Monday, April 16, 2018

Even Working Moms on TV Don't Have it All

Being a sensitive person by nature, I always am tearing up or balling over things on TV. But if you are a fan of the show Homeland and you’re a working mom like me, there’s no way you didn’t get a bit choked up over the latest episode - the theme being you can’t be a career woman and a mom at the same time. Especially when you’re the super secretive, terrorism fighting, saving lives, bomb stopping, breaking and entering, seductress, bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison.

Every. Single. Day. I question my life choices. Want to own a home? Need a job. Want to pay for those expensive gymnastics team practices? Need that job to pay well. Need to replace the furnace of said home? Need a job plus a bonus or two for all the extras. Want to have some type of fun with your family? Need a job with vacation time!

Meanwhile I dream of the days when we can “downsize” and live on less when at the same time my husband begs me to drop everything, sell it all, and move. Can you say Island living? If island living has a walk in closet, a maid, and the same conveniences and opportunities for my kids, sign me up!

I have a career that I worked hard for because I had to. Not because I wanted to. However, over the years the want and the need have gone hand in hand. Especially on days when my toddler is driving me batshit crazy and I need a break to talk with grownups. I’m also lucky that I get to work from home, full time, in my mom pants. I can show up at my daughter’s school for all the special events. I can get up early or stay up late to put in hours. All the while my kids stand in my home office just hovering and waiting for attention. You want to be a mom on top of that job - good luck with that!

I don’t care how many articles I read about juggling the two or having it all - you can’t. It’s impossible. You’re always neglecting something; be it the kids, the husband, your work (your sanity!). I once had a mom say to me she doesn’t know how she’s so busy all the time as a stay at home mom. She also went on to say she doesn’t know how I do it all plus a job. I have to say that I’m one of the lucky ones who has a partner that definitely pulls his weight in the household chores category. But everything else a mom and an employee has to handle, I do on my own.

Then I watch this television show where Carrie the magnificent CIA agent is literally saving democracy and having her daughter taken away at the same time. You can’t fight the bad guys and be home in time for school pickup now, can you?! Now I’m not denying that this Carrie chick isn’t a bit nutso because the fact is she is bipolar on the show. Her character is also incredibly talented, intelligent, and super badass. Yet there she is watching her daughter being taken away from her while she jets off to an undisclosed location to, again, save her country for the 18th time at least during the show.

And yes it’s a tv show - I get it. Fiction! But there is no denying that there are some brave women serving our country be it in the military or as a federal agent. Some are most definitely moms as well. Maybe even at some point they had to leave their child for their job and for our country. It really sucks that a working mom has to put work before family.

So as the show rolled to credits, I sat there on the couch and sobbed for Carrie Mathison of Homeland and for all the other women in our world who have such tough decisions every day about how they can be a mom and be badass employees at the same time. I have to decide how much screen time my kids are going to get on snow days when I’m on back to back conference calls all day. I’m not deciding who’s going to be an interim mother while I’m out fighting crime. I don’t have it all that bad compared to the Carrie Mathison’s of the world.

I just find this whole idea that women can have it is all a crock of bullshit with a cherry on top. I have a beautiful, healthy family who I work hard to protect, grow, and take care of. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I know the hardworking men in my life don’t think twice about “having it all” because even if they don’t, they do. There is no stigma around working dads. I’m a working mom who is not getting enough sleep, enough time with her kids, enough time for work, and definitely not enough time with her husband.

I’m a working mom struggling to get it all done, every day. I’m a working mom looking for the light at the end of the tunnel; for a time when I can sleep again. I’m a working mom, just like Carrie Mathison, fighting to survive my life.

 I feel ya, Carrie. I do.

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