Let’s Trash the “Working Mom”, Please!

I am a mom, and I have a job-one that does not involve being a mom.

I hate the term working mom, because we don’t call them working dads, do we? Yes. I understand the etymology of the term ‘working mom’; I am aware that once upon a time it was unusual for women to have full-time jobs.

“‘Working mom’ are two words that are becoming a little less dirty these days, since more women are choosing to work outside the home.”

That sentence just made me a little nauseous. And I see that sentence EVERYWHERE. Every article I read on being a working mom has that sentence, or a derivative of it, somewhere in its text. It makes me a little nauseous for two reasons: one, it assumes we all have made a “choice” to leave our children with someone else for more hours than they are with us in a day, and two, it makes me feel like it’s weird for a woman to leave her house to work.

We are a humankind (too) slowly warming to the idea that men and women are equal. My husband and I share the child-rearing responsibilities, and the housework, as equally as we can (he knows to stay the hell away from the female laundry though-neither my daughter or I would appreciate grey-blue undies that used to be white. That’s not a gender stereotype-he is the first to admit he sucks at laundry), and cover for each other when either of us has to work late. That’s called being a family….not some ridiculous, guilt-making term like ‘working mom’.

Would I love to work at home? DUH! Hello, yoga pants to a high-level meeting! “More time with your baby if you work from home!” No. If I am working, does the location really matter? If I am working at my office, my daughter is in daycare. If I was working at home, my daughter would still be in daycare. Work is work, regardless of where I do it, and deadlines are still deadlines. Β Granted, she would be dropped off at 9 am and picked up by 4:30, instead of the current 7 am drop-off and 5:30 pm pick-up.

I am all for women who want to stay home and raise their children, and all for dads who want to do it too. If you can afford it, all the power to you!!! I may even harbor a little jealousy. I don’t feel guilty for having a job-my family lives in the house we do because we work. We can go on modest vacations because we work. Our daughter lacks for nothing because we work; I don’t see how one of us staying home with her and giving up an income is giving her a better life.

I know all to well the value of time; if you read my blog you know that. We try to make the moments we do have with her that much more fun, for all of us (it also makes it a lot easier to forget the little annoyances of parenting!)

In my ideal world, we would drop the term ‘working mom’….we don’t call men ‘working dads’! I think giving it a label makes it different, makes it unusual, when it isn’t. Can’t we just be people who work?

What do you think? Please comment below, I would love to hear all sides!!

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9 comments

  1. I *HATE* “Working Mom” and “stay-at-home Mom” (because staying at home is definitely work!) and I also *HATE* the “I’m a better mom because I …” type of attitude (true story: when Lydia was in JK and I was on mat leave with Jacob, I finally mustered up some courage to try to talk to some of the other moms at pick-up time. When I mentioned to one that I was I maternity leave, she looked at me – in disgust – and said, “Oh, you work”, turned on her heels and never spoke to me again. And that was my introduction to moms at school. It affected me so much, it wasn’t until this year (Lydia is in grade 5 now) that I got up enough courage to start talking to some of the parents again.

    1. It is SO bad the way we treat each other. It’s one thing to have an opinion on something, even a strong one; anyone who knows me, like you do, knows how damn opinionated I can be! But never, in a million years, would I put down another woman for not sharing my opinion or making different choices for herself and /or her family. When I was researching daycares while pregnant, I randomly asked some friends on FB what their experiences were with daycare. I had a female friend comment on how could I let another raise her, she needs to be with me, yadda yadda yadda. I was floored. And SO angry! It still hurts when I think about that comment. We need to seriously start supporting each other.

  2. Working mom as opposed to a mom that doesn’t work? Hahaha! Sign me up for that! But in all seriousness, you make a great point about no one ever using the term “working dad”. It is a testament to how deeply rooted gender inequality is. A woman’s primary role is still considered to be raising kids. If she works, she opens herself to criticism about being a bad parent or choosing money over child. And the first ones to shame her? Other moms! Unreal! *SMH*

  3. I say working mom all the time, but never really liked the term. I am a part time work from home mom, which doesn’t really roll off the tongue either. When people ask what I do, I say I am a writer, even though I only do it 10 hours a week. Be who you are and own it!

    1. I know, I say it all the time too, but it just feels so off! And yes, you ARE a writer – 10 hours a week is more than most published authors I know-which, admittedly, is one…but still more than her! πŸ™‚

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