Today a friend posted an article on Facebook: 9 Jobs Moms Shouldn’t Do by April Peveteaux. An excerpt:
No one expects that they’ll die on the job, or be seriously maimed. But the fact of the matter is that some jobs are more dangerous than others. After you become a mom, you might want to think twice about your career.
As a feminist, I will always say that women can do the same work as men and that fathers are as important as mothers. So when I call out these jobs as being “bad for moms,” I’m also implying that I would not want my husband to take on these dangers either. However, I do recognize that in some households the moms consider themselves the most important parent, insofar as being there for the children. If that is you, please reconsider working in a state facility like the one [where a psychiatric technician was murdered by a patient], and these eight careers:
(emphasis original). She then goes on to list 8 careers she feels mothers should reconsider: police officer, firefighter, astronaut, prison guard, convenience store worker, military, stunt woman and deep sea fisherman.
First of all…astronaut, stunt woman and deep sea fisherman!? There have been less than 300 astronauts EVER in the US.¹ I’m pretty sure the stunt double and fisher-person professions aren’t exactly gigantic, either. These aren’t exactly common options for mothers, or people, as career choices. And I can’t say I’ve ever met a person who aspired to being a convenience store worker. It seems like if you work at a gas station, you took the job because you didn’t have a lot of other options, and I would imagine that in the “Hmm,working in a ‘dangerous’ job, or starving to death?” debate, working at the gas station will win every time. Especially because you can buy Ho-Hos really cheap while you’re at work and save on the gas money…it’s a win/win.
Never mind the ridiculous reach of this article, though. Never mind that it’s inherently sexist, and all the more offensively so because the author is a self-proclaimed feminist. You can even forget to mind the fact that every aspect of daily life is riddled with risks, many of which are undoubtedly even more dangerous than the professions she listed above. All those things were only mild irritants, leading to a pronounced eye roll and a few bitchy words on Facebook.
No, what I found really offensive was the assumption that every little tiny decision I make, and every little tiny decision I have made since I became a mom 3,427 days ago, didn’t already take into account the delicate balance of the weighted interests of my children with the interests of myself, my husband, my extended family, my employer, my friends, my pets, and the several insects I may accidentally step on over the course of the day. What is best for my children comes into play in every single decision I make, no matter how insignificant it may seem from an outside perspective. I long for the days when I could buy myself zebra cakes without first considering:
(1) whether my kids really need the temptation of zebra cakes in the house, what with all the sugar and preservatives and general delectable nastiness contained therein;
(2) whether I would even get to eat any of them or if they would be pilfered in the middle of the night by one of the two tiny treat-stealers that roam around here;
(3) whether I would be willing, to prevent #2 from happening, to eat the entire box in a single sitting, probably while hiding in the dark bathroom, in the tub, with the curtain drawn so as not to be discovered;
(4) if #3 actually came to fruition, whether it is worth the additional risk of the approximately 4,000 diseases I would be slightly more likely to contract after consuming all that junk, thereby increasing my chances of premature death (after which I would be unavailable to fulfill the various whims of my offspring);
(5) whether the $1.29 would actually be better invested in a college savings plan for my children’s future;
(6) why on earth I was out shopping for zebra cakes instead of spending every waking moment with my darling children; and
(7) if it was possible that the additional 12 oz. in the trunk of my car would somehow change the distribution of weight just enough to change the minor fender-bender that I might get into on the way home into a multi-car accident which would kill me instantly, leaving my children poor orphans (oh, except for the fact that they have a father, but as we all now know, “in some households the moms consider themselves the most important parent”).
I’m sure there are even MORE things that go into my decision to buy zebra cakes, but my fingers hurt from typing those all out, and I’m actually already feeling guilty that I even considered buying those hypothetical zebra cakes in this hypothetical example.
To assume it would never have occurred to any parent that maybe they shouldn’t take that job in that snuff film, because, “oh, think of the children!” is absurd, appalling, and blatantly offensive. I AM OFFENDICATED!