This text was written by my friend Ana Julia Escalante
I just came back from a 5 days trip with my one and a half years son and the 4 sisters that life gave me, we decided to gather after 5 years of not seeing each other. We are all spread around the world between England, Germany, France, Spain and Lebanon.
We had plenty of time to talk, many things happened in the past 5 years; we are all on our early thirties so inevitably the question of having children came up. They said they are not ready, another reason was lack of money, lack of help around them, they don’t want to stop their careers they even got philosophical about how ugly is the world that we are leaving in right now and if it is worth it or not to keep on bringing children, the idea of adopting came in between the options.
Out of 5 friends I’m the only one who has a child, I have to confess “that it is tough to be a mum who wants to build a career at the same time”. Another confession I’m struggling since I have no family around me, and my partner travels often, I work to pay the daycare, I wake up every morning thinking about the future of my child and I think also about the future of my child every time I watch the news, and of course I’m worried about the money, but I want to work and I want to build a career while building a family.
So I came into the conclusion that there is a lot of prejudice but even worse we are forced to choose between family or career, we live in a society that doesn’t give part time jobs, where the maternity leave is only 60 days but believe me if the mom’s head is with the children she won’t be performing at her best.
Meanwhile countries like Austria, Czech Republic, Finland and Hungary provide with a 3 year paid leave for mothers, Germany has introduced the parent’s salary to encourage women to stay home, other countries like New Zealand put emphasis on preschool education so they get moms back to work Britain, Germany, Japan and Switzerland are strong on mothers working part time.
Family and relatives play a big role also, one night I was coming here and had to leave my child with some relatives they were nice enough to keep my son with them but there was a price to be paid, the unnecessary comments before leaving they told me that I should slow down, that I was a mom that needed to rest and sleep, and to stop my activities. As if I should turn off my own life for good…
Another example : my son started the nursery so we had and adaptation period during those days I was late to work If I’m late it will be deducting it from my payment and my boss will make remarks that I’m being late giving a bad example to others.
Women are being judged by the same standard as man, we don’t want to be like man, we don’t want to be treated like them this is a misconception of equality, as a prove childless women in corporate America earn almost as much as men. Mothers with partners earn less and single mothers much less.
Even in the countries with family-friendly employment policies only 14% of the top five leadership positions are held by women, or even worse if we just consider the very top out of 500 companies there are only 24 female CEO.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not here to tell you that you should have children or not, I want to send a message from a working mom to tell you guys, husbands, partners, sons, companions, and also to you mothers, sisters, friends that we should respect the women right to decide if they want to participate in the motherhood path yes or no, and if they decide to do so let’s give them the tools, and give them our support, to keep going.
Yes we are moms, but mothers also have dreams, we want to climb to the top of the ladder to see what’s up there, women work represents an economic necessity rather than liberation.
Yes we are capable, we are prepared we just need the motivation, the comprehension and the trust to earn those credentials, we are ready to work, we can make a difference.