Never thought I would ever become an advocate for gender equality or a women’s rights activist. Because I felt I really didn’t have to deal with a lot inequality growing up, or in school or even at work, to be a true representative. In fact growing up, I didn’t have the ‘darling daughter’ life that other friends enjoyed. We siblings were constantly questioned on our life survival skills by our dad. Being dependent was not an option from a very young age. At school I was a teacher’s pet. At work, and this is the strangest thing, I have never had a bad boss!!! Yes, not even my Principle during the dreaded Articleship. Yet, as I saw more I can see there is a different world out there for most women.
But this is no activism, but just an observation. So at my work place guess who are the three most technically respected subject matter experts, the ones who get projects done, or the ones who people bring in to get a rotten project streamlined – ‘three working moms of toddlers’! I appreciated that even more when I became one.
A toddler’s mom is on her feet till that little blob of energy finally sleeps. She wakes up every morning with the little monster pulling her out of the bed. She’ll get lunches fixed, kick hubby’s butt to get the bugger and himself ready to make it to work on time. And having reached, she knows she only has 8 hrs to get things done. There are no leisure hours at home at night, to make up for lost hours from that coffee/lunch break that ran over due to a heated debate about who’s hottest. She is the master of ‘Scheduling’. Even a 10 min update discussion goes on the calendar. You do not stop by the desk to ask random questions and hang around till you’ve talked about your MIL visiting or your sick dog. She will cut you off and go back to work if you did not have anything worthwhile to discuss. Everyone’s health on the team and personal commitments are key to her job getting done, so she notices everything around her more than anyone, that sneeze, that engagement/wedding, that soccer game, that exam, so everyone loves her. Since she feels strongly about efficiency and how hard she works at her ambitions, she is constantly encouraging, pushing the team to work hard, to push a little harder. Being a den mom comes easy now. And she will show you how its done without wasting tons of time. Quality is of utmost importance as she does not like to waste time in back and forth. She pre-empts needs and be prepared as she likes to avoid any requests for last memos that are needed “right away” at 6 pm. Decisions are not procrastinated upon, as she hates surprises at work. Beware you elusive superior, she will hound you down for an answer. This is not fluff, this is real and happening at my workplace and this is “Public accounting in a Big 4”, known for its ungodly hours, rough and inhumane work environment.
And yes, they do not look tyrannical, men-like or forget to put on make-up and comb their hair. In fact, they are very beautiful, very feminine, and love shoes, shopping, jewelry and that glass of red wine like every other gal does!
So now, every time I will see situations where employers avoid hiring working moms, I will think, either 1) these guys are ignorant or 2) they are insecure that these ladies would outshine them. Back home in my country I know 1) is very true as people have not hired and seen the difference a lot. When I am back I have promised myself to shine the light on this wonderful phenomenon called the ‘working moms’. It is just beautiful to watch!
PS: This post will be incomplete without mentioning the other halves. These are guys married to ambitious women and have let themselves get swept in this strong current of a woman in action; and are very secure and confident about themselves to take pride in their woman’s work.