Me too

I got an email from one of the co-ordinators the other day, asking me about my project allocations. Effectively, she was noticing that I was 130 percent allocated to projects, plus I was doing some internal work setting up a practice. She thought that this must be wrong. It wasn’t.

I am also, if you were interested, studying for 2 software certifications and my project management certification.

Oh, and a roommate who figures I can make partner in another year if I just apply myself.

I am, a tiny bit busy. I spend my days and my nights surrounded by computer and text books.

Into this comes a discussion with a colleague who remarked that she is so busy and her life is so hard. Her children take so much of her time. She says she pushed her brain out with her last child.

And I can’t argue with her. Do my obligations really rate? Can they rate? It’s like this terrible game, and whatever I can come up with, she can trump. Why even try? Really, why bother? If all she has to do is play the mummy card, why bother?

Oh yeah? You think you work hard, well, I’m a mum. I work harder than you. I do this terribly important job that is totally unrecognized.

I am small and petty. I want to point out that I too pushed a baby out of my body. My thoughts, my memory, my sanity fled as my son died. It took me 3 years, but I recovered. And just what was your excuse again?

I want to scream, not just a bit. I want to scream that the work I do is important. That what I do ultimately matters. I want to scream that I, utterly without children, fulfill an important role in the world, that what I do has the power to change the world. It doesn’t matter that I pick up your slack. I do your extra work so you can do the school run, the doctors appointment. I take the meeting because your kid is sick and stay up late, get up early so you could be home for bath time.

And I am silent. Because I don’t feel like I can argue. How do I ever win against the holy St. Mother? It doesn’t matter how hard I work, you will always trump me with your motherhood I tune out of the conversation, retreating in my head to the list of things I have to do, thinking about what’s next.

A little bit of her voice always creeps in. Rummages around my frayed and worn edges, makes its self at home.

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11 Responses to Me too

  1. m says:

    “I want to scream, not just a bit. I want to scream that the work I do is important. That what I do ultimately matters. I want to scream that I, utterly without children, fulfill an important role in the world, that what I do has the power to change the world.”

    Oh Mrs. Spit, I will hold your hand and scream from the mountaintops with you.

    It does matter. You matter. Your work has an essential role in this world, and your words have an essential role in mine.

  2. HereWeGoAJen says:

    Do you know what? I think she’s being a jerk. I hate it when people try to top someone else, no matter what they use. They are just trying to make themselves feel more important than everyone else in the room.

  3. Joanna says:

    “It doesn’t matter that I pick up your slack. I do your extra work so you can do the school run, the doctors appointment. I take the meeting because your kid is sick and stay up late, get up early so you could be home for bath time.”

    Yep. Pretty much this. All the time. I totally and completely understand. Along with the comments of, “She doesn’t have kids, let’s get her to do it.” It doesn’t help that we absolutely love our jobs and are happy to help. It’s the attitude that we are obligated to pick up the slack because of our home situations that drives me crazy and makes me want to scream. So, hugs to you, Mrs. Spit.

  4. Brown Owl says:

    You are not required to do her work…. so DONT.

    Having kids at home is a lot of work and stress and a higher priority than work obligations, but it is not an excuse to get you to do her job. The key is planning and taking responsibility.

    Your work IS important, SO is hers. NEITHER of you is better than the other. So, stop comparing yourself. You are different with different lives and different options. Stop the one up game – that is all it is and no one wins.

    You are filling those extra hours with work and training, that is your choice. Good for you. Good for her. I hope it works out for you.

    Enjoy Victoria….I hope the furry family and Mr. S. are all well and happy.

  5. Kuri says:

    “It’s like this terrible game, and whatever I can come up with, she can trump.”

    Well, 1) No, in truth she can’t, actually. She may think she can but evidence shows:
    a) The majority of women do motherhood without losing their brain. Most of those, like my mother, also worked full time or more than full time and volunteered.
    b) A far, far smaller proportion of people work like you do. (I’m actually pretty certain that no one should be 130% allocated ever, but I place a relatively high value on my leisure time and mental health.)

