Will all part-time mothers please stand up?

Embed from Getty Images

Hmmm… Don’t see anybody yet… Wait, wait maybe… Oh, nope that was just a cricket I heard chirping in the corner.

Oh, riiiiight, maybe no one is standing up because it doesn’t f’ing exist.  You want to go find a part-time mother?  Try going to find a unicorn instead, you’ll have better luck.  And while you are at it, find a Kardashian that doesn’t take selfies and a toddler that doesn’t become an invertebrate whilst strapping them into a car seat.  Because aaaallll off that mess is going to happen before you find a “part-time” mother.

Unfortunately I just saw the intro to a House Hunters episode where the wife introduced herself as a “full-time mother and part-time advertising consultant”.  Son of a b!t$h, when are we going to stop doing this to ourselves and each other?!  The phrase full-time mother implies that there is another type of mother.  Like, I don’t want to be confused with a non full-time mother so I really need to spell this s&:! out.  But this begs the question, is there really another type of mother?

Sorry peeps, but, no, there isn’t.  I have friends who are divorced and share custody with ex-husbands, friends who stay at home but spend almost 20 hours a week training for marathons and triathlons, friends who work outside the home part-time, full-time, and in my case, crazy-time.  And guess what?  We are never off duty, none of us are ever not mothers.  Even when it is your ex-spouse’s visitation day, who fields the phone calls from the school nurse and settles disputes between siblings?  Plans birthday parties, does infinite loads of laundry filled with socks without mates and grocery shops for the “good” lunchbox snacks?  Yep, that’s you, mom.  Even if you need a “wife”, you are still always a mother.  I have been covered in blood and had a cell phone held up to my ear to tell my nanny, “No, my child can not eat a fifth packet of oatmeal for dinner.” (Yeah, that’s a whole other story…).

Anyways, the point is, regardless of your hobbies, your interests, or your career, whatever takes you out of the house or away from your child for whatever amount of time, you are still a “full-time” mother.  There is no time card to punch in and out of as mothers.  (I mean, if that were the case, then I would gladly clock out next week when we take our 2 year old’s pacifier away, *&%$!@)  But, the bottom line is, we can’t clock out, check out, or hand off to another person this special role that we have.  Let’s drop this full-time, part-time nonsense.  Let’s have enough confidence in ourselves to not feel as if we have to use these terms, and enough confidence to not let anyone make us feel anything less than awesome.

Now, off to find that Kardashian…

Advertisements

Yes, I do have it “all”, and how you can, too.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Two very successful and very powerful women, Shonda Rhimes (creator of the television shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) and Indra K. Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo) have recently been in the news for announcing that you can’t “have it all”.

Honestly, the phrase having it all is becoming as nauseating as being here for the right reasons on the Bachelorette. It really should become the new drinking game for women in their 30’s. Another CEO comes out of that hideous self-and-society-imposed guilt closet and announces you can’t have it all? Take a shot…

My first response to these famous women was, “duh.” But then I really started thinking about it. When was the last time you heard a commencement speech at an Ivy League school given by a man at the top of his profession that centered around not having it “all”? Let me save you the Google search, it hasn’t happened.

The phrase and concept of “having it all” is a strictly female phenomenon. We do it to ourselves, and we do it to each other. I always felt slightly insulted when a female medical student would tell me that she would never choose surgery as a profession because she wanted “a life”. I know they didn’t mean it personally, but it implies to me they believe I don’t have a life. I then started asking them, how do you define “a life”? Because I’m pretty sure most people have different definitions, based upon their personal goals, personalities, and hobbies.  For example, one of my friends enjoys running 20 miles a week and this is fulfilling to her. On the other hand, if another one of my friends even looks a treadmill she gets nauseated.  One friend gladly left her office career to stay at home upon the birth of her second child.  Another friend is just as gladly returning to work full time after her 3 month maternity leave.  This then leads me to the title of this piece.

What is “all”? Who is responsible for simultaneously defining this and holding us up to this unicorn of a standard? Is Shonda Rhimes’ or Gwyneth Paltrow’s “all” the same as mine? Or the same as a single 30 year old woman? Or the stay at home mother of 3?  I would bet my paycheck that the answer to that is no.

The phrase “having it all” implies to me having a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. The reason that I am proud to say that I do have it “all” is because I choose the definition for myself.  My roles as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and physician lead to my sense of fulfillment. The time that I allot to each role in my life changes daily and sometimes drastically so, but the roles are always there. When I am at the hospital, I am still a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. My husband and child don’t disappear when I go out for a girls’ night.  I’m sorry, but I just don’t see how missing an occasional bath and story time at my home means I am “failing” as a mother.  This isn’t failing, people, get a grip!  This is life.  Things happen.  Workouts get skipped, dinner occasionally gets picked up in a drive through, and sometimes you just have to wear bikini bottoms as underwear because you are behind on laundry.

The people in my life, and the joy these relationships and my work as a surgeon provide are my “all”. I refuse to let Pinterest, Shonda Rhimes, or anyone but me set the definition for what my life is supposed to look and feel like. I encourage you all to do the same. Whatever floats your boat is fine, it is your boat to float.  Say goodbye to someone making you feel guilty (including yourself!) for not being able to squeeze 26 hours out of a day. Let’s stop saying we don’t have it “all” because we didn’t bake a dozen cupcakes, do 3 loads of laundry and accomplish another 1,000 tasks before breakfast. So, f&*! the unicorn that doesn’t exist, and embrace the awesome, amazing, thoroughbred horse that you are.