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Working Motherhood Woes. Shut It Already.

December 13, 2011

*This post is not to offend the multitudes of lower-class, working mothers who exist in our country and are the backbone of our society. This is meant for the privileged woman today who “thinks she has it hard”.

Any given day in my Toronto neighbourhood, Forest Hill,  between the hours of 8-4 you will see the Filipino nanny shuttling off the well-clad young Caucasian children to their private schools, or hiking it uphill with a mammoth-size shiny stroller almost the same size as them. Whether toting an infant or herding some  tweens, the nanny is omnipresent in our area. The sight of the mother is very rare, usually on the weekends with her brood on the way to brunch with her hubby and sister from the suburbs–or the fabulous stay at home mom who parks her BMW illegally outside of Starbucks (a two minute walk from her house) to get a latte.

These women are over-privileged, and always bitching about the woes of being a working mother. It is ironic to hear a woman complain about how she can fit Pilates, her kid’s ballet and hockey, shopping and laundry into the same schedule. We must feel sympathetic, as the clueless child-free woman, to their “daily hardships” inflicted by the decision to have children and also to work. I am just not convinced that these women are truly suffering a social injustice, as they say. I believe it is just pure and simple braggery. The modern day, moneyed working mother today should be as pitied as the elder, the single mother, the new immigrant or the disabled. They believe what they are doing–the multi-tasking of their lives–is as meritorious as solving world hunger.  Yet, they are degrading other women by employing them as nannies to care for their children. Seriously, the book “The Help” needs a continuum. If it is not degrading to see poor Asian and Black women running after little, spoilt white children in public–I don’t know what is!

As a woman, I want to empathize with other women. I know about the glass ceiling, women earning less than men and gender stereotypes. But nobody threw a baby in a jail cell and locked you up with it. It was your choice to pick the spouse you did, the career you did, the decision to become a mother–with all that it entails. Magazines write about the “plight of the working mother” regularly, featuring happy-go-lucky Caucasian families with new mini-vans and Rover the dog. Despite “running home from work to take Junior to soccer practice, I absolutely wouldn’t change it for the world”. Okay then, so it isn’t that bad. When you are doing all this with sore feet, a minimum wage job that forces you to wake up at 5:00am and take a public bus, and no nanny in sight–THEN decide this is actually an issue plaguing our country.

Childfree women may not understand the sacrifice of choosing a work dinner over a child’s recital or juggling diapers and faxes, but unless you’re working at McDonald’s, the pay-off is immense and win/win for you. You are able to afford a comfortable lifestyle, autonomy by working and enjoy the outcome of you and your spouse’s copulation. I would love to read an article about a real woman’s quandary with work, kids, spouse, social and personal life, etc. I want to know if she is choosing between flying fighter planes in Guatamela while her kids are at home with her equally-helpful hubby, not if she is unable to make it home exactly at 5:00pm for a lavish supper because (omg) traffic is delayed again. If you are miserable being a working mother, but think you’d be even more miserable as a stay at home mother—here’s a clue for you…: Don’t be a mother at all.

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