Wednesday, January 13, 2010

automatic assumptions of childcare


ant tracks, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

OK ... so I'm mildly ticked off right now.

No, I'm really ticked off right now. It's not completely that my planned evening out has been cancelled. It's not totally that my partner is home late. It's not that I've been sole parent for an additional hour or so this evening.

It's the automatic assumption that I WILL be present as caregiver for my child when my spouse is late leaving work.

Emergencies do come up. Projects require extra work into the evening - true. A working day can overrun - I am well aware (in my dim and distant past I too worked outside the home).

but

... it would have taken very little time, loss of face and effort to have called ahead to inform that a delay was inevitable. Two hours of notice could have been enough to arrange a sitter and I would have been able to go to my meeting.

My major grievance is that this wasn't done. It was automatically assumed that I would be there picking up the childcare needs cos apparently my 'work' is just not important. FYI I 'just' missed a meeting with the local artist cooperative - nothing life or death but they are a great bunch of people to network with and I was looking forward to hearing about plans for the giftshop where I sell.

As well as this degree of personal ire I feel there are also wider implications for the world of employment (all hail the salaried world outside the home). What would a working mother have done in the same situation? Unless otherwise arranged, would she have sat silently past her childminder's deadline? or would she have excused herself to either make that phonecall, or even politely absented herself? Since I've never been a salaried motehr working outside the home I have no idea what working women do when they are faced with demands to stay late (perhaps someone could educate me?). Do 'working' fathers face the same dilemma? How are women who 'play' the motherhood/childminder card at going home time viewed by their colleagues and employers?

I'd love some answers! As a non-earning SAHM I can be prickly about my status and perceived insults but am I really delusional?

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