Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
I almost prefaced this article by saying “I love my child”. It seems normal for women of all ages and creeds to apologize for wanting more freedom. Which is why before we say anything that may be seen as “unmotherly”, we start the conversation with “I love my child but…”. And I guess I am no different. I love being a mom. And although barely two years old. My daughter is one of my favorite people to hang out with. However as someone who works from home I am often left with the task of picking up the pieces, entertaining our daughter and just overall home stuff when my husbands work calls. Which, if I am being honest, of the time is A LOT.
This means that even though I have high aspirations for my work and job. I am often left doing just what is required (if that) and having to be content with that. Here’s the thing though. I love my job. I love writing, dissecting women’s lived experiences and creating. Because whilst motherhood is a big part of my identity, so is self sufficiency and work. And beyond that I have dreams and things that I want to do which given my current financial standing and that of my husband are difficult. Not because we don’t have anything but because for instance I would like more. More life. More travel, more good wine, and more property (I have dreams of buying and renovating properties). Something that given the income and time, I would do in a heart beat. However life often calls.
From house chores, to being the obvious choice for late night wakings when our daughter is sick, unhappy or just decides she wants to play at 3am. Or in my current situation, when she is on school holidays and someone needs to take care of her. This all leads to a very full and tiring plate. Especially when friends and family alike do not see how stretched I am. Because in their minds only my husbands work is of value as he is the big earner. But as I sit and watch him work while I try to type while taking care of our toddler. I just can’t help but think how much more I could do with my work and in my career if given the opportunity to work and focus solely on my work like he does and can without judgment. Knowing full well that my child is safe, loved and taken care of.
It is indeed a question I think many women ask themselves. Perhaps even those who work in offices but are still somehow the primary EVERYTHING. It is a lot, it is tiring and it is often thankless and overlooked. And even though on a ranking of present and active partners, my husband ranks high. In comparison (although I hate comparing), I do actually do waaaaay more. And this is also in part my own doing. As I also see his job as more important and sacrifice myself and my well being so that he can work. So whilst to the outside world I live a charmed life not having office hours or colleagues I do’t like. There is so much more to it than meets the eye. And I am realizing that something has got to change. what exactly? I al not sure, but something for sure.