When you’re a working mother, you’re asked to make the hardest choice a woman could ever make every single day. Do I put my career over my family or my family over my career? One day, when I was leaving for an important business trip, my daughter said, “Mommy, don’t go.”
“I’m sorry, Sweetie. I’ll be back in a few days,” I replied.
My daughter looked up at me with her sweet brown eyes and said, “Who the fuck are you?”
She had been talking to Margot, our live-in nanny who was standing right behind me. Margot was leaving us. She was giving up her career of raising my children to go have her own children. Since Margot is ready for motherhood, she’ll have to answer tough questions — questions men can’t even fathom. Will Margot have to get her own Margot? Does her employer (me) even pay her enough to afford childcare (not really)?
The predicament that women are put in really tugs at the heartstrings. Men don’t know how hard it is to bend down to my daughter and explain, “Honey, I’m your mother. Not Margot. But you can’t ask me to open your string cheese. I don’t know how?”
The twenty-first century gives us opportunities to have it all, but too few women are having it all. Why can’t Margot have it all? A family, a fulfilling career working for my family, and a slightly/mostly damaged second-hand Fendi purse I gave her on her birthday?
Women are still faced with difficult choices that men just aren’t aware of. Not me. I have Margot. But Margot is asked to make these choices, and that’s rough. For both of us, but also for me. Mostly for me. Why am I being put through this because Margot is a woman? It’s a real “Sophie’s Choice.” Again, for me. Mostly me. And probably only me.
But we shouldn’t have to make these choices. Just because you want to have a family of your own is no reason why you can’t stop taking care of mine. My kids need you just as much as yours do. Maybe even more. Who’s supposed to see them take their first steps? Who’s supposed to tend to their wounds? Who’s supposed to love and support them unconditionally? I can’t. I just got a manicure. My nails are wet. Hugs smudge.
When I was a girl at prep school and then later at Yale, I never saw myself having to sacrifice my job for my family or vice versa. I had always wanted children, and I wasn’t going to let my growing career as a high-powered CEO get in the way of my dream of having a big house, two kids, three dogs, and a full staff to take care of everything so I don’t have to. Who dreams of cleaning up dog shit? Not me. Maybe Margot did? I don’t know. I never asked. Doesn’t matter. It’s not the point. The point is, my son just wet the bed again even though he’s too old for that (I think?) and someone needs to clean his 800 thread-count sheets. “Someone” being Margot.
Margot, it’s been hours. Please get on it.
Perhaps we live in a broken system? Women are asked to put in too much time at work, like when I was flown to China for a conference then made Margot spend a week straight with my kids, who, I admit, are monsters. Then, when I needed to spend a week in Fiji recovering from the conference, Margot was called in again to act as a punching bag to my little shits. That’s two weeks Margot had to be away from her family so that I could be away from mine. And then she had to work another week when I got back because my son, Byron, couldn’t sleep with “that strange woman” in the house. Margot needed to be there to explain he once lived in that “strange woman’s” tummy, and then she had to be there to hold him after the idea of me mothering him traumatized him so badly he had a panic attack.
Is this fair? And if it isn’t fair, how do we make it fair to me? Can it be fair to me, even if it’s unfair to Margot? I’m okay with that, but will Margot be? And how do I convince her if she’s not? Give her another damaged Fendi purse? Ugh! Why are we women?
The sooner we answer these questions, the sooner we’ll make progress. Unrelated, I’m looking for a new live-in nanny. If you’re interested in applying for the position, please leave your resume and references with Margot.