I mostly liked this piece in yesterday’s NYT Style section.
My only complaint is about in this paragraph:
“Summer is a recharge time because you don’t have all the after-hours responsibilities of spending time with your family,” she said. “When you’re a mom and you work, it’s hard to take time for yourself.”
Does anything strike you as odd? I think replacing the word “mom” with “parent” would be a huge improvement.
We have a fairly nontraditional house in some respects–or maybe it’s “new traditional”. That is to say, we are equal co-parents. I get a lot of “down time” thanks to my husband. He gets time on his own too. But the latter kind of goes without saying, right? It’s not taken for granted in our household–there’s no assumption that he gets “boys’ night out” without checking with me. It goes both ways. I guess with two working parents, it’s easy to insist on equal rights.
The “Mad Men” discussion in the article is interesting–instead of moms taking the kids out of the city for the week, leaving the dads to go to work and visit the family on the weekends, it’s the dads who leave the moms to their work.
And the moms fully admit what we any parent discovers–that working, without the “second shift” of child care, is more or less a vacation. The cartoon accompanying the piece shows the working mom arriving at the end of the week, and the exhausted dad handing the kids off to her.
It’s great to see this honesty. It has always bothered me that paid work “counts” in a way that parenting doesn’t. I remember going back to my paid job after maternity leave and, while I ached for my son painfully, I also delighted in the ability to make AND DRINK a cup of tea. I didn’t have to have a big strategy mapped out in order to eat or pee.
This summer, my husband and kids spent a lovely week in the cool Colorado Rockies while I toiled at home in the desert. Whine, whine, whine. In truth, I asked to stay here. For me, a week of work, without the second shift, was my vacation. Yeah, I missed my family, of course! Toward the end of the week I was getting restless to see them. But I was also wistfully thinking “only two more nights of eating cheese and fruit for dinner…only two more nights of going to bed at 7 with a book, and waking at 2am to see the stars, then back to sleep until it’s time to go to work…”
I was acutely aware of the way in which work can feel very much like a vacation.
It’s disappointing that it wasn’t until the roles are reversed, as in the New York Times piece, that we are able to acknowledge this.