Recently in the news, the Pew Research Center found that in 40% of American households, women were the primary breadwinners. However, most of these women were single mothers. After reading the article in the Washington Post, I went on to read the comments section to see what were people’s reactions. The responses were divided mostly into those praising women for their accomplishments and others expressing their concern over the rise of the number of single mothers and how children should have at least one parent at home.
I struggle with those same conflicting feelings and it was really highlighted when I got the results of Katherine’s gifted and talented test results. Fortunately, she qualified but when I looked at some of her achievement scores, 4 out of the 6 sections were in the 70th percentile. I wasn’t too disappointed, just realized there are some areas that might need some work. But when I told my mother (who happens to be very Chinese when it comes to education), she said, “Well, I don’t want to make you feel bad and it’s not really your fault, but when you guys were young, I spent a lot of time working with you kids at home.” Which really meant that it was my fault because I was working a full time job and not teaching Katherine at home.
I think my mom saw the conflict as well because she wasn’t telling me to quit my job to be a stay at home mom. She really didn’t have an answer as to what to do and most of the time she is full of answers. She was a stay at home mom for 10 years and after getting a divorce she went back to working two part time jobs. She didn’t make that much money and we never saw her much. The lesson to be learned was “Never depend on a man.” So here I am, not depending on a man, even supporting a man through the early stages of a business, and somehow I still haven’t gotten it right.
I don’t know that I could ever be a full time stay at home mom. I love what I do. I know I am helping people and it is incredibly satisfying. I spent a lot of time and money getting here, and right now, I don’t have a choice. But I love my children more than anything in the world and no one is going to be able to raise them better than me. So on any given day, you could find me on either side of the opposing views in the comments section of the Washington Post. It just depends on how much time I’ve spent with my kids the day before.
Will I ever find the right balance? Does society allow for such a balance? I guess for now, my internal conflict will just have to continue…
- Working moms are now main breadwinners in a record 40 percent of US households with children (Washington Post)