- Season 1, Episode 7: Hey Society, A Little Help Here? Love Moms
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Susan: [00:00:00] I’ll be honest, when I was in college and I saw homemaker moms, I’m like, why would you do that? Like, why don’t you go out and work? And now that I know one how hard it is to raise a kid, but realize how quickly art is growing up. Then I wonder about the times when I’m on my phone, trying to like finish some last minute emails or whatever, you know, where I’m like, what am I doing.
Susan: So today’s episode is talking about how are we supposed to become moms and be lady bosses at the same time? You know, how do we dominate at work and feel like we’re showing up for our families when there’s all these pressures of just like how the world perceives who we are and what they expect of us.
Susan: And so I just wanted to ask you, do you also wish you were French? Like, do you ever get super jealous at Europe and go like, Oh my God, they get subsidized daycare and they get all this time off. And like, [00:01:00] I want to go to this French school that teaches my kids how to butter bread.
Kate: Yeah, I mean, I remember I was in Paris a few years ago before I got pregnant visiting my friends. I used to live there. And then I was talking to my friend who was pregnant with her second. And, you know, she was like very chill, relaxed years ago. My son is at this, you know, daycare. It’s like a five minute walk from our apartment municipal daycare.
Kate: And I, you know, being Asian, I was like, so how much are you paying? And she was like, like couple hundred euros a month. And I was like,
Susan: wow, you know how much my friends are
Kate: for daycare, like over $2,000 a month. So, you know, yes. I think part of me feels envious of my European friends.
Susan: But would you want to move there?
Susan: Like, would you want, Oh,
Kate: well, yes, actually, you know, it’s [00:02:00] enough. The childcare situation in the U S is enough for me to actually contemplating moving, although not to Europe, but my husband and I have talked about moving to Singapore well for the Chinese language immersion environment, but then also for like the
Susan: relatively lower cost of childcare.
Kate: But it’s also not great right. Into like a country where labor is cheaper as opposed to a place where there’s institutional support or like, you know, systematic support
Susan: for families. Yeah. Yeah. How about you Jeanette? How’s your relationship with managing childcare and corporate life?
Jeanette: I think it’s it’s okay. So far. I mean, I think for me, There’s a couple of factors. One was, I think before this job, I held a number of jobs where I was working, you know, 80 plus hours a week, like on a regular basis and being on a flight all the time. And so I think just in comparison it feels [00:03:00] more manageable.
Jeanette: So I think they just kind of have like a stilted perspective, right. A bit. And then also the fact that my mom lives with us. Even though that brings us own complications, it’s helpful in that I know that there’s like backup care right. In case you know, my kids are sick or whatever. Right.
Jeanette: It just, it’s just helpful to have that. And I know that that’s not the situation for most people in the U S so I think my experiences you know, not typical I’ve never lived in Europe. I’ve visited, but never lived there, lived there. So I don’t really have the strong feeling of wanting to move to a European country for, you know, a social welfare system.
Jeanette: But yeah, I mean, I think that brings up like some interesting questions. I mean, Kate, like one question for you is, do you know if there’s any limit on how many children you can send to a state subsidized daycare? So basically if you had like 10 children, could you just [00:04:00] send all 10 of them or does the subsidy like gradually go down after like,
Kate: well, so I don’t know anybody who has 10 children, but I don’t think at least if you have like two or three, I don’t, I don’t think there’s like a, it’s not, yeah, I don’t.
Kate: It’s it’s, it’s not like
Susan: dependent on the number. Oh, I couldn’t go on and call them up. Excuse me. Is there a maximum limit
Kate: 10? Yeah, I mean, I think in the U S the thing that kind of pisses me off is that everything it’s, it’s very capitalist. Right. And it pushes the burden on the families. And so it’s like this weird situation where I guess, like, I guess if you have money, you know, you can afford to have more kids.
Kate: But the funny thing is typically people who have more money also tend to be working, you know, dual income families. Right. Where the parents are really busy. And so they’re probably not really thinking about having a lot of kids. Like, I dunno for the two of you, how many kids are you thinking? You know, like, do you want to have five kids?
Kate: Can you afford to have, I don’t know. So that’s like the weird thing, right. [00:05:00] I don’t know for me, when I think about
Susan: it kind of seems like when you have more kids, it’s now a status of wealth. You know, I
Kate: have noticed that I know some people who shall go unnamed, like friends of friends and they are very wealthy and actually they do have five kids.
Kate: I think there’s a small subset. You’re right. Susan, I think there’s a small subset of wealthy people who do actually end up, you know, having a lot of kids and they can afford one nanny per kid, plus like, you know, a Gardner housekeepers maids, dah, dah, dah, all this stuff. Right. So it’s basically like, you’re, you’re running like a business, but the business is your home.
Susan: Right. Wow. One nanny per kid. That’s like a fantasy of mine is just to have like an, an assistant. Right. But I had hired them as a nanny and maybe they’d like help me with my laundry issues,
Jeanette: Even if you had one nanny per child, I mean, do you feel like you would be able to spend sufficient time with each child?
Jeanette: Right. Jake and I are in [00:06:00] planning to have more kids, but I think that’s something we talk about, right. It’s like, Oh, well, we’re not planning on having a third kid. But part of the reason is because we feel like we won’t be able to spend sufficient time with that kid and our other two kids that we already have.
Jeanette: So I think that that is a part of it. Can I just bring up something that happened today? That was kind of on this topic. So my mom this morning said something that made me really angry and it wasn’t really her fault, but it really triggered me.
