Last week I read a post Professional Courage vs. Responsibilities to Family by Devin Schoening (@dschoening) that was a resultof his #dadsined chat with Bob Dillon (@ideaguy42). In essence, the guys talked about how what they perceive to be as responsibilities to their families may cause them to not step into courageous spaces in which they desire to move. The obligation to provide financially and therefore keep a job results in the silencing of passion and motivation towards change.
This post has lingered in my thoughts for almost a week now. It lingers because from my perception or place in this world I want these guys to know that the same exists for #educatedmoms but transcends just the job and is based in antiquated cultural norms around gender. So, here’s the flip side, or at least my take on the issue.
Education has historically been an “acceptable” profession for women. It afforded women the opportunity to work “reasonable” hours and summers off and therefore have time to meet all the needs of the family otherwise too. ANYONE in education, however, knows that’s simply not true anymore.
There are women, I’m sure, who have the same worry about providing for their family. My contribution to our family income is to supplement a solid base. I know I’m fortunate that I can choose to work, but also enjoy being able to contribute.
The responsibilities I feel to my family are much more emotion and “4th dimension” based. As mom, society defines me as the cook, the housekeeper, the laundry lady, and jack of all trades. (For the record, I don’t cook, I don’t clean well, and do laundry when there is no more clean underwear). Mom should also be the one who serves the school, runs the carpools, and attends each and every event. (Putting my cape on now). I have been able to balance much of this, but my greatest sacrifice I feel is that of time. Because I choose to work, there is time spent learning, working on projects, even simply commuting (over an hour each day) that comes from my family’s bank of available time and steeps me in an emotional tidal wave when I think of the Mom and wife I’m not.
THIS causes me too to walk away from some of the challenges that would take a step of courage because courageous work is time-intensive. Going against the grain requires emotional expenditures as well as those of time and effort. But the passion always remains.
Another piece of this puzzle is I feel I have to work twice as hard as a man to prove my worth, have my opinions valued, and to be considered a strong member of a team. Educational leadership continues to be a male-dominated world. So, to be true to my goals, I NEED those experiences that you all have more readily available.
My concern for all of us is that there appears to be a critical mass of #dadsined or #educatedmoms who are longing to be catalysts for change but are mired in the reality of life which, in essence, causes us to feel guilt. These same people have a burning passion for children, for education, and for a better world.
I ran across this on Pinterest the other day:
So why is the world of education so stuck in “what we are supposed to do”? Why does “supposed to” look a lot like it did 50 years ago? Guys, you aren’t alone. Our challenge is to move from guilt to the work in our heart that will transform the educational experiences we want for our children and ALL children. We HAVE to have those courageous conversations, take those challenging steps, and insist on not just different experiences but incredible experiences. What are they going to do, fire all of us?