Breaking Glass Ceilings can Lead to a Broken Heart | Shannon Katschilo
Passionate about Employee Recognition | Achievers | North America
Breaking Glass Ceilings can Lead to a Broken Heart
“Mommy, don’t be upset, but I want daddy in the room when I wake up, not you.”
That’s what my five year old daughter told me after finding out she could only have one parent in the hospital room after her tonsils were removed. Although I grinned and replied, “Of course honey,” I shattered into a million pieces. I took this snub as a result of my focus on my career. I spent the next week beating myself up, doubting all of the time I spent away at work and asking myself if maybe I had “Leaned In” too far.
Truth be known, and this is not easy to type but, if I had to choose to spend 40 hours at work or 40 hours at home with my kids, I would chose work. I have always firmly believed that being true to who you are, accepting your flaws, and being honest about what makes you happy, is by far the best thing you can do for your children. For our family, this has meant that we don’t hold traditional parenting roles. I have always been proud that my husband and I shared domestic duties equally, however, I was suddenly ashamed that we also equally shared their love.
At day 7 of my pity party, I finally resolved that my daughter choosing comfort in my husband over me didn’t make me a bad mom – in fact, it made perfect sense. My husband has always been the parent that puts our daughters to bed, first to their bedside when they wake up in the middle of the night, and is generally the parent that provides comfort. My days are long, I travel a lot for work, and since the girls were little it has made more sense for my husband to be the primary “care” giver.
Now, give my girls a choice on who they would rather bake cupcakes, have a Beyonce dance-off or go clothes shopping with, and they would choose their mom – hands down.
“I do not believe fathers love their children any less than mothers do, but men do seem more likely to choose their job at a cost to their family, while women seem more likely to choose their family at a cost to their job.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”
As eloquently stated by Anne-Marie Slaughter, however advanced our feminist ideals may be, we as women tend to be harsher on ourselves as mothers, than our husbands do as fathers. My husband couldn’t understand why I was so upset, and I am sure if the tables were turned he wouldn’t have cared if she chose me – his sense of worthiness isn’t tied to an absurd self-inflicted level of parenting perfection.
For women, no matter how many glass ceilings you break, no matter how much of a feminist you are, if you live in our society at some level you’re coming from an assumption that women are caretakers and women should be the more nurturing parent. That is what society, and our parents, and their parents have told us. Our roles are evolving, but our generation must bear the burden of the heaping of guilt that comes with breaking away from societal norms.
If we are to be seen as equals at work, we must accept equal partnership at home.
At the end of the day, I am far from a perfect mom, and although I am still coming to terms with this, I know I am modeling a life I would want my girls to embody. I may have not been her first choice in that hospital room but I know in my heart we are raising two young girls that will grow up to believe they can become anything they want, with male and female role models that will teach them that their sex does not determine their parenting roles. And I will have to come to terms with the fact that the more glass ceilings I break, the more my heart will be broken. It will be a little easier knowing that because of mine and my husband’s example, and because society is changing, my daughters will hopefully only come across glass ceilings in actual buildings.