Yesterday, there was a post on Mom-101 that I thought about all day long. In The unspoken truths of mothers on top, Liz wrote about the challenges of being a mom who is the primary breadwinner married to the stay at home dad trying to work, explore your passion, and feed your family. Uh…sounds familiar.
While a lot of her post was about being an entrepreneur in that situation, what resonated with me was when she talked about how we don’t TALK about this, in blogland in particular. Some of that is because a lot of the mommy blogging community is made up of stay at home moms. Some of that is because lots and lots of bloggers (male & female) don’t/won’t talk about their jobs. Some of it is because it’s one of the conversations you have, as Liz said, behind closed doors with someone in your similar situation “and in hushed whispers, describe the fears and the burdens and the exhaustion and the secret, horrible anxiety of what ifs.”
I know that sometimes part of my stress is the inability to talk about it with someone who understands. Oh, I can talk to my husband, but he’s the other side of the equation. I’ve spoken on a rare occasion with my boss–who is in a strikingly similar situation to mine (minus the blogging)–but, well, she’s my boss. And while I will gladly discuss it with anyone who is interested, there is that level of UNDERSTANDING, of been-there-ness, that I yearn for. I find myself following bloggers who are in similar shoes so I can feel a little less alone. But I’ll be honest, even those I find rarely talk about it. I know I talk about it some, but I’m more likely to talk about my job than I am the ins and outs of the multiple hats I wear.
One of the reasons that everyone says mommy blogging has become so popular is that it was and is an outlet to connect mothers–that group that typically isn’t pronouncing their day from the rooftops–who felt isolated by the work of mothering. It created groups of communities where you could talk about shared struggles, milestones, stresses and joys. Mommy blogging lets you celebrate and commiserate about motherhood.
But that tribe of us that works, and mining that even further into those of us that work while our significant other stays home, we stay silent on a lot. We continue to connect about the mothering part of our lives, but it seems like the other areas, well those don’t bring in the traffic the same way. It’s easier to talk about the toddler who is teething than it is to talk about how, just once, you wish you could make it to a library story time. It’s easier to talk about the newest wordpress plugin you’re in love with than it is to talk about how you make time to blog while working full time with a family. It’s easier to talk about how awesome a dad your husband is than it is to talk about the challenges of living with gender role reversals. It’s easier to talk about the highs and lows of being a mom than it is to talk about the highs and lows of being an employee, breadwinner, career woman, who is also a wife, who is also a mom.
And let’s be honest. It’s easier to daydream about winning the lottery/starting your own business/making it big as a blogger.
I struggle, a lot, with my work/mom/life balance. It’s hard not to–my job is completely insane, my little boy is the light of my life, and I am surrounded both online and off by people who have freedoms that I can only dream about. But I also know that I’ve worked hard for my career. I think occasionally about leaving publishing if only for the financial advancement opportunities, and it makes me sad every time I do. And I know that I have things others long for: grown up conversation, a place to pee in private, a sense of accomplishment that is only about me and my success. I also know that my job–infuriating though it can be–provides me with the means to take care of my family, to let our little boy grow up in the way that we think best, and to give my husband the time and space he needs to build his art career (though he gets decidedly less done with a toddler around. Let’s be honest.). Do I wish I were the one at home sometimes? I do. But I also know that life is a series of choices–and mine brought me to this place where I get some of what I want and have to compromise on the rest.
I just wish we talked about it more. I wish it were easier to find this tribe. I love having the MOM tribe to poll, commiserate and laugh with. I would love to have that same feedback on that OTHER part of my life. We’re out there, I know we are–I just wish we talked more.