Between the Yahoo no-working-at-home kerfuffle and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” movement, there are a lot of people out there giving mothers advice on how and how not to work. So what’s new?
For women, balancing parenting with non-parenting work is a big challenge and will continue to be, as long as we continue to be the gender that gives birth (not gonna change anytime soon) and shoulder most of the childcare responsibility in our society (changing, but slooowwwwly).
One thing that can change: how we talk about our roles. I’m not trying to be Politically Correct when I say that I don’t like the term “working mother.” To me it’s not only redundant, it’s exclusionary, at least the way it’s currently used. Having been both a stay-at-home mom and a work-outside-the-home mom, I contend that both types are “working mothers.” For now, let’s just use the abbreviated “WOHM” and “SAHM.” Maybe not the most elegant terms, but they’re what I’m using until someone (me? you?) comes up with something better.
And while we’re on the subject, please let’s get rid of the phrase “full-time mom.” I became a mom nearly 16 years ago, and I don’t think I’ve been off the clock one day or hour since.
On the Redundancy of the Term “Working Mother”
Whether home-based or job-bound, it’s irking
To suggest other mothers are shirking
Some female ideal —
Can’t the world just get real
And then say that ALL mothers are working?
©2013 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz