When I picture Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony talking about women’s rights I imagine them agreeing with most of these statements. Also a wonderful antidote to The Failure of Choice Feminisim <–my new title.
Indented passages taken from above mentioned article.My commentary in Italics
My concern with their book, and advice from celebrity mums generally, is that it gives the impression that working with a ‘new’ baby is a matter of making a list, getting your husband on side, and hiring a cleaner and a nanny.
I agree totally and implied is “you must just have something wrong with you if you can’t, You Can Have it All, and the sky will fall on your bag ladyish-ness after the kids are gone”.
Women with careers may be able to afford to do this, but women who really do work ‘because they have to’ often don’t have the resources to make doing both jobs bearable.
Even if paying someone else to do the domestic chores makes the physical load lighter, the emotional load can’t be outsourced. (emphasis mine) Though they downplay it, Doyle and Scard acknowledge the emotional ‘tug of war’ of combining full-time work and mothering. They insist the stress is worthwhile. I wonder: would a woman forced to use substandard child-care so she could clean Doyle’s house agree?
Pay Dirt…..It takes nerves of steel to be able to transition from a stressful job to quality/face time with your kids. I highlight quality because if your nerves are even half burnt all you can do is feed and dump your kids in bed while you are emotionally unavailable. I used to come home from work so drained. Home was where I unloaded but suddenly there was a joyous bundle waiting for me , but all I could think of was how was I going to get everything done And go to work tomorrow (rinse and repeat 4 times).
The quality of daycare was also an important factor for me. As a teacher I know that an infant to teacher ratio of 5:1, is not ideal for anyone. A ratio of 3:1 is better but 2:1/ 1:1 is ideal. Study after study shows the more attentive we are to what children need early in life the better their future outcome. Their is a direct correlation between exposing kids to language and future literacy. The more exposure, the better literacy outcomes are. The more “face” time with adults the more they learn appropriate behavior.
For me, being a working mother is extremely stressful, a lot of the time. I have a stressful job, but I find being a mother even more so…I know that some mums can cope with more ‘face-time’ with their kids than I can each and every week, in fact, they relish it. For me, that just doesn’t work. It makes me a worse mother. It makes me stressed. Something I’m happy to tell anyone who asks.
I try not to judge Jo Scard, but I wouldn’t choose her version of family life. Scard’s ‘face time’ reminds me of the ‘quality time’ parents were supposed to spend with their children in the 1980s when ‘quantity time’ was impossible. When I read her advice to have at least one family meal each week, to maintain connection, I can see why she finds life ‘extremely stressful’. Perhaps I’m overly precious, and this is the new reality.
If this is the new reality then no thanks. It’s not worth it. If didn’t want to have much face time with kids then I wouldn’t have become a teacher or a mother. That is my choice.
Other articles of interest: