The discussion about working motherhood continues.
Today Professor Beth Haile added her voice to this conversation. Announcing her decision to leave “her other full-time job” as an assistant professor of theology in order to execute her first full-time job as a mother more contentedly, Professor Haile wonders about the happiness of her female colleagues who also parent.
I wonder if we haven’t largely just added another full-time job on top of the ones our moms and grandmothers had as homemakers and caregivers.
I am happy for Professor Haile.
But for the most part, all of us, not just Professor Haile, have been asking the wrong questions.
If motherhood is a full-time job, then isn’t fatherhood a full-time job? And if it isn’t, shouldn’t it be? And if it shouldn’t be, why not?
And, if we doubt the ability of women to be happy while working and raising children, then shouldn’t we all strive to create a world in which no mother has to work? A world in which any mother, not just the daughters of rich fathers or the wives of well to do husbands can choose to stay at home? If stay at home motherhood provides a vital path to flourishing as Haile suggests, then shouldn’t every woman be able to walk it?
Of course, the grandmothers of Latina women and African-American women and Appalachian women have been working outside the home for generations. And not always by choice.
No, women cannot have it all. Like all life, we are both bound by and made possible because of our finitude. But when “having it all” means parenting and pursuing a career with passion, then it seems that men can and indeed do have it all.
And that’s just not fair.