Thursday, May 08, 2008

Survey Results

Yesterday I was banging around in the kitchen, getting ready for work. The ever-present sound of NPR provided background for my tasks. Sometimes I pay close attention to the news, sometimes I just like to have it on as white noise. Yesterday I was moving in and out of those two states. "...now over 22,000 confirmed dead in Myanmar...40% chance of afternoon showers...a new poll shows 43% of women would take a pay cut to spend more time with their children..." What? Nothing else on the poll. Just that. I instantly knew I fell into the other 57% but instead of recognizing that I am in the majority, I began to feel guilty.

Guilt is a major component of being a working mother (especially if we were raised Catholic). I think it might be slightly worse for those of us who truly want to work. I don't go to work because I have to pay the mortgage. I mean, I do, I couldn't afford to quit my job. But I go to work because I enjoy the process of work. It's not that I fail to see the myriad wonders parenting affords me, I know that I get as much if not more from my mothering as my kids do. But I look to work as my mode of personal development. I often wish I could linger a bit more at home, hanging out with the kids. And I sometimes get distracted from what I'm doing at my desk by adorable pictures Kate and Sarah. But there is no shred of my being that longs to be with them so much more that I would work for less.

I have no difficulty understanding parents who do want to quit working and raise their kids themselves. I'm just not wired that way. I have always known that. For years and years I thought it meant that I would be a bad mom and should therefore not have kids at all. I thought the fact that I was never baby-crazy was a tell. I thought I should like being pregnant (I hated being pregnant). All those things I thought, that I never quite lived up to, contribute to today's guilt.

I stared at the radio, thinking of the 43% and wondering if any of them lied on the survey. I thought there would be more results from that poll for them to present. I thought they might tell me what percentage of fathers would take a pay cut to spend more time with their kids. As usual, though, it hadn't been a question.

8 comments:

FlapScrap said...

Nice post. Did you write it at work?

LMP said...

Technically, no. I'm working from home today so I can spend less time in traffic and more time with my children.

Anonymous said...

37% of your readers fully support you on this.

The Plaid Sheep said...

Plus, who did they ask? Not you obviously. I've never been asked a poll question in my life. I think they're not asking real people, just some fake people they keep in a closet for the purpose of poll answering.

Chaotic Joy said...

I wonder if they asked which percentage of stay at home moms fantasize about the day they will get to go back to work. But I expect I am the only one who would admit to that.

Anonymous said...

kids need alone time to.

Epiphany Alone said...

I'm with Joy. I was excited to hear today that my district will be extending Pre-K full day from half day for those willing to pay $600/mo...

*pab said...

amen, sister.