A Rocket Building Mother’s Feminist Dilemma
I have been offered the final step to my dream job in the aerospace industry. I’ve been working and going to school in engineering with two kids for a few years now and am nearing graduation. I am a non traditional student who went back to school in my late 20s after becoming a mother.
I’ve just been offered an amazing job opportunity in California for 11 weeks this summer. I would actually be putting hands on things that would launch INTO SPACE! So cool right? It’s a temporary pay cut, but it almost guarantees that I will have so many more opportunities at graduation.
The big downside is that I cannot bring my two boys, ages 5 and 3 along for the ride. My husband is in full support of me going (though I think he doesn’t fully understand what he is signing up for). We don’t have much family and he would be mostly on his own for the summer while working full-time. Still, he insists it’s the best thing for us. The problem is that everyone from my boss and my professors to my own mother is saying things like “How could you leave them for months?” “I could never…” “you have no idea what you are doing!” etc etc
Am I making a terrible mistake? Will my husband resent me forever? Will my connection with my boys ever recover? My youngest is a tender little guy and I’m worried about what my absence might mean for him.
Thanks for listening,
DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!
Ignore the (totally sexist) naysayers. Eleven weeks in California is not a lifetime in Siberia. We have things now called phones! And Skype! And sorts of ways of keeping in regular, daily touch with our loved ones when work and life requires us to be away from them for awhile. Not to mention that leaving your children in the care of THEIR OWN FATHER is hardly callous abandonment. Assuming you didn’t marry the sort of husband from a TV commercial who requires his wife to show him how laundry detergent or paper towels work, he will be fine. And so will your boys!
Not only is this an INCREDIBLE opportunity for you professionally, this is also an incredible opportunity for you as a mother and a strong female role model. Their takeaway from this will NOT be “our mom left us for months and months for no good reason and scarred us for life.” It will probably be something more like “our mom is a superhero who builds ACTUAL FREAKING ROCKET SHIPS FOR SPACEEEEE.”
It’s a bummer that, in 20-freaking-18, you’re getting heaped with working-mom guilt trips from so many people. Including your boss and professors?? Shame on them, honestly, especially given how STEM-related fields desperately need more women to consider them in the first place. Even if this isn’t a decision they’d personally make, I’m surprised that they’d be making such judge-y and unhelpful comments. (Maybe they R JUS JELUS.) Would a dad of two kids get that kind of push back? Probably not, so pffft.
If I was your mom/boss/professor, I’d be more disappointed if you DIDN’T seize this opportunity, after all the effort you’ve put into work and school while balancing motherhood. So there you go. Your Internet Advice Columnist told you to go, so you’re damn well going now.
Mommy is going on a trip. Mommy will come home from her trip. While Mommy is on her trip, she will call/video chat/send fun mail on a regular basis. Have a calendar at home that lets them cross days off and count the days until you’re back. Maybe put together a photo book/social story thing: The astronauts need Mommy’s help! She will help the astronauts and then come back home. Whenever YOU need help, Mommy will be there to help you. And so will Daddy, who will be here the whole time while Mommy is away. Etc. etc.
To the next person who says anything negative, shut it down with something like, “My kids will be in great hands while I’m away, and we’ve decided as a family that this is the right thing for us and it would be a mistake to turn down this opportunity. Thanks for your concern, but we’ve got this.”
Because you DO got this. Go get this! I’m proud of you.
Photo source: Depositphotos/shadoff
Dear readers, you can leave a comment without having to register. Just sign in as a “guest.” We love and appreciate your insights!Published February 22, 2018. Last updated March 5, 2018.