Unbox your mom

Excuse me for a minute, I’m going to get on my feminist high horse. It’s National Women’s Day, so I can.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to roll my eyes because “we only get one day, he gets the other 364”, or wax lyrical around the fact that “if we had real equality, there would be no need for this day”. In fact, if you’re a man, you can probably stop reading – because this post is aimed at women, particularly at moms.

Not just stay-at-home moms, but also working moms. Not just full-time moms, but even part-time moms, like me.

Do you see it?

It’s the labels we give each other, even give ourselves. And the judgements we attach to those labels. And it’s time to stop.

Stop calling this one a ‘Working Mom’ and that one a ‘Full Time Mom’. Just stop it. Everyone. But particularly moms. Us moms, I should say, because I am as guilty and complicit as every other mom out there.

She’s a “working mom”, you say. Because you’re right, those other moms, who run around all day, who lift, who shop, who schlep children to doctors and dentists and orthodontists, who do the homework, cook the dinner, watch the galas, volunteer at the school to help with plays and fund raising and the PTA. And who gave up their own aspirations for their families. They don’t work at all.

Or she’s a “full time mom”. Because those moms who work in the formal sector, they are only part-time moms; for part of their day, they truly don’t care about their children at all. While at work, they don’t worry about the child sitting at home with a temperature, or dash out at lunch time to drop off hockey kit that was forgotten at home, or ever leave a meeting early just to catch their child swim in that one race. Because they are part time moms.

Stay-at-home moms. There’s a joke. Have you ever met a mom who stays at home all day?

When was the last time you heard a dad described as either a “working dad” or a “full time dad”, as we so blithely box the moms around us?

Am I the only one who finds it offensive?

And why do we do it? Why do we need to draw a line between a mom that works in the formal sector, versus one that works from home, versus one that works at home?

Some women have no choice but to work a 9 to 5 job. Some love their careers so much that they couldn’t imagine not working all day. Some have the ability to work from home. Others could think of nothing worse than working in such isolation. Some work part-time, but really just squeeze a full-time job into half the hours, for half the pay. Still others pour their hearts and souls into their families, and work just as hard as they would in an office, in their own homes.

But all of them, without exception, love their children. And all of them, without exception, are doing their level best to be the best mom that they can be.

Just call me “Supper Mom”.

So stop it. Stop describing mothers by what it is that they do, or don’t do. We are all full-time mothers, we are all working mothers. There is nothing part time about what we do, and if you ever meet that ‘Stay at Home Mom’, please introduce me, because I want to know how she does it!

2 Comment

  1. Joanne Ernandes says: Reply

    I did leave the first reply, but being trained in multi tasking promptly lost it! Here is the second reply and if I concentrate hard enough I might get it right! It’s like being a mother… You spend your motherly part trying hard to get it right. The other part of your split personality you can sub divide into career girl, create waves, full time, part time, house elf or whatever but in the end, when the waves cease you find that you are only 100 percent Mom, Mum, Mam, Mamma or whatever. Then you start all over again with your split personality and become Grandma, or one of its variations… But in the end you are just a mother. I really enjoyed your article

  2. Helen Eldridge says: Reply

    After my decades of holding down 9 – 5 office jobs (which were actually never limited to those hours), what really got me was the bosses who raised an eyebrow, muttered, or questioned my work ethic, on the rare but unavoidable occasion I got a telephone call from the nursery school or primary school asking that I go to pick up my kid who has suddenly developed an unknown malady. I obviously have to go, but I don’t have the opportunity to point out to said boss the number of times when the reverse has happened, and I have forsaken my job as mum, to see to some problem the business has developed on a Saturday morning, or a Friday at 8pm. So the only labels, apart from full time mum, are… sucker, idiot, or desperate-enough-to-keep-quiet. The only comfort is knowing that any men with brains secretly know women are fantastic, and the ones that don’t…. well who needs them? Because we are… fantastic, I mean.

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