“The term “Working Mother” is redundant.” This statement was etched into a wooden decoration that I would always keep at my computer desk, getting a few laughs every now and then by coworkers who passed by. I can’t help but think how many of those giggles were fueled by a true belief and understanding.
How do you define the “working mother“? Is it the woman dropping her kids off at daycare on the way to her 9-5? The CEO with a Nanny at home because of her demanding schedule? Is it the entrepreneur rocking her baby to sleep while doing her social media networking? Or how about the stay-at-home mom tackling the load of household chores staring at her every morning? If you take the time to try to put a definitive label behind this phrase, you will be brewing more than just one pot of coffee…
Just for fun though, let’s break it down.
The English Dictionary defines “working” in the adjective form as “having paid employment“. When viewing it in the noun form, it is defined as “the act of doing work” or my favorite, “the way a machine, organization, or system operates“.
Mother, of course, is much less complex. As a noun, “mother” refers to “a woman in relation to her child or children“, and as a verb to “bring up (a child) with care and affection“.
As with any word, each person relates their own definition or idea to each. Some only associate working with monetary gain, while others gauge amount of effort and accomplishment over reward. And we all know the natural occurrence of a “mother” in relation to biology, but there are those of us who know of a mother whose care and affection reached beyond any existence of blood. This is where understanding intellectual differences and close-minded stereotypes meet.
Maybe you never even realized exactly how close-minded you actually are on the subject. It would be a contradiction to say one’s opinion on the subject is wrong… right and wrong are imaginary words here. Close-minded, in this case, refers to the instinctive response to the question as one specific “genre” of mothers…. as though the “working” mother has somehow become it’s own “class”. How simple it would be to stop shaming every exhausted, hardworking mom that “gets to stay at home all day in her PJ’s” or no longer point the bitter finger at the mom who has the “less demanding lifestyle” because they’re lower on the corporate totem pole? What if those women became a system or organization that operates slightly different from you? Did you have a large to-do list in your planner today? So did the mom at home. Are you in charge of an important financial system? So is she. Did you have a stressful week training high level executives? I’d say the entry level manager did as well, having to restaff her store in less than 48 hours due to a walk-out.
I am a mother with a full time career, juggling both worlds on a daily basis. The mom sitting behind me in a restaurant is a stay-at-home mom, in charge of all aspects of her household. The woman in line ahead of me at the grocery store is a single mom, working a part-time job while putting herself through school to accomplish her career goals. We are Momagers. No matter the variety in our “organizations”, complete with our own system of tasks…. we are hardworking moms, managing the true “working mother” lifestyle.