Jeanette: So she said she was talking about some friends and talking about how The husband is now making more than the wife, even though the wife is better educated and how the wife might then feel like a little bit angry about it or, or resentful. And she said something like, Oh, well, you know, maybe it’s just because women aren’t that aggressive [00:07:00] career-wise and it just really, I just, I said, mom, stop talking.
Jeanette: You don’t know anything about this world? You know, like women working in professional white collar jobs and having kids because, you know, and maybe that’s a little harsh to say, but I mean, it’s true. My mom doesn’t, she doesn’t, she didn’t inhabit that world. She doesn’t have a lot of friends who inhabit that world either.
Jeanette: So I was trying to unpack actually later why I was so triggered by that statement. And this is my working hypothesis, but I think for some, maybe many women it feels like, you know, we are expected to be perfect at home and at work. And if there’s like any question about whether we are, doing less than perfect on either one, it feels kind of like this existential threat.
Jeanette: Right. And it also made me think about why that is . [00:08:00] Maybe there’s this underlying feeling like, you know, historically woman has belonged in the home. And so for us to venture out and do other things outside the home, it’s like we have to have everything perfect at home for us to have the privilege of having a life outside the home.
Jeanette: In Korea, when with became like more common for women to start driving and like have their own cars and stuff. And this was, you know, when I was young, my mom told me this story just in passing. She’s like, Oh yeah, like male drivers would honk at them, would honk female drivers on the road and tell them like, some of them would yell out the window, like go home and, you know, make dinner or go home and, you know, fold the laundry.
Jeanette: And so some women started putting bumper stickers on their car saying, Hey, I finished the laundry. So, you know, don’t worry about it. But it’s like this feeling like, why do we have to like, do you guys also feel like there’s this like unspoken expectation that. You know, if you’re like, home is not all buttoned up [00:09:00] and put together, then like you actually shouldn’t be working.
Jeanette: And so, and if you’re not doing a good job at work, then maybe you shouldn’t be working either. Right. And so you have to be perfect at home and at work in order to like, justify your place as like a working mom. I don’t know. What do you guys think about that? That’s most of my working theory, I have to think about it more.
Kate: I think that for me, there’s also a mental burden on needing, I don’t know if it’s put by myself or expectations. But yeah, I feel like there is a burden to keep all the stuff running, you know, in, in the home, like, like I’m the CEO of the house, right? Like this household, if it’s, again, if we’re going to liken it to a business and that.
Kate: You know? Yeah. I think sometimes I feel like, Oh, I have all of this. It feels like a job. I don’t know. It’s not [00:10:00] quite exactly answering your question, but it definitely feels like a job running the family and also then, you know, real job. Right. But then I don’t know. I hate saying that like, Oh, running a family is like not a real job.
Kate: And I know there’s a lot of like, Oh, being a mom is like, you know, it’s like a full-time job or being like a stay-at-home mom. It’s like a job job. And people say that, but it, it really does to me. But then I wonder, am I just taking it too seriously? Right. Like, can I just be more casual about stuff to sort of what you were saying earlier, Jeanette?
Kate: Like, am I demanding too much of myself to like be the CEO of this household and have everything together? Maybe I don’t have to write, like I could just like. Let things slide more. I think for me, I do there is that I do have the expectation of myself that I can’t just let things slide. Right. I just have to like run the tight ship.
Kate: I don’t know, Susan, what do you, do you feel this way or is Marvin like running the tight ship?
Susan: It’s a complicated question. I mean, Kate, I think what you’re saying, the [00:11:00] crux of what you’re saying is, is the reason why we were devaluing women running the household is because of capitalism, right? Because we’re not actually yielding any money.
Susan: It’s all hidden savings. You know, if you decide to go to this grocery store versus another one, or, you know, you make an effort to be on whatever neighborhood Facebook group to go find used things like it doesn’t look as it does. No one sees it as,
Susan: so I think that’s why it’s like a, not very like glamorous job or valued. I I’m, I’m coming from this situation where, okay, I’m a freelance artist. We have daycare from eight to four, and I feel very responsible for art and the family and dinner and any extra chores or how clean the house is. Like, I feel responsible.
Susan: Right. And, but then what it does is it really extends my working time or later on when art’s sleeping, I’m going back to work. And so [00:12:00] how do we measure, how should I expect it to be 50 50 with Marvin in terms of hours or because he’s actually pulling in real cash, that’s actually paying for most of our mortgage then should I just always fill in, you know, and make sure that the perfect, the birthday party was as great as it could be, or that I’m already doing the meal planning for next week?
Susan: You know, like, I feel like I’m always taking on way more labor and always thinking, or like, Oh, we should really send thank you notes to these people. And none of that. And it’s just like, I also think I’m kind of uptight though, you know, like I think on just comparing me to him, like I admire how he’s so relaxed about things we
Kate: can afford to be fucking relaxed.
Kate: Cause his whole fucking life
Jeanette: women have been doing
Kate: the fucking job for him. Sorry, too many fucking so you can cut it out when we edit. Well,
Jeanette: we’ll just leave it in. I don’t know. Kenry
Susan: yeah, we can
Kate: leave it in, but I think that’s the case with my husband. Like he doesn’t think to send like, friggin thank you.
Kate: And so like, you know, his mom my [00:13:00] mother-in-law came and like brought these gifts that her friends had made for like, you know, rye, which is really sweet, but you know, and then she told me to write like a fucking thank you note. And I’m like, your son is closer to these, like people I’ve never met. Right.
Kate: But guess who ends up sending on TD or on T blah, blah, blah. Thank you for, you know, the blanket you needed, right.
Jeanette: So for listeners who can’t hear that want to be herself
Kate: depending to myself. Right. Sorry, I’m getting very angry about this, but like it adds up. Right. I feel I keep that. I can give you like a million situations.
Kate: I feel like a lot of it is in how we were raised. I’m going to go back to is like, you know, Asians and Asian households, you know what my dad said to me, like multiple times when I was growing up and I thought it was funny at the time, but now I don’t think it’s funny. He used to say, he was like, Oh, if you had a younger brother or an older brother, we probably wouldn’t pay that much attention to, you know, series.
Kate: But he would say it was like a joke joke, you know, but not really joke, like joke, not joke. [00:14:00] But I think what he really meant was like, I think we’d put all of our hopes and we’d like direct all our attention to your brother. Right. And then I wouldn’t get so much attention or whatever.
Jeanette: I totally agree with you, Susan. I think a lot of the w labor inside the home is not valued because there’s no dollars put on it. Right. Like if we were to outsource everything that moms do, and some of it’s not even really outsourceable.
Jeanette: Right. I think that it would make more visible like that work, but oftentimes it’s invisible and therefore yes, in our capitalist society, it’s less valued. It’s less sexy. It’s less respected. But do you feel that if that work was respected, how would that change things?
Jeanette: Right? Would that change things at all? Let me ask a very provocative question. Okay. And I feel like as our episodes go on and we tackle more difficult questions, I feel. More [00:15:00] in danger of saying things that will make people upset, but you know, okay. One question is hypothetically, if women’s labor in the home were more valued the way it should be.
Jeanette: And all the intelligence and the diligence conscientiousness like strategic thinking, all of that, that goes into writing a household was given its due respect. Do you think the same number of women who had a choice would choose to work outside the home?
Susan: Jeanette you’re, you’re just basically poking at the crux of our couples counseling issues, which is like, if only we, I would be appreciated and acknowledged for everything I do or whatever I say, then when they’re just be harmony, you know, like I, I kind of sitting here going like, well, yeah, that’d be awesome.
Susan: But I think that’s just like maybe our dysfunction. Which is he has trouble recognizing and acknowledging my current feelings and [00:16:00] needs. So if that all that happened, I think that would be great. Jeanette, that’d be great. Sign me up.
Susan: Sorry, I didn’t answer your question.
Jeanette: No, I think you, yeah, you didn’t really answer it in the sense, like, okay.
Jeanette: I think in some ways there’s more of a pressure for smart, talented women to need to work outside the home. To kind of show that we can, right. And that we have the ability to do it. Even if we run a super tight ship at home and like with five kids running around, like that is a lot of work.
Jeanette: Right. But if that doesn’t sufficiently garner the kind of respect that we should garner for doing that work. I think it adds to like this overall pressure to, to do it outside the home. I dunno.
Jeanette: I’m not saying it’s the sole reason people work outside the home, but I think it’s an add a pressure slash added motivation to work outside the home,
Susan: to prove your worth and [00:17:00] value. Kind of, but then at the same time, it’s like, it’s like saying like, Oh, look at those women in the 1950s, those homemakers were so happy, but they weren’t liberated.
Susan: And look at me, I’m liberated now, you know? But on the flip side, it’s like, when we’re so liberated and have so much management responsibility or whatever it is, it takes away a lot of brain space from actually hanging out and enjoying our kids and being present with them and like providing like really great enriching time together.
Susan: Right. But I’ll be honest, when I was in college and I saw homemaker moms, I’m like, why would you do that? Like, why don’t you go out and work? And now that I know one how hard it is to raise a kid, but realize how quickly art is growing up. Then I wonder about the times when I’m on my phone, trying to like finish some last minute emails or whatever, you know, where I’m like, what am I doing.
Susan: So I think there is a real tension in trade trade-off of how much time should we devote to work? What does [00:18:00] work really mean? And who are we at the end of the day? Like who is determining our value? Where does it really come from?
Jeanette: Yeah. And I think that that kind of gets to the crux of some of the tensions that at least I feel .
Jeanette: And I think a lot of working professional moms feel, which is
Jeanette: There’s a part of you that knows this work of being present with your kid and raising them and yeah, taking care of them is super important to you as a mom, but also this feeling like that work is not adequately valued by society.
Susan: Totally. Like if I do, do, I think my LinkedIn is going to be on my tombstone. No, but do I sometimes feel that pressure. Yes. You know, like, do you ever look at someone’s LinkedIn and you go, huh? They haven’t gotten promoted in within the two to four year range. What happened there? Like, do you ever think that, or do you ever go like, [00:19:00] Oh, what are they doing or did they move up?
Susan: Do they go to bigger companies or better companies? Do they get more badges? And it’s like, sometimes my mind and my ego really does go there. But at the same time, like your LinkedIn profile is not going to be on your tombstone in the last two weeks. I’ve I know two people who have died and it’s been a really sobering moment for me to really think about that.
Susan: But constantly my ego goes, money is worth, you know, and it totally comes from my parents being refugees and what they’ve ingrained in me about money. So I totally hear you Jeanette, where it’s like, I do feel that pressure, like I should be working. I should be. Productive financially, you know, and I constantly feel guilty and ashamed that I pursued my passion as an artist because I’m not actually making as much as our peers, you know, and that makes me totally anxious most of the time.
Susan: Sometimes I feel pretty good about myself, but [00:20:00] most of the time I do swirl and I get jealous and I get really nervous about my own worth. And then it puts more weight. And I, but then really my husband just thinks I’m really high, strong, and he’s like, no one cares about the birthday party. I’m like, I care.
Susan: I care about the birthday party and the hyperlinks need to be hyperlinked. You know, like it’s sometimes like a waste of total energy, but it’s like constantly trying to prove my enoughness because I’m not making an equal amount of money.
Jeanette: Well, I think that’s kind of a double whammy, right? It’s like, as a mom, you have to put in that work, that, that work is not always valued as it should be by society.
Jeanette: And in that way, you’re, you’re kind of shouldering a disproportionate amount of the work and the mental burden, but then also like, because you chose a less than conventional career path and at least now financially you’re contributing less to the household. You feel like even more that you have to pick up more around the
Susan: Totally. I mean, we [00:21:00] both graduated with the same MBA degree, you know? So when we know like on paper we’re equals, but just is bringing in way more money than me.
Kate: I mean, I think this is what, again, comes back to what Susan was saying earlier, what is valued as money, right? Money gives a person certain worth.
Kate: But you know, now I’m thinking, as you guys were saying about like all these things, I feel this sort of wave of quiet desperation where I’m like, how will this change? Right. Cause I was thinking again, you know, me and my husband, like. He has all this time. He has certain interests. He spends a lot of time on his startup, obviously.
Kate: And I’m like, you know, if I had this much free time in my head to be thinking about all these things, I would also be learning a lot more. So instead the free time in my head is taken up with, Oh, my daughter’s running out of diapers. I need to buy, heard more diapers. Oh, I really need to look at these bilingual like daycares.
Kate: I’m going to research all this stuff like, Oh, okay. Now she’s like, get it going off her bottle. So I need to think about what sippy cup to buy her.
Susan: But you know, like, is this,
Kate: this thing [00:22:00] that moms are just wired to have to think about? Like, is there a way of fairly dividing that labor, which is a lot, right.
Kate: You know, as a kid grows up, it’s like starts with, you know, first it’s like, like, I don’t know.
Kate: bottles. And then it gets more and more progressively complex. Right. But I feel like for me, I’m doing all the proactive thing. I could farm out a couple of tasks to my husband, but like, I’m thinking about it all the time.
Kate: And they’re like a thousand of those, but I mean, what do you think is this just like the curse of the mom? Like we just have to be the ones, right. Or I think about like, I’m on Instagram, right. I used to follow some parenting accounts. They’re all
Jeanette: friggin women and they’ll
Kate: say, Oh, my husband is very supportive of this account.
Kate: Or like, Oh, I work. Full-time at Microsoft as a program manager. And I’m really interested in like Montessori. So I have this like account, but I’m like, where are the friggin dads who also work full-time in Microsoft? Where are their friggin Montessori like parenting accounts? Do you see what I mean? Sorry.
Kate: I just, again, I’m very rude.[00:23:00]
Susan: Maybe it’s just, we’re just wired.
Jeanette: I mean, we are wired, you know, I mentioned this before. Right. But there was that baby’s Netflix documentary series. After the mom gives birth, your brain literally changes. Like they can see it in the whatever brain scan. Sorry, my brain’s not working the MRI machine.
Jeanette: Right. Literally the structure of your brain changes. The amygdala that’s responsible for worrying and being hypervigilant actually gets bigger. So I think that there is, there is something biological about it. I want things to move more towards an equal balance of parenting responsibility.
Jeanette: I guess I’m a little bit resigned to the idea that moms will always shoulder like a disproportionate amount. I’m not saying there’s not room for improvement, there is, and I also think that we’ve read like some of the benefits of you know, just the [00:24:00] relationship with your kid that is special. I think like a mom, kid relationship is special.
Jeanette: Right? And I think part of it is because we are the ones who feel most, responsible for them. Yeah. I think that there is like a special bond there. But maybe that kind of crazy, hyper-vigilance like extra attention is the price for that. But I don’t know. I mean, I feel like feminism today , I don’t understand like what feminism today really stands for.
Jeanette: And I feel like some of the things that I’m saying, some people would be like, yeah, that makes sense. I, you know, I don’t find that controversial and I feel like some people just want to like rip my head off because you know, what I’m essentially saying is that women and men are not exactly the same.
Kate: Well, I think that’s true. And I think the real question though, is, you know, if there are certain things that women are hardwired to do right. Evolutionarily, and we can’t move away from that, then really shouldn’t the real responsibility of [00:25:00] society be to be able to support us in a way, like, if we can’t move certain burdens or responsibilities to the husband, what can help us?
Kate: Right. Like just asking you in your wildest dreams, like unbounded by sciencing technology, like what would
Susan: lighten the load for you? I would love it if, you know, like the four hour work week, except it would be like one week off when I’m obviating. You know what I mean? Like when, when I’m going through a really intense mood period where everything just feels terrible or everything’s really hard, I just wish I could just take that time off.
Susan: And I don’t need to call it a mental health day. It’s just like, no, you know, like if you hire me, here’s my moon cycle. It’s an attachment. Like we’re just going to put it in the calendar. Like, wouldn’t that be awesome.
Kate: That doesn’t require [00:26:00] very much
Susan: technology, but a lot of policy. Yeah.
