So true story! I’m a feminist.
Which means I champion all women. Yes, even the misogynists because even those women haven’t had it easy. They’ve had it just as tough as me. And sometimes tougher.
But as God as my witness, I didn’t always feel the need to acknowledge internalized misogyny. I actually didn’t feel the need to acknowledge it at all.
Until I became a victim to it. Until women failed to understand me. Until the same women that I thought I was paving the way for called me a bad mother and a disconnected wife.
This blog is full of how I’m not a super mom and neither are you. No one is a super hero. We are all trying to live our best life. We are all trying to give our families the best life we can.
But this will become repetitive if I continued to ask politely to evaluate our behaviors towards working moms so this is a very straightforward account of some things that you shouldn’t ever say to a working mom.
1. So you probably don’t get to spend a lot of time with your kids!
Unless you want my gloves to come off and my proverbial claws to show, don’t say this. These are strong words. I’ve seen many a fight erupt between women over this and stay at home moms invariably win by sheer force of their validity to everyone as the better mothers. But not anymore! Working moms are recognizing a million ways in which they are there for their kids also and sacrifice just as much.
2. You have so much help. I don’t have any help.
This isn’t a friendly observation but it’s an observation nonetheless. Don’t make it. It’s demeaning and pointless. Of course I have so much help. Do you think I’m going to work like a dog all day long at work and then come home to work like an ass for the rest of the evening? Can you even imagine what my backlog of laundry, kids homework, dirty dishes and cleaning would look like if someone didn’t do it all while I’m at work? If you can imagine it then don’t say things that are obvious and cause some form of frisson of guilt in the person who is totally justified in using someone’s help.
3. I work too. I’m just not paid:
This is simplistic, crass and downright unfair to say. Of course you work for your home which can’t be a paid job even if you wanted it to be. The dishes you do, the laundry you do, the homework you help with, the entertaining you do as a hostess are not paid jobs for anyone. Do you think I get paid to host parties at my place over the weekend? Or do I get paid to have sex with my husband when my bones are tired but I have to have some semblance of a happily married life? I get paid for working a job that is a paid job. Using ignorant analogies won’t shift the balance in your favor. They will just create resentment and unnecessary argument.
4. I’m not acknowledged because I don’t bring home a paycheck:
I agree with this one. Your angst and anger at this one is completely justified. Very justified. But let me ask you! Besides speaking with and shaming working moms by using this really painful line, have you ever spoken with your significant other about it? Have you ever talked to the system that’s not empowering you? A working mom down the street didn’t take acknowledgment from you. Your family, kids, husband, parents and in-laws should acknowledge you. To be honest, I don’t get acknowledged for every single thing either and I bring home money. So there’s that! Welcome to patriarchy 101! Long way to go!
5. You can do whatever you want:
Actually, I can’t! Not anymore than you can. This idea that working women have unlimited time, money and help at their disposal is wrong. A dual provider household is a tough thing to manage. Because I work, I hire help more also. Because I hire help, I spend more money on that also.
I also work under stress, meet deadlines and have a life that’s sometimes a real drudgery. I am responsible for bills and fees. I am still responsible for my kids’ academics and what they’ll eat at night. My household is egalitarian but not so much that there is no patriarchy.
So we both have patriarchy. You have it. I have it. Some days I have it more. Some days you have it more. But we can take care of the misogyny, particularly internalized misogyny. That we can truly get rid of.