There it was again: the “sting”. Let me explain what I mean. I was talking to another mother about my work and how I manage it all; young children, an 80% work schedule, and a husband who is out-of-town traveling for business most week days. The other mother, who works a 40% schedule, has grown children, and a husband who is home most evenings, asked, "How can you work that much? You don’t have any time with your kids." Ouch. That hurt.
I noticed that I became defensive when I replied to her, “I have time with my kids in the mornings and evenings, on the weekends, and during our joint vacations. And all my female colleagues in the United States work full time, and they often have more children than I do.”
Why did this bother me so much? I think it was because her statement implied a judgement; she does it right, and I do it wrong.
These opinions and judgments often come from mothers who have the luxury to work just a “little” or not at all. And sometimes their judgments contain defensiveness because my situation highlights the fact that they could be working and earning more.
Why can’t mothers respect each others' choices? Why do some feel compelled to provide opinions and even judgments? Do fathers criticize their peers who work full-time and/or travel as part of their jobs?
It makes me sad that women and mothers criticize each others' career choices. Maybe we do it because we sometimes have more choices about our lifestyles. And women probably spend a lot more time than men questioning whether or not we've made the best choices for our families and ourselves.
But, please, do not burden your fellow sisters. Let's support each others' decisions. That would be much more helpful for ourselves, our children, and our society. We're all trying to do the best we can!