Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.

Friday, January 28, 2011

21st Century Mom

This afternoon upon departing from school my principal told me I looked like a 21st Century teacher...marking in one arm, snowboard in the other (we took our Grade Five kids up to Whistler the day before for skiing lessons and I had stored my board in his office).  On my way home I got to thinking about what it meant to be a 21st Century Mom.  Of course, this came to me while I was driving from work to daycare, then to the grocery store with Kai before heading home to clean the kitchen and make dinner.  All before Daddy gets home.  Perhaps the 21st Century Mom is a synonym for 'multi-tasker' or 'jack-of-all-trades' (sorry, I just couldn't write Jill-of-all-Trades there...just doesn't sound smooth).

Just as teachers' roles have expanded to include traditional parenting and community responsibilities, mothers' roles now encompass both the literal and metaphorical bread-making.  We have to be at the top of our game at both work and home.  This is not to say we have the short end of the stick, though.  Fathers too are taking on child-rearing and home-caring in addition to their days earning wages.  Although there is a greater balance between men and women in all these tasks than in the past, the shared workload rarely means a smaller workload.  Why is this?

For one thing, my family has chosen to live in an urban environment.  Yes, life costs more here than in the suburbs, but moreover there are more opportunities to purchase entertainment.  Many times I feel blessed to have access to such incredible cultural activities and to introduce my son to such a wide variety of experiences without traveling more than a short walk, bus ride or car ride from home.  Other times, I rue the lack of downtime that seems to be a normality that is created in city living. 

On another note, although the women's liberation movement has made women in the work force an acceptable occupational decision, in many cases it has not taken away the need for someone to fill the duties of the traditional housewife.  Taking care of a home and family is a full-time job.  Earning money to provide for a family and to take care of a home is a full-time job.  Sadly, one full-time income is frequently insufficient.  In comes the challenge of the modern day: how do all the tasks get completed and the responsibilities attended to by two people, when often three people are required?  One person to take care of the home and family, and two people to earn money to support the family.  A simpler lifestyle is a given option.

My challenge is not the income or choosing a simpler lifestyle...although those are both alternatives I need to give some serious consideration.  My challenge is that I love my profession, and I also would love to have more time at home to provide for my family in more basic ways: baking, cooking, cleaning, playing with and teaching my son, creating a home. I am forever indebted to the people who forged the way for women's 'liberation' and opened doors for dads to stay at home with their children, now if only someone could bend time so that I could have the best of both worlds...

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear! It's hard to find the balance especially when you enjoy both your out-of-home profession and the home-making! Every once in a while I feel like I finally have it figured out... and then something changes! Gah. But I do feel blessed to have a shot at making it all work in the first place :) For our family, it had everything to do with being in the right place at the right time. Lucky lucky lucky. I'm not sure how it will all look if/when I decide to re-enter the workforce on a full-time basis.