Jeanette: Yeah. I think just support on the childcare and house care front would go a long way. I’m fortunate to have a lot of that support. I feel like I I’m able to have like a more reasonable balance because of that support, right.
Jeanette: To do my job, but then also feel like I have enough quality time with my kids, but I don’t think that that’s That’s a situation for everyone. And I feel like I it’s just too, it’s really hard without that. But like, I think you’re right, Kate. I mean, if we think that women have to bear a disproportionate burden, then I tend to think as a society, we should be asking, you know, what can we do to support that?
Jeanette: Right. It’s like not everything has to be 50 50 on all the same dimensions. Right. [00:27:00] I mean, I think that there’s also implications for, how work is structured and how career paths are structured. You know, I do think that for a lot of women and myself included, like when my kids are young and especially when they’re babies, like, I don’t really want to have.
Jeanette: A crazy travel schedule working like 80 plus hours a week. I mean, I left those careers and I know women who are still working those careers while having kids. And I have complete respect for that. And I think every woman needs to make their own decision, but for me, that just was not how I wanted to do it.
Jeanette: And I think that’s true for, for many women. And so I think just flexibility in being able to ramp up and down your career intensity without feeling like you’re giving up all the opportunity to you know, fulfill your professional potential. But the fact is for many people, the most critical times of your professional [00:28:00] life coincide with your childbearing years.
Susan: I’ve met a couple of women who come back into the workforce and they’re like mid to late forties. And they’re so nervous. They’re out of touch with tech lingo and it’s like, I feel so bad for them because all like, they made a sacrifice for their families, right? Like they chose family over ego and career, to be honest.
Susan: And when they come back, like it’s like a big mountain, they need to climb to get back into it, you know? And then they’re like, it’s just, it’s so unfair. So unfair that we have to make these trade-offs or feel that it’s always on us, you know? The
Kate: other thing, I, I think it’s going to be maybe slightly controversial and maybe kind of mean, I don’t know, but it’s, I think [00:29:00] women put pressure and moms put pressure on each other because ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been like, you know, subject to a lot of ads for parenting stuff, you know, I follow like, you know, various Instagram accounts and I, I I’m competitive.
Kate: Right? So I’m like comparing against these moms who are stay-at-home moms, which I know is a lot of work, but like they’re, full-time stay-at-home moms, but in my head I’m like, Oh my God, I don’t have this setup. I don’t have this. So I like try to like, be like that, but I keep forgetting that I have work. I mean, I’m kind of, I’m still, I’ve been mostly part-time since my daughter was born, but still I was like, I have work.
Kate: I’m not like a full stay at home mom. So I don’t know. I think sometimes there’s this culture around like parenting, right? Modern parenting, modern mommy thing today that puts a lot of pressure on moms to be like, perfect or, you know, get these things or, you know, I don’t know. I feel like sometimes we create this pressure for each other.
Kate: That’s not great.
Susan: I keep [00:30:00] going back and forth on these love every toys, so intense. I go, Oh, don’t I want age-appropriate things for my kid. I know aren’t really likes packaging, but come on Susan, like you can cover up that money is actually, it takes me a lot of time to go find, use toys on Facebook, on the West Seattle moms group, and then go pick it up and negotiate stuff and like Hawk for things like that takes my time.
Susan: And I don’t have a lot of it, you know? And I go, Oh, should I buy these little everyone? So I buy the love, every toys that are used on Facebook at half price, he loves them. He loves them. And I’m just so stressed out because I was like, if I want to be a good mom and give them age appropriate things for where his brain is developing, I should just carve up this money and have it come to me, shipped to me.
Susan: So I don’t waste my time looking for stuff anymore. And then I go, Susan, you did not have age appropriate toys. You turned out fine. [00:31:00] And then I’m like, you know what? Fine. I’m just kidding. I know. Did I turn terrible sometimes? But like, I just sit there and I go like, look, if I buy these love every toys, then I, then it’s actually an efficient use of my time.
Susan: Because then I’m not doing time, like schlepping around, like going to porch pick-ups and all this stuff, like, seriously, it takes time. Right. I want to be like, but, but then I feel like I’m not being like a child of refugees hustler and like saving money and like we’re making money every time we save, you know, like, I there’s like so many, like some people just have like the angel and the devil on their shoulders.
Susan: Like, I feel like I have my dead grandma and my dead mom, you know? And then like, I don’t, I’m just like so many other people are like, it’s like, there’s not enough room on the shoulders anymore. For all these voices [00:32:00] that are constantly beating into my head going, like, are you sure you want to do that? Why didn’t you do that?
Susan: That’s still undone. Your to-do list is shit, Susan. Like it doesn’t work and I’m like, Oh my God. And then it’s just like, and then I want to have an interesting Instagram account because that’s part of my brand and I, and I need to like launch all these things and like hustle all the time and like keep building buzz.
Susan: And I’m just like so tired. I’m so tired. And then I think I should have, I should just pony up on that toy subscription, because this is like, I have, there’s like the amount of brain space, like Janette you you’re talking about the other day, like your CPU’s, you know, like there’s only so much space for your brain to hold tasks and can we just farm out the ones that really just don’t give us that much value, but I’m still, I don’t know.
Susan: Me and my therapist are talking about I’m really hard on myself, you know? And then when she says that, [00:33:00] I’m just kind of like, no, I’m not, I still have a lot more like I could do, like, have you, you know, I feel like a failure all the time. And then I am hard on myself on being hard on myself. Is that the burden of being a woman?
