Forget about “having it all.” Laugh in the face of “work-life balance.”
Most working moms are just trying every day to keep their heads above water.
Here’s just one small example:
Last Wednesday, afternoon daycare called to say my son was sick and I had to go pick him up. Luckily I happened to be working from home that day so I could get there quickly. But that didn’t mean that all my work obligations disappeared. I had a mandatory 4 p.m. call. So all my screen time rules went out the window and I parked my 2-year-old on the couch in front of Sesame Street. But 20 minutes in, he started crying and insisted on being held, so I finished out the last 40 minutes of the call with him on my lap, my mic on mute, trying to keep him from touching the keyboard. I ended up working for several hours that night to make up for missing work in the afternoon.
Situations like that happen probably several times a month for my family, and for all families with parents who work full time. Balancing childcare and professional demands for two working parents is a delicate dance under the best of circumstances (for instance, many parents don’t have the same kind of flexibility in their work). Which is why New York Times reporter Sheera Frenkel’s Twitter thread this morning hit a nerve with so many people. Even if you can’t relate to rushing to a TV studio to appear on air, all working moms can relate to seeing opportunities pass them by, or trying to keep too many spinning plates in the air at once. And with 70% of moms with kids under 18 in the workforce, it’s a problem that effects millions of women. And as Frenkel points out, she has a supportive partner to share the burden (as do I), but unfortunately moms aren’t treated the same at work as dads, and even when they earn more than their husbands, they still do the lion’s share of work at home.