Paying The Motherhood Fine

by Cookie



It’s been a long time.  I feel like I’m dusting off my writing bicycle on the first day of spring.  And I might just get a little messy on my first ride.

And by messy, I mean that I might just piss a whole lot of people off on my very first ride in a million years.

I’ve been thinking of coming back to my dear blog for a while, but I don’t always get that precious time to myself in the mornings and I needed the right inspiration.  Well, I found it today in my very own local newspaper:

Read “The Motherhood Penalty” from the Winnipeg Free Press.

So, the article talks about the wage gap between men and women, despite some women being better educated and having higher employment rates, they make less money.  In particular, women with children.

Well, DUH.

Yes.  Women who are having children are more likely to work part time.  They are likely to step back from there careers a bit and may not pursue promotions.  Not every woman, but a lot of woman.

Because last time I checked, having a baby is a lot of fucking work.  Unpaid work.  It’s exhausting.  Physically, emotionally, financially, fucking exhausting.  I’m not sure where the discrimination is when a woman chooses to put her child and her family before her career for a little while.  It’s called choice.  And, like every choice, it has it’s pros and cons.

Look, I’m not saying that a woman should earn less for being a woman.  I believe we are entitled to take a maternity leave and be confident that our position will be there for us in return.  However, if you are gone for a year and a raise and/or promotion is missed out on, I believe that it is part of the sacrifice we make to have kids.

Yeah.  It sucks.  But raises are usually performance based.  Would you like to be evaluated on you diaper changing skills and ability to decipher baby grunts and cries?

I am one of those self employed mothers who didn’t have the privilege of taking a full maternity leave.  With each one of my kids, I returned to work after a short, self funded leave and then my husband was able to take paternity leave from his job.  And let me tell you how I would grade my performance while in the first 4 years of my children’s lives:

Not awesome.  Maybe “satisfactory”.  As in, I showed up, I did my best, but my best was certainly not as good as I used to be. I felt stretched so thin that I was sucking balls at everything I did.   Only now that I am done (mostly except for the insane part of my brain) having children do I feel like I am emerging from the haze of 4 years of sleep deprivation and near drowning.  I feel like I am back in it.

And if I were my employer, I certainly would not have wanted to take that mildly retarded, short tempered, barely in it employee and offer her a raise and a promotion and a handshake.  Was it my fault?  Not really, but sorta.

But you know what?  I’m the one who decided to have kids, and not one time will I ever regret things I passed up or missed out on for having kids.  It’s the price you have to pay.

In defense of the employer, they need to have the best person for the job and keep their interests in mind as well.

And as a mother, well, you just don’t get this time back.  A very wise and gracious colleague once said to me that “You will never regret passing up work to spend time with your kids”  Because work you can always get back. There’s always another opportunity.

So, yes.  I think there is a motherhood penalty.  But I don’t think it’s a penalty that employers are dong to punish you for having kids necessarily.  I think that every path we choose comes with sacrifice.  And when it comes to having kids, I will take those sacrifices easily.

Although I think we have the right to have it all, I’ve said a million times that it is just not realistic to give 100% to all things all the time. Making a temporary rebalance in your life is not discrimination.  It’s being a parent.  Even when you have full time childcare or nannies, parenting is all consuming.  And you know what?

It’s ok.  Really, really ok.

Anyone got some Hot Titties over this?  Would love to hear both sides of the coin.