Jeanette: Well, I think it kind of, I think it’s part of the immigrant mentality. I think that that’s definitely a part of it . But I do think that a lot of us feel like we need to be the perfect mom and the perfect in whatever job we’re doing.
Jeanette: Right. And we almost don’t allow ourselves or we feel like society doesn’t allow us to have a presence like outside the home, unless we. Are doing a perfect job at home. Right. So like for art like that, you need to feel like he’s having all the toys and he’s having all the developmentally appropriate things and all of that.
Jeanette: And like, if he doesn’t have that, then you know, then like [00:34:00] you would sacrifice your job to do that. Right. Because that like comes first.
Susan: No, but that’s the tension, right? Yeah. That is a total. I identify with my career a lot. I derive a lot of value and meaning from it like a lot. So, and then, so then I feel like a bad mom again, right.
Susan: Because I’m like, why am I not caring about my kid more? It’s it’s I feel stuck.
Jeanette: Yeah. And I think it’s this kind of or situation. And then like on the flip side, I think a lot of women feel pressure not to talk that much about their home life or about their kids or what their kids need, or if you ever need to take flex from work so that you could address home stuff.
Jeanette: It’s like, we can’t also show that vulnerability because then I think there’s like, it feels like we’re being questioned about whether we’re fully dedicated to our work. Right? So it’s like on both [00:35:00] sides, we it’s like this pressure to be perfect on both sides. And I think that’s a little bit too where I think we all feel insecure about it.
Jeanette: Right. And insecurity, breeds that kind of competitiveness. And I think that that’s where some of those competitiveness Kate that you were talking about might come from, which is, Hey, like I know we all feel insecure, but look, I have it all together. You know and then like, everybody else is like, Oh shit.
Jeanette: Like I don’t have it all together. The one day I feel like I have it all together. I’m gonna post about it. Or I’m going to like, create this like image where I have it all together, because I know that that is what people want,
Susan: but all of us struggle with
Susan: I once got my sister a sweater for Christmas and it says in gold cursive, I’m so tired. This is what the entire sweater says. And she loves it, you know? [00:36:00] And that was before I was a mom. And now I understand. I’m like, Oh, now I understand why you’re so tired. You know, it’s just like, so like, we’ve got enough things like dinging on our phone with notifications, but internally we have it going off all the time.
Susan: On how to do it the best and be there totally. And enjoy every moment and like make a casserole for my friend who just gave birth, you know? And you’re like, Oh my God, how am I going to do it? And we’re not even talking about competing at, at work with like women fighting women. Right. In terms of just like, sometimes it just feels so competitive to, to stand out that there’s a lot of cat fighting at work, you know, back in, when I was in the private sector, I’d be like, did that just happen?
Susan: Or that was kind of weird, you know? And it’s just like,
Susan: how do you win?[00:37:00]
Susan: That’s why I was meditating this morning. And the teacher was like, there’s no self. And I was like, you’re right. If there’s no self, then I won’t be as stressed out. Yeah. There is no self. That only lasted for like 10 minutes.
Kate: I don’t know, but winning. Right. Like sometimes I think hope lies with it. This I’m going to sound very preachy, hope lies within the next generation.
Kate: Right. I don’t have a son, but you guys wait,
Susan: you’re saying this in your, in your mid thirties, you’re already talking about the next generation
Jeanette: give up. It’s only gonna get better in the next generation. There are
Kate: certain things, right. We talked about, there needs to be some systemic change, right? Like policy level, government level, et cetera, which I guess we can impact in some way, perhaps.
Kate: But I was also thinking a lot about personally on a, on a personal level, what, what would help? And I, I feel like in my personal situation, you know, perhaps had my husband been raised by a mom by [00:38:00] parents who emphasize the importance of sharing the burden of really having conversations around, you know the challenges that women face, right.
Kate: Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe he would be, I think not, maybe he would be different, right. He would be
Susan: different. You don’t think your husband’s teachable.
Kate: It’s not that I don’t think he’s teachable. I think like he’s already very tired. Right. So he’s like, okay, give me a list of all the things, you know, I should do.
Kate: But like, I think it’s very hard to change someone fundamentally from this aspect. Right? He’s never gonna be as micro concerned or like, you know, proactively thinking about certain things. Right. Cause it’s just not what he’s. I mean, I know some of that is wiring, but some of that’s also just like force of habit and what he saw growing up.
Kate: Right. And also, I can’t change the fact that his mom and my mom are always going to come to me for like household stuff and like kids stuff. Right. [00:39:00] Do you see what I mean? Like there’s just so many influences at play that I don’t have control over that influence him. Whereas I feel like maybe for the next generation, you know, like Susan, art’s going to see as a bad-ass mom.
Kate: Right. Who’s like doing all this stuff and like, he’s going to be inspired by that. He’s going to want to be with a bad-ass woman. He’s going to know badass women do stuff and they need support. And like, you know, just by seeing you and same, right. With you Jeanette, like I think having sons who see how you guys are, and hopefully if you guys are, it seems like you guys are having conversations with your spouses, right.
Kate: Going to therapy and like dealing with all this stuff, you know, it’s not like I’m giving up hope for us, but I feel like maybe the, you know, it will be so much more different for the next generation. Maybe in some ways, or maybe not, maybe I’m just deluding myself.
Susan: I got to tell you what happened today while I was prepping for dinner.
