17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Not so Fulltime Mom

My description for the blog says I've added fulltime motherhood to a fulltime career, but six months later, I can tell you that's bunk! I don't know if there is a way to be a "fulltime" mother while working outside the home even 30 hours a week, but I certainly haven't figured it out. Thank goodness for the love and work of a good man.

I had originally planned to title this post "50/50" and talk about the joy of sharing parenthood, but it didn't take too much pondering to figure out that there is nothing 50/50 about the breakdown of the parenting in our family. I really, really hope that I'm doing 40%, but I suspect even that may not be true. JD is a graduate student, so he's not totally fulltime either, but because of our schedules, he simply takes care of the girl more than I do.

And I'm fine with it. In fact, I'm very grateful that JD is willing to provide quality childcare for now and remove the stress of worrying about who is caring for my child. The advantages are many, but I'm most grateful for the overall feeling that I don't have to have all the answers. My friends and their husbands expect the mom to take care of any grouchiness, any fussing, any misbehaving on the part of their children. The father tends to serve in this auxillary role. That is simply not the case for us, which is what works for us. (My friends are at different levels of comfort with their husbands' participation.)

There is one disadvantage to this system: economics. Living on only one salary in NYC is slowly killing us, especially on my salary!

So, I'm not a fulltime mom. There, I said it. Feel free to adjust the description of "newmom."

7 Comments:

  • ((newmom)) What an awesome post! Thank you for sharing that. I'm in the same boat - DH only works 4 hours a day and is home with the kids all day while I'm working. Not traditional, but it works for us right now.
    posted by Blogger Island Queen at 5/21/2006 03:57:00 PM  



  • Thanks for sharing these thoughts newmom. JD is so great with with AF. What a great blessing for her to be able to spend such quality and quantity time with her father.

    While some women might in fact push their husbands into an auxillary role based on their own comfort level with such participation, but I think for many couples, it comes down to time available - just like it is for you--just reversed.

    A 50/50 parenting-breadwinning combo sounds great to me, but there are not many jobs out there where this is even close to possible. My DH takes an auxillary role because his profession requires him to work--a lot. When he is home, he really wants to pull his 50% but because he doesn't know schedules, routines, cues, as well as I so, a lot of times I just end up taking care of things myself.

    I am trying to be better at keeping him caught up with these things so he can more easily join into the flow when he's home. I also know I can always do better at letting him parent in his own way. I would also love to see a bigger movement toward family friendly work alternatives.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 5/21/2006 04:43:00 PM  



  • I always assumed that my family would be less traditional than it has turned out to be... DH is 100% present when he is at home....but the majority of childcare and house work falls on me...something I swore I would never do.

    Newmom, I know that your setup isn't easy or perfect, but it is a pretty great model of how a non-traditional family can thrive. You and JD deserve a lot of praise for making it work...and AF will reap the benefits.

    Not to mention I still get teary-eyed thinking about JD taking care of AF...especially when she was so itty-bitty.

    I have to keep telling myself that roles do evolve with time and as life situations change. DH keeps
    telling me he wants to stay home with the kids in a few years. Yeah....when the kids are in school all day....so he can watch SportsCenter and drink rootbeer while I'm slaving away at the office? No way! I think we're going to have to adopt a non-traditional model that involves both of us working.

    Newmom, does JD ever hand over the baby to you after a long day at home with her and say, "I need to get out of here for a couple of hours."...like I did/still do? Just wondering. Maybe men are better at this role than "tradition" dictates....
    posted by Blogger Jen at 5/21/2006 05:54:00 PM  



  • Oh, and p.s. We can change your personal description from "added fulltime motherhood to a fulltime career" to "spends 39% of her time mothering and 61% of her time working" but that just doesn't sound right either (and it's not quite as catchy) ;)
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 5/21/2006 06:26:00 PM  



  • One of the primary reasons that I decided that going back to grad school this fall would be good not just for me but also for our little family was that ANM will be spending half of every day with the baby. I love being the mom and taking care of my sweet boy, but I want ANM's parenting experience to be more than taking the baby out of sacrament meeting when he gets fussy. It just seems like having two part-time stay-at-home parents is ideal for us in so many ways--at least for right now.

    In short: thanks for this post.
    posted by Blogger a. nonny spouse at 5/21/2006 10:02:00 PM  



  • Reading your post and all the percentage discussion made me think of a pie chart. I imagine a pie chart of what equals 100% of parenting, and on any given day really the pie chart changes drastically. Yes maybe there are always the standards of feeding, clothing, and cleaning....but everything else is up and down and in and out based on the child's needs, illness, work demands, church callings etc. Thus making the pie chart, over time, a kaleidescope of percentages and needs and ebbs and flows. And for my family that means Dad 100% of the time sometimes, Mom 100% of the time, and various other caregivers. A kaleidescope is so beautiful and interesting, I am totally ok with it being this way. As Tim Gunn would say (on Project Runway), we make it work.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 5/22/2006 04:26:00 AM  



  • I miss the days when my husband and I were more equals in regards to our work/home balance. DH took care of DS during his first year of life and I know that bond can never be replicated. Even working his long hours he still is really good about picking up where I left off with the kids (although he never mastered the housework :( ). I am grateful that he provides well for our family, but his ridiculous hours make us all miss him at home. I love Kages analogy and think that our choices need to be fluid to meet the needs of our family.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 5/22/2006 07:27:00 AM  



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