A facebook/OS friend was joining the Hilary Rosen discussion about whether Ann Romney ever worked and if motherhood is a career choice. I was not aware of the controversy and just thought that my friend had lost her mind when she asked if mothers work.
This question is akin to those who don’t teach wondering how in the world a teacher works 60 hours a week when they only see them in the classroom three hours a week. It is work one can’t comprehend unless one has done the work.
If work is defined as what one is paid to do then I am technically paid
to take care of my younger daughter through child support. This is work
I do in addition to working as a teacher 60 hours a week and work I had
to do by myself for three years when seriously ill and went to the
hospital to see doctors, have tests, or have operations over 200 times. I am not familiar with Mrs. Romney's health history but vaguely remember she faces serious health issues.
This is what I do for eight-year-old daughter the 20 days a month she is in my care. I am legally required to do so or I could be declared unfit. My divorce was difficult and I have to do these tasks or ensure they are done.
Either I or someone I pay to procures food, makes it, serves it and
cleans up after my young daughter at least three times a day. This is usually more than three times a day because young children and particularly teenage children are eating machines.
I drive my young daughter to school, social activities, and her father’s house. I have to know where she is at all times, how she got there, how she is getting back home, and who to contact should I need to find her. I have
to be available at all times to whomever other than me has her at any
I have to buy, maintain, and store proper clothing that meets school
district and her father’s standards. I have to make sure her shoes are
the correct size and the sizes can change frequently.
I have to make appointments coordinated with her father’s schedule
for appointments at the doctor, dentist, orthodontist, and hearing
specialist. If I do not buy and maintain insurance for what this costs
I must pay 50% of all expenses incurred.
I have to provide her with a bedroom, bathroom, reasonable amenities
and make sure the house is reasonably clean at all times.
I have to supervise homework, attend conferences, and attend meetings
with her reading, speech, music/art teachers as well as with her
primary teacher. I am expected to have an interest in PTA meeting and
after school activities and this is an area I am too busy with work to focus on.
I take her to the pool every night, make sure she has a bath every
night, read her a story, and hold her for an hour before she goes to
Items 1 through 7 can take from 4 to 6 hours. I work 10 to 12 hours a
day teaching. I have 6 to 8 hours to sleep or do other things for
myself. I have her 20 days a month for which this schedule applies.
Her father has her 10 days a month for which this schedule likely
applies at his home.
I also have an older daughter in college for whom I no longer legally
have to do anything. I still do. I have shopped and paid for over $4000
worth of bedding, housing supplies, electronics etc. for her dorm room
this year alone. I have shopped and paid for clothing for sorority
socials etc. I offer social advice in the middle of the night. I have been
called to drive to her college three times this semester to assist for various emergencies.
I provide a safe and clean home for my older daughter and her friends to stay when they are in Orlando. I move her belongings from one place to another. I arrange and pay for her vacations.
Does that sound like work to you?