Susan: Okay. So we got some beats in our CSA box. No one ever wants to peel and cut the beets. I’m peeling and cutting the beats. [00:40:00] Marvin is on his iPad talking to his dad. He’s supposed to be in charge of art. I see Marvin going all the way to the sunny seat by the window. And art is like kind of closer to me.
Susan: And he’s like standing with this tripod and like jumping up on it and it looks like he’s going to Ram it into his mouth. Then at one point he like falls backwards and like, his head is in a corner. And then finally Marvin like gets up to pick him up and I’m like, thank God. Like I’m cutting these beads.
Susan: My hands are all red. You know, getting them all, all of oily. And then he just like leaves art in the same exact location with the tripod. And I’m sitting there going, like, what are you doing? Like, I keep looking over at him, like with his knife in my hand being like, get the kid. I know you’re talking to your dad.
Susan: You can talk to your dad and have the kid there at the same time. And like, he doesn’t get an art list, like putting the tripod in his mouth and about to fall over again. I’m sitting there going like, is this, is this. Is this obvious I’m like, am I [00:41:00] wired as a mom? Or do you just not care? You know? Like, I’m just like, why?
Susan: So it’s like, I know, but it’s on. But see the, you see the labor, how is the labor still on me? So even though art will see me. Yeah. Okay. My profession is cool, but like at home, like I w I will just like, I have to keep sticking up for myself and asking and reminding, and it’s just like annoying. Yeah. It’s fricking annoying.
Susan: And I will say the whole generation comment, I’m pushing back with you, Kate Nancy Pelosi’s in her eighties, she’s getting a lot done in her eighties. So we still got, if you know, Gouda willing 40 to 50 years, we can do a lot in 40 to 50 years in terms of changing things outside of our group, switch careers so many times.
Susan: So. But yeah, I’m just kind of like, yes, art can witness me, but at the [00:42:00] same time, he will also see me be very frustrated and exasperated, and that’s also not cool.
Jeanette: But do you also feel like there’s a lack of clarity on what women want from men from each other? From society? I mean, I feel like this goes back to my comment about, okay, like what does it mean to be feminist in our generation?
Jeanette: Right. And you know, I’m Senator left. I don’t identify as conservative, but I do think, you know, especially after becoming a mom, like, I don’t think the right definition, at least for me, or my view at this point in my life is that women and men are completely the same and we should be treated exactly the same.
Jeanette: Because I do think women and men are different, especially if you choose to become a mom. [00:43:00] And so, you know, I mean, fair doesn’t mean the same . I just want it to be fair, right? If men value having children and having families, and you also value us as people who contribute a lot in the house and can also contribute a lot in society, then you need to put in the supports where we can do that.
Jeanette: Right. And, but I feel like it’s very muddled, like the whole messaging. Right. I feel like in college, if, if I had heard that I would be like, no women and men are the same. Right. And I can. Like in, in, in most things that I’ve done, I’ve like beat most of the men. Right. So I don’t need special treatment. So I think that it’s a little bit, it it’s, it’s a different and a bit of a difficult position to have to wrap my mind around.
Jeanette: But I think as I’ve gotten older, that’s more where I’ve landed. Right. But I feel [00:44:00] like it’s like I said, I mean, it’s so modeled. Right. I feel like when, as I say this, some people will just be super angry with me and some people will just be like, yeah, that sounds right. But I just don’t think that even like, to, to be a bit more empathetic towards our husbands or other men around us, I don’t think that the messaging is very clear. What, what are we asking for? Are we asking to be treated exactly the same or are we being asked to be treated fairly, but not necessarily the same?
Jeanette: And what does that mean?
Susan: My husband too. Remember when I’m like, I need you to acknowledge my feelings when I’m down, you know, like that is like, there are specific ways that I need him to support me, whether that’s doing my taxes or like affirming ni or whatever. I think I’m pretty clear and I think we just have a dysfunctional loop where he forgets [00:45:00] for whatever reason.
Susan: And it drives me nuts because I’m like, I don’t forget the things that you ask me to. Then again, I’m also kind of like a slob and like, I will have my messages because I. I have messages, you know, and I, I don’t know. It’s hard. Like part of this also is just human behavior and relationships, you know,
Susan: I’m a confused feminist.
Jeanette: Yeah. I feel like feminism in our generation is actually pretty confused because I think like the, the, I mean, Susan, you study social studies, you know, much more about this than I do, but it feels like kind of the more like earlier ways of feminism are like women and men are the same.
Jeanette: Right. And then it kind of like got us forward, but like, it actually wasn’t maybe exactly right. That right. Answer for a lot of women. I mean, like, that’s kind of where I am, [00:46:00] which is like, I’m not the same as my husband. Like,
Susan: well, it was more, we are the same, so we should be able to vote and also own property in our own name.
Susan: Like, and we should be able to go to school, which is like not saying we’re the same. It’s like, actually we’re just humans. Like don’t treat us like animals, you know? Like, so that, I think that was what, maybe that’s what the same meant,
Jeanette: right? Yes. Which is like a very low bar. Obviously I am like totally on board for all of that, but then I think there’s nothing to replace that though.
Jeanette: Right. For like the next level of parody, right? Yeah. Like obviously we should be able to own property vote go to school. I mean, I feel like those things are not controversial for me, but what’s like the next level, right? Like in the career in the workplace, like how should we treat be treated when we take time out to have children, how should that be treated?
