My mind lately has been pulling itself back to the question of what it means to be a woman in the modern world. What we expect out of ourselves as human beings, women, wives, mothers and all. It's a hard question because so many conflicting things are expected of us, by virtue of being women. Every choice we make is a little bit heavier. Particularly lately I've been thinking about what it all means in terms of parenthood.
When babies eventually come, would I rather be a working mother or a stay at home mom? Actually having a choice in the matter is a pretty big luxury in and of itself, and I'm lucky in some ways in that I have some easy options both ways. If we can afford it, I have a husband who would support me staying at home past the end of government mandated maternity leave. If we can't, or I decide I want to be at work either way, I have access to free childcare. Let's be honest: free childcare is a huge deal. So going into motherhood I'm in a pretty privileged decision to make my choices.
I think about being a working mother though and I rather shudder. I just don't want to do all of that. Then I realized something that struck me as kind of strange. We expect a lot more out of our own parenting than we used to. As women have been climbing up the corporate ladder, chipping away at glass ceilings and just generally increasing our expectations on the work front, so have the expectations on the home front.
It's not enough to just have a happy, healthy kid anymore. Said kid also has to have music classes, and participate in sports and athletic activities. There's a lot more help with the homework expected, and chauffering each kid to an activity a day (pottery classes, piano lessons, soccer practice, French club, Girl Guides). In general parents (fathers as well as mothers) are expected to do a whole lot more with their children. Raising a well rounded child isn't enough, we need to coddle and cajole, and be a much bigger part of our children's lives.
It's backwards, you know? We have less time at home, to take care of the house and raise the kids. Yet we have bigger houses which take more maintainance, and we have increased the demands of childrearing, which takes its toll. There's less time to go around and we are supposed to do so much more of it. Of course it doesn't work as well as everyone would like it to.