remember wondering why everyone was talking about “how busy” we all are.
Bria and I were discussing how to be opinionated and incisively observant on parenting topics without preaching, without condemning, without opinions implying judgment. And I think it’s really hard. Thus, my disclaimer, to be assumed to be before anything I ever say or write.
I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong. I’m not saying I’m doing anything right. I’m not saying I know better. I’m not saying I’m smarter. I’m not saying I’m more of a feminist or you’re a bad feminist. I’m not saying you should do it my way. I’m not saying you’re a bad mom. I’m not saying I have it figured out. I’m not saying I’m right. I’m not saying I won’t change my mind.
But we all know that in the subconscious mind, there are no negatives. So, what AM I saying?
I’m saying this is tricky. This is multi-faceted. This elicits strong emotions. This is important. I’m saying I’m generally a moral/parenting relativist. I’m saying, “Whatever works for you!” and meaning it. I’m saying disagree with me. Take me to task. Challenge me. Whip me into shape. I’m saying I’m working on it. I’m trying things out. I’m putting it out there and seeing if I believe what I say. I’m saying I don’t know. Anything. At all. But I can sure get opinionated anyway.