Jeanette: When we need support with childcare, how should that be treated? [00:47:00] And
Susan: then when we’re like, Hey, women should more women should be in STEM, more women should be in politics or executive power leadership positions. Well, yeah, that’s true. But the question is, are they actually welcome?
Susan: Are they actually nurtured? You know, how did they, how can they actually get there? You know? And it’s like, that’s all the stuff that’s not clarified.
Jeanette: Yeah. And I mean I hope this is clear, but like, you know, I, 110% believe that women should be in leadership positions. Right. All over the board. I think it’s, it’s women in leadership and having like a more balanced representation results in better decisions for women and men and boys and girls and our environment and just everything.
Jeanette: So I, 100% believe in that, but I think you’re right, like the pipe in some ways, like. To be honest, like the pipeline is not there in a lot of cases, right. To produce women [00:48:00] to be in those leadership roles at the same rate. And there’s a lot of reasons for that, but yeah, but it kind of goes back to, okay, if women want to take time for our family, how can society support them so that towards the end of their career, they can still be at that table.
Susan: Well, first thing is we shouldn’t be fighting for more like maternity or maternity. Shouldn’t be. So like, I that’s, it goes back to you, right? I want a year. I don’t want to have to just, you know, hope I get a job at the Gates foundation. That’s not realistic for every woman in America.
Jeanette: Yeah, the Gates foundation also went back to six months, I think,
Susan: which is still great compared to other companies, but it’s still just like, your body gets messed up.
Susan: Your hormones are all over the place. How are you supposed to focus? You know? And it’s like, but [00:49:00] w but we should feed your child as much breast milk as possible. Like, yeah. How am I supposed to do everything? Why is it all on me?
Kate: I think it’s good that, I mean, I don’t know. They’re not a lot of answers. Right. And I don’t know for me, this is why I keep coming back to like the idea of if I can’t change things systemically, right? Like more support for moms, more support for like, like a more affordable childcare.
Kate: I just want to like opt out and move somewhere where I can just. I don’t know, it’s cheaper to like deal with these things. You know what I mean? I know it’s not a good answer. It’s not a long, good long-term answer because you know, it doesn’t change the state of things, but at least for me, maybe it’ll help me.
Kate: I dunno. It’s like a selfish thing.
Susan: I just feel like living in America. And I mean, we haven’t talked about this issue yet, but like just fighting for like abortion rights is really complicated and hard here where the government [00:50:00] controls our bodies. And I just, it feels really daunting that I feel like I have to fight to say I actually have control over my body.
Susan: And so if, if we can’t even have that conversation on a civil level, like then how much hope is there? You know, maybe you just got me on a down day. I am on my period, but I just, I still sometimes feel like women systematically are subpar citizens.
Jeanette: I think the whole abortion debate, I mean, I’m, I’m pro choice, but I’m a Christian, right. And so a lot of Christians in America are vocally, pro-life or anti-choice. Right. But as overall, like a politically moderate person and then also as a person.
Jeanette: In the Christian faith who is [00:51:00] pro-choice? I do find the way that a lot of the left, talks about abortion is also like, to me a little bit jarring. Right. I mean, I’m pro choice because I do feel like women should be able to control that part of their destiny, but I also feel like it’s it’s it’s excruciating thing for us to have to decide as a society who gets to make that decision.
Jeanette: And also, I think for most women it’s an excruciating choice. Right. So I think that sometimes the conversation on the left, when I’ve gone to political events is like, you know, like I’ve had like many abortions or something and it’s like, just not a big deal.
Jeanette: First of all. I don’t think that that’s the way I imagine a lot of people who’ve had to make the choice to have an abortion really feel about it. And I also feel like for the people who are pro-life hearing that kind of makes it easier to paint people who are pro-choice as like, [00:52:00] you know, this inhumane person.
Jeanette: Right. I think the reality of it is like, it’s, it’s just at the core of it. It’s an extremely difficult situation. You have to come down on one side or the other, but I think just recognition that it’s, it’s a difficult thing for us to decide as a collective and as individuals that’s just lost.
Jeanette: I don’t know. I mean, maybe we’re kind of getting off topic here, but like, I, you know, I just wanted to say that,
Susan: well, it is part of the social contract of women
Jeanette: though. Yeah, right, right. Yeah. I agree. Yeah, it’s kind of like, can we control our own destiny? Can we, I mean maybe like not, not perfectly, but having a kid is going to change your life. It’s probably one of the biggest things that’s going to change your life.
Susan: I’m kind of sitting [00:53:00] here thinking about all of our privilege as a collective of where we went to a school and how much pressure we feel and how much difficulty we face and thinking about people who don’t have as much access to education. Oh yeah. Like they’re what they’re there. There scope of choices of what they have and what kind of support they have.
Susan: And I’m just sitting here going, like, if I, if I, me, I will say I’m a privileged person, feel so much weight and pressure and very negative feelings about so much. What must, what must it be like for so many other women in America that have less access to privilege?
Jeanette: Yeah. I mean, I think the crazy statistic is that the majority of kids born in America today are on Medicaid.
Jeanette: They qualify for Medicaid. I forget exactly what the number is, but it’s very high. So I totally agree with you, [00:54:00] Susan. And I think we don’t talk about it enough, but it’s definitely also on my mind, like all these challenges that we face, like how much greater are those for Moms with yeah.
Jeanette: Less access to opportunities, less resources. Maybe they don’t have a partner for whatever reason. Right. I mean, it’s just like, you take everything that we’re talking about, add a bunch more and then multiply it all by time.