I've never dipped my toes into the murky waters that make up the "Stay-at-Home Mom Vs. Work-Outside-the-Home Mom" debate because I could never see a difference between the two.
To me, if you are a mom, you're working. And it doesn't matter if in addition to being a mom, you also work another job, because you are still a mom. And those that don't have an additional job defined by the receipt of a paycheck on a regular basis? They've got other jobs too. Those are the moms that run the PTA like it's a small business, fundraise, freelance, advocate, volunteer, carpool, and watch other people's kids when they camp out at their house. Every mom is working two or three jobs, people. It could just be that it's not in an office building.
So there. I take no sides in that ill-advised battle. My wish is that all women would just support one another on whatever journey they choose to take.
What really pisses me off? It's when a man wants to step into the fray with a dumb question.
That's what Matt Lauer did this morning when he asked General Motors CEO Mary Barra if she felt she could do both jobs—that of CEO of a company currently embroiled in controversy and that of being a mother—well.
Seriously? You poked the bear, Matt.
WHY in this day and age do we still perpetuate the notion that a woman can not do two things at once, well?
WHY do some people assume that being a mother—a job that doesn't recognize a time clock anyway, requires every single moment of a woman's attention? Or that only the mother can handle every parenting task instead of asking for help from her spouse, family or circle of friends?
WHY would a man in that position not be asked the same question? "Errr, President Obama, do you think you can be a good dad AND president?"
Lauer was lambasted in the media for this line of questioning, and rightfully so. His defense?
"As part of the interview, I referenced this Forbes article where Barra talked about the challenge of balancing work life and home life. She said, “My kids told me the one job they are going to hold me accountable for is mom.” She had just accepted the job as the first female CEO of a major American automotive company, and in the article she said that she felt horrible when she missed her son’s junior prom. It’s an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing. A couple weeks ago, we did a series on “Modern Dads” and the challenges of fatherhood today. Work-life balance was one of our focuses. It’s an important topic, one that I’m familiar with personally, and I hope we can continue the discussion."
As far as I am concerned, the only people, Mr. Lauer, that get to question how well she can do her job as a mom are her kids—and maybe her spouse. And no, Mr. Lauer, you can't relate. Because you don't have ladyparts. And you've never been asked such a ridiculous question. You are not constantly held up to some obscenely high standard, because our culture continues to embrace the notion that it's OK for a guy to go full gear in their career because their wives are responsible for the primary parenting role.
I may not be leaning in as far as Sheryl Sandberg would like, but I respect the concept. A vagina is not a liability, and it shouldn't be treated as such. You can have kids, raise them well, and have other fulfilling work as well—whether that's in the corner office or as a volunteer.
When I'm not annoyed, I usually talk books. I love books. If you'd like to know what I am up to, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
And if you want to blame my poor parenting on something, blame it on the time I spend on Facebook.
Filed under: mumbo jumbo