I have to admit that sometimes I still feel really alone in this whole “working mom” gig.
Side note: All moms work. I say “working mom” as a mother who works outside of the home for a paycheck. It’s just a term. I love all y’all forever no matter what your role in society. Even if you’re a prostitute. Probably not if you’re a drug lord. The end.
It’s common in my area for moms to stay home once the babies arrive, due to a mixture of good jobs for the men and painfully high daycare costs in respect to our lower cost of living. When I started back to work after my son was born in late 2009, I was the only working mom that I knew. All of my friends stayed home and it took several years for me to find a little “tribe” of working moms in the area. Moms that wanted early Saturday morning park dates and knew how frustrating it was to show up to a status meeting with oatmeal on the crotch of your slacks.
But still I look back on my childhood with a stay-at-home-mother and wistfully wonder what it would be like. My son asks me why we can’t go to the pool on Wednesdays when the neighbor girls get to. And re-runs of old shows on Netflix make me wonder if I’m the freak for loving my job outside of the home.
Then I stumbled on these amazing, rare color photos from World War II on the Daily Mail Online and it was a sharp reminder that women at work is not a new concept. The photos were mostly taken by Alfred T. Palmer over fifty years ago and can now be found in the Library of Congress. Mothers bringing home the bacon and frying it is not a 21st century novelty. We’ve been doing it for years! True, most of these women went to work only because the men were overseas. But looking at these women, I felt such a kinship with their roles in society at the time. And it made me think that the reasons they worked then and the reasons that I work now may not be so different at the root of it all…
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