Part-time vs. Full-time: Game On

I met a new gal recently who, when she learned I worked part-time, said, “Oh, isn’t that cute?”  What the what?  Oh no she didn’t.  Oh yes, she did.  Words rarely fail me, but in that moment, they did.  My recollection is that I smiled on the outside and seethed on the inside.  I’ve been seething ever since.

You see, it’s not cute that I work part-time.  It’s a choice.  One I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to make.  It’s a choice that works for me and doesn’t affect the gal who made the comment or anyone else other than my family.  So back off, with your dimunitive comments.  Working part-time doesn’t mean I am less able, less serious, less committed to my work.  It means I am able, serious and committed for fewer hours.  Period. 

And I get that I can’t have it all.  I learned that a few years ago when I scaled back to help care for my Mom.  I harbor no illusions that I can do it all, have it all.  Some gals can, but not me.  Nope.  I suck at it.  I know my limitations and I respect them. 

I also know that those limitations come with some conseqences.  Part-time workers are less likely to be perceived as serious or valuable to the employer.  I won’t be fast tracked, despite the fact that I can work rings around most of the working mothers I know.  That is what it is.  With choice comes responsibility and accountability.  More time with my family now means less time with my career, and less time with my career means less opportunities.  I get it.  I’m okay with it. 

Part-time moms are in a bit of a no-moms land, if you will — we’re not SAHMs and we’re not full-time working moms, obviously.  For me, it is perfection, as I have a little from column A and a little from column B.  I love that.  I love that on Monday evening, just as Mary Tyler Son is starting to work on my last nerve, I switch gears a bit and anticipate my work self and her needs for a few days.  On Thursday evenings, I sigh and stretch, and look gratefully to a quiet Friday morning of pancakes and Wiggleworms with my boy.  Yep, perfection. 

My Dad, my Archie Bunker dad, God love him, said it best when I switched to a part-time schedule after my daughter was born, “You’re away from her just enough to appreciate her more when you’re with her.”  So if my cranky, old-fashioned, 78 year old father can get it, why is it so hard for other mothers to get it? 


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4 Replies to “Part-time vs. Full-time: Game On”

  1. Hell to the yeah.
    Right now I’m a SAHM, but I don’t like it. It makes me crazy most days, and I am always counting down the minutes until bedtime, instead of truly enjoying my time with the kids.
    I want to get a part-time job of some sort, just so I can get away from them for a few hours a day and also to get away from the house. I feel trapped most of the time. It’s not good for me or the kids.
    Luckily, school starts in a week. 😉

    My son’s bio father and his family think I’m lazy because I don’t work some full-time job outside my home. They have nothing but bad judgement to pass on me, and it’s because they’re jealous that they aren’t able to do the same.
    My son’s Nana always reminds me that she was a single mom to twins and she still worked full-time and “took care of her business”.

    In my household, my fiance’ works and makes enough money for our family of 5, and I don’t need to work. My “business” is taken care of, thanks.
    I want to work, but only part-time. It’s good for us moms who spend most of our time at home being domestic and maternal and shit.
    Eff those judgmental moms who suggest that working part-time is “cute”. I say they’re just jealous because they can’t.


  2. Wow. You have a lot to say about this Kantal 113! It hits a nerve, doesn’t it? And I highly encourage the part-time employment. One gal I know makes coffee at Starbucks just to get out of the house for a few hours a week.
    I don’t know why mothers feel the need to denigrate the choices of other mothers. We all do it, to a certain degree. I’m guilty of it myself at times. My targets are the “sancti-mommies” who over-professionalize the life of a SAHM. Am I jealous of them? Nah, but I do judge them. I would suck if I tried to do that and at it’s core, I think some of those practices are, ironically, misogynystic.
    But that’s another post. Thanks for reading, Mama!


  3. Bahhh! I’m so jealous! I agree, and spout the same line your Dad does frequently. As american women, we are expected to do EVERYTHING. Work full time AND be a SAHM, have a clean house, a small ass and a well screwed husband. It’s unrealistic and unfair. We’ve got to jam all this shit into the next 18+ years. Do what you can and do it well, and tell that sanctimonious bitch to shove up her “cute” ass, she’s not paying your mortgage.


  4. Sorry a little late to post a comment here, but I have worked ‘part time’ in the accounting field for 13 years now. I am grateful for every minute of it. I have two kids (14 and 10) who obviously don’t need me as much anymore….but I need to spend time with them. And I agree with you, we part-timers can run circles around full time workers. I always say I have 2/3 of the time to get as much work done as everyone else. It’s the best of both worlds in my book!


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