Society has done a pretty bang-up job of framing gender-defined parenting roles. How we talk about motherhood makes it all the more apparent that, even though it’s 2015, we’re still living in an outdated version of mom life. Mothers are expected to discuss the reasons why they chose to work after they had a child, essentially proving to whoever that they can, in fact, do both. It's a foregone assumption that being a mother somehow makes you a bad employee, and being an employee somehow makes you a bad mother.
This is a struggle (and by "struggle" I mean "infuriating, seemingly insurmountable fact about modern society") that working mothers know all too well.
Fathers, on the other hand, are praised when they come home from a full day’s work and engage with their children. A dad changed one diaper? WOW. A father woke up for a late-night feeding? NO WAY. He’s amazing. He's so loving. That mom is so lucky to have him and his help.
The double-standards are everywhere:
- Mothers are expected to “bounce back” from their pregnancies, a phrase that implies the body’s natural reaction to all that life growing somehow “ruins” it. Women are fed “tips” and fad diet and shortcuts, all so they can squeeze their life-giving hips into those size 2 jeans as soon as humanly possible, while fathers are revered for their “dad bods”, a trend that celebrated the extra pounds men tend to pack on after becoming a parent. The physical reaction they have to parenting seems to be representation of their commitment to their role as a father, while a mother’s is just laziness or proof she has “given up”.
- Mothers are inundated with "secrets" on how to "have it all". How can we possibly balance work and parenting and the tiny details of life, simultaneously?! On the other hand, fathers aren't told to worry about balancing their day-to-day obligations. Everyone assumes they either A) just are inherently more capable of juggling their many responsibilities; B) don't deal with that silly child-rearing stuff; or C) not as susceptible to being marketed to from a "your life is an unmanageable sh*t show so you should probably buy our product to help you deal" angle.
And the list goes on, and on, and on.
As you’ve probably surmised, my reaction to this double-standard is one of anger and frustration. Thankfully, a Twitter account has found a more productive—and substantially more hilarious—way to deal with all the ridiculous things mothers are told. Parenting world, I give you @manwhohasitall: a parody account that highlights all the bullsh*t things mothers are told about juggling work, self-care and parenthood in general.
When someone asks me if I feel guilty for being a working mom and I want to do this...
...I can, instead, look at this and have myself a healthy chuckle.
When I'm told all that working mom stress will negatively effect the way I look, and I want to do this...
...I just head on over to the twitter sphere, and lovingly gaze at this:
When I'm constantly congratulated for balancing work and my kid and my relationship and my household chores, and understandably want to do this...
...I, instead, take a look at what my favorite and hard-working satirist has to say about it.
When I hear someone like Rep. Jason Chaffetz tell someone like Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, that he won't be taking it easy on her "just because she's a woman", and I want to do this...
...I make myself feel better and, instead, read this:
And, finally, when celebrity mothers are hailed as "inspirational" for simple being, well, mothers, and I definitely want to do this...
...I gain a little perspective with a lovely tweet, like this:
Being a mother means you're constantly being told a lot of ridiculous things, but have no fear, @manwhohasitall is here. At least we have these satirical gems to help us make it through our shower-free, completely stress-filled and otherwise impossible days of "having it all."
Images: Fotolia; Giphy(5)