Wednesday, April 18, 2012

But I Am a Mom!


There's been an increase in activity in the "mommy wars" lately, and I can't help but read every article I come across on the topic. It's not just the working outside the home mom/stay at home mom issue, there have been so many little items out there to slam moms and make us feel judged by others. I've kept silent on it, but this latest post is just too ridiculous not to address.

The post in question is this one, "Keeping Baby Off Of Facebook, For Your Own Good". It's not the typical privacy rant about how we're ruining our kids lives by posting things about them online (and I don't want to get into that subject here), but instead about how women are hurting their professional careers by admitting to motherhood.

Wow. If you can somehow work and keep the fact that you have a child unknown, and you're not some downstairs maid at Downton Abbey, then you have my sincere admiration. Somehow, you never impacted your career during pregnancy. Or maybe you started a new job right after giving birth? And you must have that miracle of a child that never has a sick day, never has a school vacation, never has an in-school event you have to attend? Or your support network is just that robust that you never have to acknowledge the kid at all? Or maybe you're just a really amazing liar then, with an excuse for every occasion?

I am immensely proud to be a mother, especially one in my male-dominated industry. I have multiple pictures of the kids on my desk, and kid art projects too. I openly discuss childcare with anyone who asks, and everyone here knows that my kids are my priority. Studies upon studies, like the article cites, may prove that all this is to my disadvantage. But in the long term, in my own small way, aren't I paving the way for the changes that need to happen in this arena? Why hide this aspect of yourself, instead of challenge the bias that I'm less competent because I'm also a mother? Of course, be smart about it - maybe don't post the videos of your extended sessions of baby talk, or photos of you with spit up in your hair, but were you really going to do that anyway?

I hope that anyone who has (had the pleasure of) employed(ing) me has been able to judge me on the contributions I have made to our workplace. If anything, I want them to think that I'm an amazing employee on top of being an amazing mother. We shouldn't be encouraging other mothers to limit those sides of who they are (or worse, scaring them out of the workplace altogether). We should be proving ourselves every day as both competent employees and human beings in general. Human beings who have children and post pictures of them on Facebook. And in their cubicles.

Friday, April 13, 2012

And It's Just the 13th.

I took this picture on March 30, looking ahead at the month of April on my beloved Google Calendar. I live and die by this calendar; I keep it open all day at work, and often check it again in the evenings too. April looks particularly garish because of my pink-colored "Jewish Holidays" calendar, when Passover and Omer Day counts take over. But this month feels like one big logistical nightmare.

It started with a particularly hectic April Fool's Day, where Marc and I headed in different directions with one kid each. The day as scheduled was a lot, but suddenly became even more when our refrigerator started to whine. Gratefully, Ana was able to help us store hundreds of dollars of Kosher for Passover food, but the rest of the contents of the fridge became a total loss. During a middle of the night low blood sugar episode, I tweeted "The chirp of my broken refrigerator is the quietest, saddest sound I've ever heard." Luckily, it was repairable, but the loss of time and money that week added a great amount of stress to my life...

Fortunately, it was balanced to a great degree by an amazing training course I participated in that week on cultural awareness. The first day was spent looking at some of the biases we as Americans hold, and then I spent two more afternoons learning about the cultures of China, Japan and Korea. The discussions were fascinating and it was so energizing to think about some of the aspects of my job in a new way. I'm really glad I got the opportunity to participate...

Except that it meant a huge amount of time spent not doing my actual job. Admittedly, right after a quarter ends is not the best time to hold a training, as that's usually my busiest time, but I had no control over that. Plus my office was closed for Good Friday, which was really great because I got to take the kids to the dentist before...

We headed to Hartford for Passover at Fillis and John's with Marc's extended family. It was so great to see Rachel, Jon, Nate and Evie and the kids had such a ball being together. We had two great seders in which all of the kids participated. Hannah did the four questions, read aloud in English when her turn as a "participant" came up, and played Dayenu on the piano. Max, Nate and Evie loved singing "No, no, no, I will not let you go!" and whatever bits of Hebrew they could muster. We ate well and went to the playground and did some shopping and Marc and I even got to sleep very well in a beautiful hotel room...

And it didn't seem fair when we all had to go back to work and school on Monday. But back to the routine we went, except a modified Passover edition of the routine with extra lunch and snack packing and a bit of crabbiness over carbohydrate withdrawal (my own, really). And insulin guesstimates that left me with a strange high. And a Yom Hashoah committee meeting that left me simultaneously depleted and inspired. And still trying to catch up on all my quarter-end work. And The Back being a bit touchy. And finally getting back to my personal trainer after three weeks away and realizing just how much I wanted to be there. And seeing that it's been two weeks since posting here and trying to cram this in over lunch.

So yea, life's been a little busy. The rest of the month doesn't look much lighter, and I'm a little stressed out about how to make June work now that school is getting out a week earlier than usual (damn lack of snow days) (but we'll work it out). Next week Hannah has school vacation, and I took Monday off to spend it with her (Marc took off today to spend it with Max, since the JCC was closed for the end of Passover). We're making it work, all the balls are still up in the air, but I'm a bit tired. And it's just the 13th.

How are all of you?