Is Beyonce a "full-time mom"?

I like to attempt to read while on the elliptical at the gym; it makes the grinding boredom go a little faster. Yesterday I happened upon this tidbit written by Sheryl Sandberg about Beyonce:

The line that struck me was this one: "In the past year, Beyonce has sold out the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour while being a full-time mother."

And it took me back to a similar article in People magazine (only the finest reading for me!) about Angelina Jolie while she was directing a movie in Europe that also specifically lauded her for being a "full-time mother."

Let there be no doubt that Beyonce is impressive. She's leading a world tour! She is promoting her album! She has her hand in the many different projects that continually promote and develop the juggernaut that is her brand!

And she has a two-year-old daughter. She is, without any doubt, a mother and I'm sure a very loving, devoted mother at that. But a 'full-time mother'?

If we consider the meaning of that phrase to be "a mother, all the time" or "having full custody of a child" then yes, of course, she is always a mother whether she is physically with her daughter at any moment or not.  She gets to own the moniker of "mother" in all ways. But that's not what "full-time mother" implies, is it?

What does "full-time mother" mean exactly?

Since I feel a little frothy at the mouth, let's consult Merriam Webster shall we?

Full-time: adj.

: working the full number of hours considered normal or standard

: done during the full number of hours considered normal or standard

: requiring all of or a large amount of your time

When we consider motherhood, what is considered "working the full number of hours"? Being the direct care-taker of a child for 40+ hours a week? Does night time count? (How about if you have a night nanny?) I certainly don't think any mother should calculate the number of hours she is in direct care of her child(ren) and then use that number to define whether she is a "full time mother" or "half time mother" or some other partitition. It feels silly to dither about the number of hours, when we all are doing what we can, how we can, given the circumstances and choices we are given. 

Ms. Sandberg is trying to lay out just how impressive Beyonce is. Just how talented and hard-working and successful and I don't deny her any of that. The idea that Beyonce is also the mother of a two-year-old just makes her all that much more impressive. I have no doubt that she is deeply invested in the daily life of her child. However, the idea that she is "full-time" in this endenvour does a disservce to the mothers who are the primary care-giver to young children, the ones giving "all or a large amount of their time" to the direct care of their children without assistance from nannies, chefs, maids, drivers or personal assistants. 

It is insulting to imply that Beyonce works "full time" at motherhood AND makes movies/albums/tours the world. When I was a "full time" mother of a two year old there were some days I didn't get to SHOWER, let alone cut an album. What is wrong with me? Why couldn't I do more?! BEYONCE DOES.

Let me be clear: I am in no way saying Beyonce or any other mother with a demanding career is less of a mother than one who is the primary care-taker for their child every day. (Though I am currently not working, I worked for over a year when my oldest was a year and a half! I plan to again someday! Yay for employed mothers!) But we belittle the true breadth and depth of the work of that is care-taking young children by implying that we should be able to have a demanding career while also being a "full-time mother."

How about we say that in addition to being a worldwide superstar, Beyonce is a "devoted" mother. Or a "loving" mother. Or a "dedicated" mother.
But please. PLEASE. Leave "full-time" out of this.



My big girl turned 8 on Tuesday.

(That number? Means I've been blogging for 7 years. Can that be right? Whoa.)

She is big and she is little. She makes statements that are wise beyond her years and she throws tantrums, complete with stomping feet and irrational demands. She rides rollerblades with abandon and got a real skateboard for her birthday and yet requires a hug and a kiss at the bus stop every morning.

She's been on this earth for 8 years and yet I still falter when I sign my name on cards to her: Mom.


In some ways, she will always be this little baby in my arms.
I still worry about her eating enough protein or choking on baby carrots and also whether her friends are bad influences who lure her into misbehavior or will give her false information or make her doubt her own worth.

We are entering a frightening new world, one where peers rule, secrets are better hidden, parents are eye-roll inducing annoyances rather than all-knowing favorites. 

I used to know everything that ever happened to her. Now I'm left with her skewed and limited reporting as her weekdays are mostly spent away from me. For years she would follow me from room to room, refusing to be "left alone" in any room of our not-very-large house. Now when she gets home, she walks upstairs, goes into her room and shuts the door. She writes in her diary and locks it with a key.

I know where the key is, of course.

How much longer will I know where the key is?

(No, I haven't read it without her permission. She will often bring it to us and have us read it when she's too upset - or embarrassed - to speak her truth.)

She still asks me to tell her made-up bedtime stories about Princess Rose and her brother Thistle who get into misadventures with their dragon buddy Snapdragon. We share this love of stories and reading but she reads so fast these days, I can't pre-screen her books for her any more.  I'm always looking for longer and more complex chapter books that are still appropriate for a 7 year old. emotionally immature 8 year old.

"Mom? Why are all these books you're getting for me written so long ago?"

"Because the only books you can emotionally handle were written in the 1950s or before!"

"Because there's great literature from that era!'

Who taught her to pose like this?! WHO SAID SHE COULD TURN EIGHT? (I blame her peers.)

Today she tucked her Winnie the Pooh book into her back pack and asked worriedly about the Holocaust and walked to the bus stop with her hand in my mine.

I gave her a hug and a kiss goodbye, never knowing when it will be the last one she wants, the last one she'll allow.

"I LOVE YOU MOM," she yelled as she got onto the bus, not looking back, never looking back.

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