    But seriously, take that “mummy card” for what it is: a full-on cultural and self-deception. Perhaps a kind one, perhaps one you don’t want to break to the person who needs it, but really, it’s a steaming pile of manure. Which is not your job to clean up, either.

    And 2) as long as this self-important mummy-warrior isn’t your superior or anyone else with a legitimate role is judging your work performance, who cares what her opinion is? File her utterances in the correct depository. (Hint, the correct depository in this instance is usually lined with a plastic bag in most offices.)

  6. a says:

    See, I would go a step further than all your other commenters. I would tell her that if she finds working so challenging, she should chuck it all and go expend her energy on parenting all the time. Then she might not feel so busy. And the company could find someone who would be more able to handle the workload.

    I’m a mom. I work. I’m busy. But I don’t use being a mother to shuffle my work off on someone else…and if anyone else around here tried it, they would get a quick smack down.

    *Phew* Deep breath. I hate shirkers. And I hate that you’re internalizing her shirking and excuse-making into your own self-worth. Don’t do it. You can certainly compete with her – has she come back from an earth-shattering life change in a beautiful, dignified manner? Could she? Don’t let her voice in your head…

    (It’s also possible that she’s just someone who needs to complain about her first world problems, in which case, you should definitely not listen to anything she says.)

  7. debby says:

    Mrs. Spit, I have come to realize that no matter what, there will be those who just HAVE to minimize you and your contributions. I am working with one now. She’s not playing the mummy card. She’s just a bitch.

    Sounds like your mummy is show off. And maybe a bitch too. Or maybe she is intimidated by you and your contributions. Don’t know, but recognize that the ‘mummy card’ cuts deep for you. I’m sorry about that. When you’re her boss, maybe she’ll shut up.

  8. Reese says:

    I work and am a Mum but I don’t pawn off my duties to anyone. She needs a back up sitter for her backup sitter. Don’t let her play that card. You’ve got enough on your plate….

  9. anonymous says:

    This. Exactly this. Single people have work shifted onto them, too, without taking into account that when we go home, we don’t have anybody to split basic household chores with. As if we don’t have a life or want to.spend time with people outside of our work hours.

    This woman is a bully, make no mistake. Don’t be a martyr.

  10. Maureen says:

    I’m sure the “mummy card” really hurts, but I think it is just what she thinks will work for you. And if that wasn’t the card, she would have a different one.

    I was pregnant with my first, I was working full time. One morning, I got in, threw up in the bathroom that was next to our ‘board’ room (which is where everyone created their schedule for the day), then when to the ‘board’ to plan my day (you could hear me throw up in the bathroom in the ‘board’ room). The throwing up thing was not unusual for me, I felt sick the whole pregnancy, and if I was too tired, stressed, happy, sad, exc, I would then throw up. This morning I looked in the priority bin and saw a case in it. I picked it up, glanced at it (it was not an easy or desirable case), put it in my pile, and went to grab more work. A co-worker from a different disciple said “Rough morning?” A little, I had not got home until after midnight as my mom had disappeared again, and my early teen brothers asked me to stay with them until she reappeared (my father had recently passed away). “You’re taking that case?” Yep. Needs to be done. Are you? We could do it together. “I am, doing it together would be good. X was in here and looked at it and put it back. She said her morning sickness is too bad this morning to do it. She was eating a breakfast sandwich as she said it. Y was in here a few minutes after that. She looked at it and said her daughter had trouble falling asleep last night so she was tired and couldn’t do it and put it back too. It is funny how you can do it.” Yeah, funny.

  11. Erica says:

    I’m sorry that you are working with someone who is trying to make you feel less-than. Your accomplishments are amazing, Mrs. Spit. They matter, a lot. And you have family obligations, too. I suspect this person feels guilty about not being able to balance work & family as well as she’d like, but it’s hard to sympathize with that when she seems determined to set herself up in the role of “poor, besieged mommy” while (it sounds like) taking advantage of her colleagues.

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