While I'm waiting for the server to come back up on a Very Important Deadline Day (!!), here's something that's been running around the hamster wheel of my brain lately....
I heard about The Motherhood Manifesto when it came out in May and thought I should read it then, but was too mired in the real-life issues it talks about to give any attention. I had just come back from maternity leave and was having a tough time at work. I ended up leaving my job after being chastised by my boss when I had to leave a nonessential, informal meeting that dragged on past my usual quitting time. My boss, also a woman, said that I should have stayed, even if it meant picking up my kids from daycare late (which becomes a logistical nightmare), and then pointed out that other parents in the office were able to handle the juggle better than I was. I thought was an odd thing to say to me given that the other parents in the office had stay-at-home partners or nannies.
I thought a lot about the criticism, wondering if it was warranted, but concluded that my major offense was in giving the appearance that my kids came before my work, or maybe even just any acknowledgement that I had kids. I know that if I had stayed there, I would have felt pressured to choose between employment and my kids. As it was, I was left with the sense that I wasn't doing right by anyone -- my family, myself, or my job.
Side note: It all worked out great. I got the job I applied for the night my boss was such a freak. It pays more, is 10-minutes from my house, has a shorter work-week and relatively mellow atmosphere, and has a daycare and gym on-site. And I *love* my co-workers. Win-win!
I've also been thinking about feminism, motherhood, and the "maternal wall." It's incomplete to say that gender inequity keeps women out of the board rooms. It's more like, breeder women are at a serious disadvantage; with sleep deprivation and the attendant lack of focus and competency, inflexible schedules, and restructured priorities that come with baby-making, forget about competing with peers. It's a struggle to even keep up.
Anyway, here are some random stats that I find interesting from an interview with one of the writers of The Motherhood Manifesto:
- Women with children make about 73 cents to a man’s dollar, single mothers make an average of 56 to 66 cents to a man’s dollar, and women without children make about 90 cents to a man’s dollar.
- With equal resumés, equal job experience, and equal education, women with children were 44 percent less likely to be hired than women without children.
- And they were offered an $11,000 lower starting salary on average.
- A study in The New York Times a couple of years ago that used Census data and found that a parental couple comprised of two men are the most likely to have a stay-at-home parent. Second most likely: male and female. And the least likely is two women. You can just look at it right there and say: Economics. Men don’t face a wage gap, and don’t take a fatherhood penalty. In fact, on average, men’s wages go up when they have children.
Interesting, though, I'm not entirely sure about the last point, that men don't face a fatherhood penalty. Maybe that was true a generation ago, when father's weren't as involved with their kids as they tend to be these days. A friend of mine formed his career before kids and has a great job and a lot of responsibility, but he's definitely getting some kid-related flack.