As we’re shoveling our way through another snow filled cluster f%@k of a week, I am pondering my worth. Not as a mom or a wife, because I know I rock the shit out of those roles. But my worth as a worker.
I recently read this article about women being punished in their careers for being moms. Really good one, you should read it. I learned a little something: Did you know that a woman’s earnings decrease by 4% for every child she bears, while post kids, men’s earnings increase by about 6%? Is it because the more kids we have, the crazier our lives become and something’s gotta give? Does work suffer when a woman becomes a mom? I think maybe, in my case, it does.
Let’s face it: On paper, becoming a mom made me an awful employee. I take sick days when my child is sick. And then I take sick days when I catch what she had. I take sick days when it snows, again, and school is canceled. I’m late to work on those delayed openings days. (Hell, I’m late to work on regular days.) I leave work early to get to doctor’s appointments for my child, or for school events. I play calendar gymnastics during school vacations and plans don’t always work out. I’ve even had to drag my daughter to work on a few rare occasions. There are days when I’ve been so tired, I’ve caught myself falling asleep at my desk. Somehow, I make it work. Does that mean I deserve to be paid less than a man in the same circumstances?
How many of us are out there who can’t give work our all because there is just nothing left to give? I feel like I fall into that category several days a week. It’s not that I don’t do my job. I do and I’m darn good at it. I’m not a slouch. But I don’t exactly put in any extra effort. Because there is no extra. Am I missing out on opportunities in my career because I can’t give anymore?
Maybe I do deserve that “less than” status because I’m a mom. There are others out there who work harder than I do, sure. In all honesty though, I think I deserve a medal for getting my job done well given that I burn the candle at both ends most of the time. I’m glad I show up with pants on and matching shoes every day, ready to contribute to the best of my ability. So what if “best” is a moving target right now? This career, this life of working and being a mom, is a marathon, not a sprint. I just have to find my stride to make it through this rough uphill part. Maybe I’ll start to coast when I get the balance between being a mom and being a great employee figured out.