The working mother fallacy

Michelle Williams recently said she thinks the “working mother thing is kind of a fallacy,” and added that “it’s hard to do both things well.”

But she followed it up by saying that she worries her life “might end as a pile of dishes” if she doesn’t start making movies again.
This may sound like a contradition, but I think it’s how a lot of mothers — and soon-to-be mothers feel. 
You want both — a great career and children — but you can’t do both well, so you might try being at stay-at-home-mom, but then you think about the sparking career you just abandoned .. and you’re back to square one: trying to do both, and feeling like you’re not doing either that well.
For the first four-and-a-half years of my life, my mom stayed at home with me. She took me places, played with me, sewed adorable outfits and coats, and thought up fun art projects for us.
My parents divorced shortly after Little Sis was born, and then my mom began working full-time. She was — still is — amazing at her career, which is often very demanding and requires a lot of traveling. 
I don’t remember what it was like to have a stay-at-home mom, and grew up thinking that everyone’s mom was a high-flying businesswoman. Best Friend’s mom is also very successful, and we thought nannies were the norm!
My mom went back to work because she had to — not because she want to. And while she enjoys her job, who knows if she would have been happier staying at home for those extra few years while my sister was so young?
I always imagined I’d be a career mom, too, since it was the only thing I knew. But as I get closer to having children of my own, every single part of me wants to stay at home with them. I know it would mean making sacrifices and living on less money, but I truly believe it would be worth it.
I know our financial situations could change in a heartbeat, and could prevent me from staying home any longer than my maternity leave. Or I could miss my career, and choose to go back to work before my kids are in school.
But my biggest fear right now is that I will want to stay home with our kids so much, and be forced to put them in daycare while I trudge off to work. The thought of it breaks my heart already.
I want it to be a choice, not a necessity.

2 Comments on “The working mother fallacy

  1. Great Post lacey!I loved how you have put it there “to have a choice rather than a necessity”I am a big advocate of flexible work schedules and part-time work for working mothers to “balance” work and family.. I have been at full time work for quite some time and came to a conclusion that working full-time I just cannot have the ‘balance’ that I seek. Work is demanding and so is family life with kids, to enjoy both we have to give up on something at both ends.. and there is where the balance lies.I expressed some similar thoughts at a post some time back: http://careerbright.blogspot.com/2008/02/choice-and-freedom-to-work-on-flexible.htmlMaybe you and your readers will find it interesting!Thanks for having me in your faves list..And good wishes to you and your new blog! many working mothers will agree with what you say here.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. It is definitely all about choice, and I’m hoping I’m able to do what feels right for me and my family — rather than be forced one way or another.

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