By heather | March 4, 2008
Did anyone catch TLC’s new show last night – The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom? The premise of the show is that TLC takes a SAHM and drops her back into her “dream career.” While the mom is supposedly “away at a spa” for a week, she gets to try out being a working mother. (I hear roaring in my head.) At the end of the show, she decides if she wants to keep her new career, or go back to being a mom.
Disclaimer: I did not see the show. All I know is what I’ve read and digested from other sites. If anything I’m about to say can be disputed from actually watching, feel free to flame me.
- One of my favorite quotes is “Anybody can handle a crisis, it’s this day to day living that wears you out.” That said, doing anything for a week, whether it be working or staying home, barely qualifies as doing it. It’s not the daycare/ work/home/dinner/bedtime routine for a week that wears you out…it’s doing it day in and day out along with all the other stuff that make life LIFE – like bills, cooking, having a relationship, taking time off for doctor’s appointments, etc. The reverse applies too - staying home with your kids for a week would seem like a vacation. Staying home for the foreseeable future and dealing with socialization and identity and all the SAH issues that I wouldn’t proclaim to know anything about, well, I wonder if I could handle it and do it well.
- If the family thinks Mom is at a spa – does this mean that she doesn’t come home at night or deal with any of the routine stuff? If she isn’t truly trying to juggle all that stuff is she really getting a true idea of what it would be like to be back at work? Nope. If you don’t have to try and get home to soak up everything your child is in a few precious hours, you’re not getting the whole picture.
- Who, after not being in the workforce for several years waltzes back into their dream career (if they ever had it in the first place)? Most of us maybesortof enjoy some aspect of work, be it intellectual or the social. Do I love it enough that I would keep working if I won the lottery? Heck no.
- Why do we need another flighty show that characterizes SAH vs Working Moms? Couldn’t this have been approached with a little more intelligence, TLC? Maybe a look at how hard it is and how many roadblocks get thrown up for intelligent moms who want to rejoin the workforce? What happens when they don’t have Tracey Gold holding their hand and have to find an employer on their own? Or a look at all the women who are working because they need to make ends meet, or so they’ll have health insurance for their kids? I guess in that case, it would have had to be on PBS and couldn’t have been sponsored by Jif or a minivan*.
Why I am in such an uproar about a show that has nothing really to do with me, that I wouldn’t have even known about, and why I want to use curse words that start with bullsh!% to describe the whole premise, I don’t know.
Maybe it’s because I’m tired of the whole debate. Maybe it’s because I have SAHM friends and working friends and childless friends who I admire because they are smart and put up with a lot of crap every day from people who know nothing about them no matter what choice they’ve made. I don’t know.
I know I’m going to DVR-it the next time it’s on, and since it’s TLC that will probably be eight times over the next 3 days. I’ll watch it if for no other reason than to see if I’m wrong about the cast of characters that I suspect exist – bumbling daddy, the conflicted mommy, the tough boss, the sad-where’s-mommy-faces on the kids. If I’m wrong, I’ll retract the applicable statements I made here and give TLC some linky love – from me and all 5 of my readers.
I don’t doubt that it’s hard to get back into the workforce after leaving so if there is any good to be had here, it would be to call attention to that.
But guess what? Lots of things are hard. Life isn’t fair. You make choices about your career and family and hopefully things work out somehow. It just burns me that an entire show is built around the premise that it’s one or the other. Shows like this are a decline for anyone – women and men – who take their careers and family life seriously.
*It may not have been sponsored by Jif, but I guarantee a minivan made an appearance somewhere.