Last week, I went in for an interview for a communications job. I was very excited about the position and the opportunity. It would have been a great experience and a chance to utilize my vast and varied experience in one position.
When I walked into the room, I was faced with a panel interview: one man and two women. It was mostly a normal interview. They told me about the job and asked me about my writing; I told them about some of my pieces. I remember the woman in the middle thanked me for writing about mental health after having a baby. It stuck out to me.
Which is why I was shocked when this woman then asked me about how my choice to have a job outside of the home could affect my family [Editor's note: Which is illegal by the way.] It took me all day to realize how fed up I am for myself and women everywhere who are faced with that question.
How have we made it to 2019 and are still battling society when it comes to mothers working outside of the home? I remember a conversation I had once with another mom about work. She said to me, "I love my children too much to leave them."
I was shocked that my work would suggest that I didn't fully love my children. I'd argue that my love for my children is why I work. I want to show them that I can work and provide for them in many ways. The hours I work gives them the opportunity to go to dance classes, it affords them treats and I am able to show them that women can be moms and professionals.
It's nobody else's business how our work relates to our family. And we shouldn't be made to feel guilty for working. But until society catches up to the fact that some of us need or like to work, we'll never be viewed as equals. We'll be viewed as hybrids: part-mom, part-professional, instead of just what we truly are: working women.
Mortgages, car payments, insurance, food. They're all so expensive that many households need two working adults to make ends meet. Companies no longer give the benefits or salaries that they used to, and life hasn't gotten more affordable. All you need to do is pull up GoFundMe and you'll see people on the brink of losing their homes due to a medical illness to know that life in America is too expensive and too unpredictable for there to not be two incomes for most households.
So why is that women are still being made to feel guilty for doing what is needed?
In my house, my husband and I work hard to divide the tasks. There's no one person who cooks, who cleans, or who handles dirty diapers. If the school calls to tell us that our daughter is sick, either one of us could pick her up. Like many families, we take equal responsibility in raising our children. So why is there still a stigma about working mothers? Fathers today are just as likely to leave work because of family emergencies.
After being put in the unacceptable and illegal position of having to defend my position in the workplace, I've come to believe that some people don't understand what it is like to be a working mom. And they've decided to ignore the fact that when working with people, there will always be reasons for someone to be late or call off. More so if there are little ones at home.
We need to change our way of thinking and stop stigmatizing women in the workplace. We are warriors. We can work and we can raise our families with ferocity. We are not lesser because we work, and we are not lesser because we stay home.
As for my job interview, I turned them down and explained why: I am a professional and I am a mother, and those are not mutually exclusive, but I will not stand for judgment of what I choose to do and when.