The Wilde Olive Blog: Working Mom Woes. I have them.


Working Mom Woes. I have them.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Opinionated post coming your way. You've been warned! 

Recently, our governor of the great state of Mississippi got some national attention when he made the following statements on education and working mothers.  This is an excerpt from The Clarion Ledger, our local newspaper, about a week ago.
A Washington Post moderator asked Bryant, How did America get so mediocre in education?
 Bryant responded, “Oh, I’m going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? You know, I think both parents started working, and the mom is in the workplace. That’s not a bad thing. I’m going to get in trouble. I can just see the emails tomorrow. But now, both parents are working. They’re pursuing their careers. It’s a great American story now, that women are certainly in the workplace.”
He added:, “In today’s society, parents are so challenged. Not just the mom, but the mom and the dad.”
Being a working mom and for that matter a social worker, who has been beaten over the head with equality and social justice and women's rights, I can see how this statement is offensive. My mother certainly worked and had three daughters, none with less than a bachelor's degree. My working mother was a pioneer of sorts in the state of Mississippi. She was the first female Forester in the state right out of college. At the same time she began having babies before she even finished her degree. She worked her way all the way to the top of the Forestry Commission and was able to retire before she was 50 years old. If you ask her today, she'll tell you she struggled with being a working mom for most of those years and that she always wished she could have stayed home with us more. I actually never knew she felt that way until I was struggling myself over the past year and half. Side note: She now spends her days with three of her grandchildren as an in home caregiver - and an awesome one at that. 

I worked so HARD to get to the degrees and post graduate certifications I have, but if today, someone said go home, be with your son, educate him at home, take him every day and have real life experiences, you and him. Even if they said go home and struggle through the tantrums and nap times and refusals to listen. I'd say you bet! Peace out! See ya never. 

No matter how much you love what you do for 8 hours a day, you love your child more.

That being said, I also feel there is some validity in what Governor Bryant is saying. If parents - not just moms - were more involved in their children's education our nation would most likely be more competitive. If parents begin educating their children in the home, they are better off from the start. If parents make appearances in the schools, their children are more motivated and often better behaved (assuming the parent knows how to behave), which leads to less distraction, less teacher stress, and frankly less violence. If you put parents in the schools, in touch with their child's teacher you get a working relationship and not the mentality of "you're his/her teacher, do your job". 

I'm not saying our education system isn't broken, because it certainly is, I am facing the harsh reality at this point that my child cannot attend the public school where we have chosen to live. I actually knew that going in, but thought oh well he'll just go to a small private school, but didn't' really consider what school and the actuality of the expense compared to our income. Therefore, I'm also faced with the reality that in order for him to be educated, my husband and I will always have to work, we may even need two more jobs between us for him to have a decent, well rounded education. 

So, where do we find balance? What is the solution to the working mom woes and parent involvement in education?

I'm not sure, but I'd like to think we could begin in our workplaces. Most moms ultimately work for men, like Phil Bryant, who know that women should be able to work and fulfill their dreams and aspirations just as men do, they may even see how valuable women are in the workplace, but just don't quite "get it" in terms of the reality of it all. The pressure, the guilt, the draw that you have for your children leaves your heart so overwhelmingly full and your brain can only shut that down momentarily to get your work done. 

Maybe women are hitting that glass ceiling because they spent 5 to 10 years of employment with newborns and toddlers at home. So, maybe companies should start asking moms how to handle maternity leave and returning to work. Maybe then, I wouldn't be taking any semblance of vacation time I have to take care of my sick child, because god forbid I use my actual sick time for my child. Then just maybe I could get an actual paid vacation that I earned and need because I'm working to serve your consumers every day on 3 and 4 hours of interrupted sleep.

I am aware that there are many companies out there that are in tune with the needs of a new mom, but places even like our school system, who should know the importance of those first few months, are often not taking care of their employees/new moms. I think the mentality of well at least you have a job in this economy stinks. When you really start valuing your employees, you see longevity and a valuable, productive work ethic. 

So all of this to say again, being a working mom is hard. Even with just one child and even with a Super NaNa to watch and teach him everyday.

Even still, if it were up to me, I'd be at home pruning my h-y-d-r-a-n-g-e-a and picking up 1, 2, 3, 4 sticks with my toddler.

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1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to this post, being a working mom is so hard. Jackson stays at home with my mom during the day as well, which is great, but I would much rather be home with him instead. I just hate having to miss being there with him during the day and miss opportunities that I could have with him. I just pray I'm making the right decision for him by working outside the home.


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