The untold power of being a working mother is like no other
I am telling my story, and the stories of moms I have had long in-depth conversations about raising their children while holding a career. I am grateful for every experience I have had as a working woman. I’ve had the chance to travel, work with multiple clients, work with TV networks, celebrities and athletes. I am extremally proud of what I have accomplished, yet I am not fulfilled. The juggle is an emotional rollercoaster and the constant push to show others I am capable both as a parent and as an employee never stops. I know I’ve written about it before, but moms are a special breed.
My mom was a working mother of three girls. She was a single parent, with multiple jobs. My mother made sure the house was never dirty, dinner was always made, she did it all. She did it because she wasn’t given a choice and her mother set a high standard. My grandmother stopped her career as a secretary when she married my grandfather to raise a family. In the late ‘50s it was unheard of for a woman to raise a family and have a career, it was one or the other. My grandmother’s house to this day is spotless, and she’s 85 years old (mom-mom you still look 70 to me). The difference between the three generations here are a woman had a place—and at a certain time that was to maintain a home. I wonder who made that up?! Hmmm clear my throat.
It is now 70 some years later than when my grandmother became a mother, and a housewife, yet the expectations of a woman have not changed.
Think about that for a moment.
We can discuss being progressive, privileged and empowered all we want but women are still fighting for equality. Stay with me I’m not going to go on a complete rage about being a woman. I am proud to be a woman, I just hate that I am expected to be the career woman who keeps a clean home, takes care of her husband, laundry, cooking, kids, carpool and every other obstacle I didn’t mention without applause or praise.
Here’s what really kills me…ladies…
A man pushing a stroller.
A man making dinner for his family.
A man picking up his kids up from the sitter.
A man buying feminine products and groceries for his family.
We should not say, wow these women are so lucky. This should be normal. I know many moms who have gone shopping with three kiddos and loaded the car alone. (Raising my hand.) Where is my applause? I just worked eight hours in Philadelphia, drove home, grocery shopped, made dinner, completed baths, and I am the hero, yet I feel like a failure. No one is celebrating the number of things this woman did today.
My husband is great with our children. Early in my career in sports John often picked the kids up from our babysitter, or school. The number of times I was told I was lucky to have him was more than I could count. The people that always told me how wonderful he was were 80 percent female. I am lucky that I have a partner who shares responsibilities with me. In 2022 that is what a marriage and a family should look like.
Growing up I never questioned my peers, my parents, my teachers or anyone in power. I did what I was told, I stood in line, I broke no barriers, I was a good girl. I ask myself now at almost 40, what exactly is a good girl? Who manifested the term, “Good Girl?” As a mother of three young girls, I’m teaching them to be kind, be strong but to push every single boundary they can if they feel they need to. I don’t want my girls to be just good girls, I want them to be strong, independent women too.
The truth is there is no perfect.
If we want to flourish, grow and make a better place for the women to come we need to continue to be the change. Responsibilities and roles need to be shared. We need to think outside the box and get comfortable with the thought of a man running a household while a woman makes a living. This happens, except when it does no one celebrates it. To the working women out there doing it all, I see you, and I applaud you.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.