Monday, July 16, 2007

I promise not to do this too often

I don't wade into the soi-disant "Mommy Wars" on this blog too often, essentially because I'm worried that if I do, I'll never stop. I'll wind up hunched over my monitor for days, wearing Depends like some toothless crone playing the slot machines in Vegas. I'd probably lose my job and some batshit social worker would take my kid away. So let's not go there too often.

But I'm feeling fortified by a sweet day of vacation today, so I'm only going to allow myself one sarcastic comment as a special treat.

Unlike most working women, as depicted by popular culture and the media, I actually have the leisure to read at least two newspapers a day and keep myself relatively well-informed about the world at large. While reading the Globe and Mail today, I stumbled across this article, about how most women really want to work part-time and not full-time.

Well, sort of. The article is quoting a study: Only 21 per cent of working mothers with children under 18 see full-time jobs as the best arrangement for themselves and their families - a drop from 32 per cent in 1997, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, 60 per cent of working mothers say part-time work is their preferred option, up 12 per cent from a decade ago.

Yup, that's a drop, no doubt about it. But when you read on, you've got to wonder about how they asked the questions. Let's see what Exhibit A, working mother of 1-year-old boy, has to say:

Marlo Miazga, a Toronto mother of a one-year-old boy, can relate. After a brief, self-financed maternity leave, the freelance film editor took on full-time hours as a film editor and teacher. She and her husband, a writer, enrolled their son Phoenix in weekly daycare.

But if she could work part-time and still afford daycare, all without taking a professional hit, she'd "do it in a second," she says.

REALLY?! Wow, that's such a huge surprise. Effectively what the journalist is asking is "do you want NOT to work all the time, but make the same amount of money, enjoy the same amount of responsibility and senority, get the same promotions, and keep your kid in daycare full-time, freeing you to enjoy your life on your days off, getting pedicures and seeing movies and eating bon-bons while enjoying the ministrations of Sven, your beefy-forearmed masseur?"

What an incredibly stupid position. The only way I'd take any of this seriously would be if they asked fathers and childless people the same question: "would you like to scale back your working hours if there were absolutely no negative consequences?" and the answers were substantially different.

I love my kid and I love my job, and yeah, I'd like to be paid to sit on my ass while my kid goes to daycare. (Come to think of it, that's what I did today: LOVE paid vacation days.) But then I'd like a lot of things: a car that runs on love, an oiled Ralph Fiennes on a silver chain. I don't expect anyone to hand them to me just because I popped out a kid.

Fucking hell. On behalf of working parents everywhere, I apologize on behalf of that very stupid column.

Now I either have to stop writing or go and buy some Depends.