Writer, Editor, Parent...

The Mommy Track

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Editorial | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

In the States, in corporate life, there’s something called “The Mommy Track.” That’s the opposite of the fast track. The fast track is where you work weekends and insane hours every day for insanely high pay, make junior vice president by age 25, and by 36 you own shares in the company and are a partner, at least. You drive a great car, wear great clothes and possess enough pairs of shoes to stock your own modest DSW.

The Mommy Track is the opposite. It’s the track where you leave work at 3.30 pm on the dot every day so you get time to take the kids to football practice, ballet, piano, or whatever after school niceness they get up to. In my case, it’s pan, choir, track & field, SEA lessons, youth group, astronomy. You don’t work weekends, ever. That’s when you get to do laundry, house cleaning, go to the park or the zoo or cinema or wherever takes the children’s fancy. You don’t spend much money on your car, personal grooming, stylish clothes or the killer heels you saw in the mall. Instead, most of your income goes to paying for all the lessons, tutors, football tugs, guitar strings, children’s limes and parties, new jeans, glasses, etc etc ad infinitum.

If you’re lucky, like I have been, you get to work part-time, or even work from home.

I’m on the Mommy Track but good.

Being on the Mommy Track has its benefits. You get to actually see your children and play a meaningful role in their development. When they come home with good marks, you feel personally responsible for it, because it was you who took them up in spelling the night before they aced that test. You can shop for good food and actually cook it, and sit with your children to have a meal together on evenings. When I worked at a real, full-time job (this was years ago), my children saw me about two hours a day, and only one day on the weekend. Now they’re probably sick of me. I spend all day Saturday driving them around and on a good weekend I cook for three hours, producing the lavish Sunday Lunch which Rito Allen & Dolsie Ollivierre used to make every Sunday when I was a child. (Minus the custard pie and soursop drink, sorry!)

On the rare occasion I have something like a full-time job (as I have for the past few weeks, teaching two three-hour English classes a day, Monday-Thursday), I feel it in my bones. Narcoleptic that I am, I come home exhausted and sleep for three hours before I can even think about doing anything else. Cook? Ha. Chinese, roti and pizza are on speed dial on my phone. Laundry piles up tall as me, and there are strange looking dust bunnies under the couch. (I fear there will one day be an uprising–The Revenge of the Dust Bunnies…Coming Soon to an Apartment Near You!!!)

With any luck, I can soon return to the Mommy Track. The money sucks but if you measure life by your take home pay, you are poorer than you know.