“Dear Brave Man…”
The vast majority of women with children struggle to find the balance between the roles of mother and provider. For most, given the cost of living, the option of not working isn’t even on the table. A recent study shows that 29 percent of mothers in the United States stay at home with their children. So for most mothers, striking a balance between career, kids, child-care costs, and the family budget is an ongoing struggle.
Recently, Today FM radio announcer Susan Keogh, from Kildare, Ireland, was trolled by a man who suggested that she quit her job if she missed her child. Keogh couldn’t believe his brash, narrow-minded insensitivity, so she responded to the troll with this open letter on Twitter.
I was trolled earlier this week by a guy who thinks I shouldn't have a baby AND a job.
Here's what I think -
Dear Brave Man,
I got your message. The one where you pointed out that if I missed my 4-year-old girl so much while I’m in work, then I should just give up my job. Or quit posting pictures of her, at the very least. How had I not thought of that? So helpful. I work for many reasons. I like my job. It’s really important to me. Not saving lives important, I get that, but it’s important to me. I enjoy it. It makes me happy and content. And as a result a better mom.
I work Monday to Friday. That’s 5 days where my child goes to preschool and creche. The icing on the cake — I miss bed time most nights. Do you know how many people point that out to me? Too many. My husband leaves the house at 5 every morning. He misses ‘wake up time’ every day. Guess how many people point that out to him? You got it! None.
Do I feel guilty? Every day. Sometimes 10 times a day. Do I want time to stand still at weekends? Of course I do. But I work to provide a better future for my daughter. So when she’s 16 and wants to go on the school ski trip I can say yes. Of course I fear she’ll turn around and say she would have preferred if I’d been at home with her all of the time but I’m hedging my bets. She’ll pick the skip trip, right? RIGHT???
At the minute my baby wants to be a flower lady when she’s big, not sure if this means selling flowers or just wearing them. I don’t care. I don’t have a career to show her she can have one, too. She can do what she pleases. And I guess that’s why I do it. I want to show her that she can make choices. I want her to be confident enough to make the right ones for her. I want her to choose happiness.
While Keogh’s response is priceless, the man who trolled her represents a greater issue faced by working mothers. There are still a lot of people who believe women should not have careers and should stay at home with their children. People who believe this are ignorant of the economic reality most women face, which makes working necessary. Second, their beliefs deny women the fulfillment that comes with having a meaningful career.
While Keogh may face difficulty in finding the perfect parent/career balance, her openness about the struggle is a testament to working mothers everywhere. In her letter, Keogh spoke for all the mothers who, day in and day out, are there for their children, careers, and, if there’s any time left, themselves.
(H/T Little Things)