I am a Chicken Sh*t

Posted on | October 7, 2010 | 5 Comments

My boss is in town for the next few days and I had the opportunity to talk to him yesterday about what it means to be a working mom. I had the opportunity to explain how it feels to leave a part of yourself in the care of others five times a week. I was given the chance to be a voice for what millions of women go through every day.

And I chickened out.

I’d like to think I’m all Frederick Douglass and Emmeline Pankhurst. Like I have the ability to stand up and make a difference. But the reality is… I’m a ‘fraidy cat. When my boss asked me how things were going, instead of being honest, I smiled and said “fine.” Because that’s what we do. That’s what we always do. After all, he’s my boss. He holds the future of my little family in his hands and I don’t want to do anything to make him open those hands and let us trickle out into nothing.

He was honestly interested. He really wanted to know how I was doing. He prefaced the entire conversation with the information that his wife, a high-powered attorney in her own right, had taken four years off from the practice of law to be with their children. He really wanted me to be honest with him.

And I lied.

What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I, for once, grow a back bone and say what is true. To say what I needed to say to help make a difference.


I’m a chicken sh*t. And when it all is said and done, I’m a chicken sh*t who would like to remain gainfully employed. So no matter how many times my employer seems to really want to know how my life is going, I’m always going to just smile and say “fine.”

So much for power to the people, right?


5 Responses to “I am a Chicken Sh*t”

  1. Blair@HeirtoBlair
    October 7th, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    I do the SAME THING.

    I prefer to not get fired. So I smile & say I love every second of it. Because I'm so terrified that if I give any indication that I am not 100% thrilled to be there every second, that they might see it as a weakness or non-dedication.

    & my bosses wives all stayed home. So they totally have no idea.

    In your case, I'd let your boss's wife teach him how it really is.

  2. disastersindomesticity
    October 7th, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

    It's not just you. It's a systemic problem in the US. While women in general are closing the gender gap in wages and position, mothers are not. It's a combination of a male-model work environment where emotion and a "family comes first" attitude is seen as weakness and a lack of family-friendly work/life policies.

    I could go on and on since this is what I research. But I will just say that it's not you. It's not because you're chicken sh*t. It's the system that we're living in where women have to be afraid to act like mothers at work for fear of losing the financial security and the benefits their family depends on. No one can blame you for that.

  3. KLZ
    October 7th, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    I have rare moments of bravery. Occasionally they've bitten me on the ass. Most of the time my little bit of bravery pays off.

    Because maybe it's not true where you work, but here just being a mom is a liability. Even if they're/you're not saying it out loud, they assume you now suck. So there's not a huge downside to me saying something…cause it's not like they're going to promote me anyway.

  4. Rebekah @ Mom-In-A-Million
    October 7th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    I understand. Completely. I fear rocking the boat,. even if it needs to be rocked, because the idea of getting dumped out is terrifying. I need my job and the paycheck that goes with it. So it's all great, right?

  5. Mae
    October 8th, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

    This makes me sad. I hope you reconsider next time you have the opportunity.

    Maybe try expressing some of the challenges you're working on and the things you're doing to fix them, then ask what he and his wife did when their kids were that age (or if he has any ideas for how to improve the situation if it's just work related). That way you're not bitching about work but just asking for advice. Makes him feel like a mentor.

    It takes time to build a relationship with an employer where you're comfortable talking about your personal life at all, let alone how it affects your job. Just because you don't have that relationship now it doesn't mean you can't build one.

    Good luck.

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