A few weeks ago someone called my husband, Mr. Mom, and I have to be honest with you and say that I resent this term. It is not because I have something against stay-at-home moms - I can assure you I do not. They work their asses off. It is not because the term somewhat emasculates my husband - the man can demo and refinish a bathroom with his bare hands, so masculinity is not something that he is lacking. As I pick apart the reasons, I slowly come to the realization that the person is insinuating the entire list of household activities, from raising our kids to cooking food, should fall on the woman. Comments like this not only perpetuate how men view gender roles, but support the underlying bias that women belong in the home life. Ironically enough it was a woman who made this comment.
Let me ask the females a few questions: When you met your husband in college did he have random women come to his dorm room to clean or did he have to live in his own filth until he cleaned it himself? If you happened to meet your husband after college, did he cook his own meals and do his own laundry? Was he capable of pulling out two slices of bread and putting lunchmeat in-between to make a sandwich for his lunch? He seemed to have survived some part of his life without you doing all of his own chores so why, when he is clearly capable of taking care of himself, does the work all of a sudden become the "women's job" once you get married and have children?
When you got married and decided to have children, did you have sex with yourself? I am going to venture out on a limb and guess there were a few glasses of wine involved in a pretty steamy night. Why, if it takes two people to make the children, do we automatically assume that it falls on the woman to raise the children, clean the house, do the laundry, cook all the meals, make sure kids get to soccer practice on time, pack lunches...? It's almost as if, when more work gets added into the mix (i.e. kids - and, yes, they are a lot of work), society expects women to make sure the entire household is running smoothly by ourselves. Oh, and, do you have a full time job? Please make sure you excel at that as well!
There is nothing more exhausting than trying to do your best and have people criticize you for it. Why should the amount of money my husband makes dictate how successful he is in life? If he can help raise little gentlemen, teach them manners, enjoy his time teaching our boys new things, be their hero, fix everything in the house we destroy (turns out I'm a whirling dervish as well), keep the kitchen clean and put food on the table, why can that not be a measure for success? If a woman decides to pursue a successful career why does that translate into being a "worse" mom?
Whether your family requires both parents to have a full time job, or your children have two daddies or mommies, or you have a loving husband who supports his ambitious wife by becoming a stay-at-home dad, we need to stop criticizing one another. Every family situation has a unique set of needs and, as an outsider looking in, we have no room to judge what is best for someone else and their family. I can tell you that, as a working mom with a husband, baby Gus, another baby on the way, and a household to manage, I have enough on my plate and don't need to also worry how everyone feels about my private life.
As you continue on with this workweek, I encourage you to be cautious about the comments you make to others in the workplace, especially when it involves their familial situations. Whether you are "just joking" or completely serious, those criticisms do not belong in the workplace. Although, who knows, those types of comments could motivate someone to start a blog and write a children's book and set ambitious goals to give back to working moms ;).
If you enjoy these blog posts, please consider giving back to working moms by purchasing a children's book: A Stay-at-Home Dad?