Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Exacerbating Discontent

So my earlier post reminded me of something that had been on my mind before.

The part about how I work in a culture where the vast majority of the wives (because I work with primarily men) are SAHMs / housewives.

There have been times in the past when I was lamenting about having to work (particularly when I was struggling thru my depression), when it did occur to me that what if part of the reason I was unhappy in my situation had more to do with the people I was surrounded with, than with my actual situation.

Does that make sense?

Because for 40 hours a week I am surrounded by men who do not seem to comprehend the idea of a wife  (especially a mom) working because her family needs her income.

Now, if I were a high-powered career woman, maybe. There are a very few men here who are married to executives at other companies, doctors, lawyers, etc.

But a "low" paying (it's decent pay, but I'm saying from their perspective) job, not a career? Unheard of.

They simply do not comprehend the struggles of a working mom. They can't. Not only are they not working moms, their spouses aren't either.

These are people who have SAHMs who put their kids in daycare and have a cleaning lady.

The idea of a mom who works full time outside the home, is the primary caregiver of the children, and who handles the household chores is not in their realms of comprehension.

Oh, they know it, as in they know it on the surface. But they have no real understanding of it.

I've been told that leaving to pick up Jena from daycare (because I refuse to leave her there for 10 hours on a regular basis) was at first perceived to be a lack of dedication to my job. Until I explained it to them.

I don't have a spouse or paid nanny to pick up my child. Leaving work after putting in a full day is what I have to do, it's part of my life. I'm not lacking in dedication to my job, I just have a stronger dedication to my child.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've sometimes wondered if I instead worked with a group that was primarily working moms, would my outlook be different? Would I feel more support, and therefore be happier with my situation myself?

In the end, while I don't think you can fully explain my dissatisfaction at working FT outside the home by the co-workers I am surrounded with, I do think it's an environment that exacerbates existing discontent.

What do you think?


S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S said...

You raise some interesting points. I am a full-time working mother myself; I'm a lawyer in private practice. There are (now) two other working mother/lawyers in our office besides me, but the majority of the men who are fathers either have wives who are SAHMs or who work part-time.

I do think that, no matter what the situation, we all have a tendency to view things in comparison to those around us. The majority of my friends who are moms are full-time work-outside-the-home mothers, many of them also lawyers, so that seems "normal" to me.

And while I have, at times, lamented being in my particular job, I have never really lamented having to work.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Great observation! I would have to say that yes our environment does exacerbate our feelings at times. For instance the fact that I am surrounded by liberals doesn't help my outlook on where America is going, even though I KNOW intellectually that more Americans are like me than not.
I guess all we can do is try not to let stuff like this get to us. You are unique in your workplace and that gives you qualities and insight that are valuable. I like the way that you stuck up for yourself when it comes to your child. The more people stand up for themselves in a respectful way, the more people have a chance to see that our values are not all that different deep inside. And if many people are not really thinking through how they treat their kids as it seems, then you just might get them thinking!

Marianne said...

I was always a working mom and jealous of the SAHMs, but working with lots of other working moms over the years always made it easier - they understood!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...