Moms rising

I think every mom in the blogosphere has linked to the article from the New York Times about working mothers getting politically organized. It’s worth the link, but then I’m interested in the topic of workplace equality for mothers and flexibility for families.

laugh

Who wouldn’t want more time to laugh with this cutie?

I am very lucky to have a flexible work situation. While there are drawbacks to a part-time gig (less pay, feeling underappreciated by the supervisors who cut my hours so drastically, bitterness over the loss of more prestigious positions I know I could do well), there are definite pluses. In my situation, I have full benefits. I have work that I enjoy and that I do well. I have time for my husband and son and all of the myriad daily errands a child entails. I have quality daycare close to my office. I have understanding managers who don’t balk at the occasional long lunch or afternoon snack run for bananas because CW won’t eat the kiwi I packed for him. I can make and take personal calls as long as they don’t interfere with my work. I will not be fired because I take a sick day or a personal day (all part of my benefits package) or if I have to leave a bit early for a doctor’s appointment. I can’t say my company is spotless on the issue of working moms, but I know they are better than most.

For most companies, corporate culture (profit comes before all else) is so ingrained that employers find it ethical to fire men and women for picking up children from school or daycare, caring for sick children, or tending to the elderly. Can someone please tell me where social responsibility and simple empathy fit in here? Who is to raise and care for the next generation if both parents are chained to the factory floor (or the cubicle)? Who will make sure elderly parents get the medications and ministrations they need if adult children can’t help out in emergencies? How can any parent, or adult child, do a good job when they are worried about their family’s safety or welfare? And don’t get me started on the impossibility of maintaining the community involvement necessary to a healthy democracy when both parents are forced to work long hours for low pay and expensive health insurance.

I am not someone prone to activism. For me, there always seems to be good reasons for not getting involved, once all sides are heard. (And really, with starvation and distress around the world, how can you choose just one cause?) But I am an avid voter and someone passionate about the laws and provisions my representatives and my president put in place. I’d vote in a second for someone who had a realistic plan for providing universal health care; for implementing stringent day care policies; for finding a way to make that care affordable while paying daycare teachers what they deserve; for requiring paid maternity, paternity, and family leave. Essentially I want leaders who don’t just say ‘I’m for family values’ but actually put their power where their mouths are.

I was passionate about laws that favor work/life balance before I had children. The lack of these laws was a big factor in why I waited until my 30s to have a child. I knew I would have to choose between a good salary with benefits and time with my family. I knew that I would face discrimination (according to a Cornell University study, mothers are less likely to be hired and if they are hired they are paid less than childless women). Luckily, my choices and their drawbacks have not been as drastic as I’d imagined. Other people are not so lucky. Other mothers, especially non-white or single mothers, and fathers (boy, do men get the short end of the work/life balance stick) are in untenable situations, as reported by the University of California’s WorkLife Law Center. When I read One Sick Day Away from Being Fired, it got my blood boiling for justice. Now I find that there is an organization of women, Moms Rising, just as passionate as I am about equality and flexibility for mothers and fathers, sons and daughters? Sign me up.

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One Response to “Moms rising”

  1. Crisis of care « With Charlie Says:

    […] of care As I mentioned in my previous post, health care, paid sick and family leave and other family friendly policies are not just good for […]

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