The world is in a phase of social deconstruction. Relative to the entire timeline of humanity it’s pretty new, but relative to our lifetimes this evolution has been happening for generations. We’re deconstructing our world views, gender views, nationalist views, racial views. Everything. It’s healthy and it’s painful and it’s disruptive.
We’re in an interesting place right now because we’re still ripping up the old systems and we really haven’t yet established new ones. It’s painful to acknowledge that the old, flawed systems, some of them, served necessary functions for society. Today we’re talking about working moms, so let’s look at that.
Division of labor in the home seems oppressive now, but from an evolutionary standpoint it was a smart survival technique. Humans were not always able to leverage technology in order to get necessary work done and most men are biologically more equipped for hard manual labor.
Leaving someone at home to protect and care for progeny while another hunted, scavenged, farmed, fought, etc. helped our species continue. This is not an inherently oppressive system. It makes sense. And is in fact exactly what we do in the modern corporate world. You hire people who have specific specialties and divvy up tasks based on individual strengths.
However, you don’t need me to tell you that due to human nature this system was made oppressive for all kinds of reasons like ego, religion, etc etc. And in many societies, for a very long time, men became “superior” and women “inferior”. Men – owners, women – property. This played out in all kinds of ways and now here we are in 2016 ripping that kind of thinking out of our societies.
Women are refusing to be made to feel inferior. It’s liberating and it’s empowering and it’s exhausting.
Yup. There it is. It’s EXHAUSTING. Because we haven’t figured out a support system for this new way to be. We’re literally figuring out how to make this work every. step. of. the. way.
The argument is playing out across the internet:
“You can have it all!”
“We can’t possibly have it all!”
And the real truth is, we don’t know. We know that one person can only do so much and being a mother, a wife, an employee, and a person isn’t possible without support or superpowers.
For now, if we can afford it, we pay for support. Or if we’re lucky enough to have family for support, then we have that. But it’s still not ideal, the costs of childcare are astronomical and in America our screening for caregivers is often not up to parent’s standards. Employers are largely puzzled by how to handle all things relating to maternal employees.
Here’s what I hear over and over again from other moms though, “I hope that things will be different by the time our daughters are mothers.”
That’s where we have to focus. When we advocate for a better social structure that benefits mothers, we aren’t really advocating for ourselves. By the time any meaningful change happens I likely will not be having children. But my daughter may. Your son might.
Just like prior generations were advocates for a change that tore apart what was detrimental, we have to advocate for building up something that is beneficial.
Working moms – we’re social pioneers. Let’s get to work building something better for the next generation of parents.