A recent survey by Careerbuilder.com found that 43% of working moms said they would be willing to take a pay cut if they could spend more quality time with their kids.
What I found most interesting were the 57% of women who didn’t opt for that.
The key, of course, is the phrase “quality time.” Most people (and I mean men) assume that being home all day with children is, in and of itself, quality time. But not every woman sees it that way.
Think about it. If you’re a working mother, you can get up at the crack of dawn, shuffle three kids off to day care and then spend the next 8 hours managing employees, negotiating contracts, waiting on customers, caring for patients, or inputting mindless data into a computer.
Or, with the at-home-mommy work day scenerio, you can get up at the crack of dawn and for the next 8 hours listen to three children argue over who gets to use the red crayon first, poke and prod each other until they’re black and blue, and repeat the word “Mommy!!” at the top of their lungs 4,978 times.
In either scenario at the end of the 8 work day, there are still 8 more parenting hours left before you can go to bed and start the whole thing over.
I’m sure if the company that conducted the poll was specific about what they meant by quality time, the results would have been a little different.
If, instead, they had asked moms if they would be willing to take a pay cut to spend the day with their kids at the beach – assuming all the children were either sound asleep in their strollers or inhabited by aliens that caused them to behave like well-mannered royalty, and the moms were laying on beach chairs and sipping pina coladas – I’d guess 100% of the moms would have picked that option.
That, my friend, is quality time.
I’m not knocking motherhood. Hey, to be able to grow another human being inside of your own body is a miraculous experience. And to know that you’re responsible for raising that child to become an adult who’s pinnacle of employment achievement isn’t just a paycheck on the 1st and 15th of the month from his Uncle Sam is an awesome responsiblity.
But it’s not easy to spend all day with people who pick their noses and stuff Cheerios in their ears.
In fact, we should be offering woman a pay raise to stay home with the kids.