Working Mothers: Walking Man’s Road

The article’s lumbering title reads like a summary of the past 50 years of feminism – American Motherhood Vs. The American Work Ethic – Working motherhood is getting harder, Let’s fix that!

Grocery Bag

I’m sure setting it up so I can do it myself wasn’t in the budget this year!

Meet The New Boss…

Senior Data Reporter Rani Molla sets the scene, “’When you’re in a tough position, when you’re forced to make a choice that isn’t ideal, oftentimes, you’ll find a silver lining and you’ll find a thing to look to that allows you to feel good about that choice.'”

And Vox is here to help you with that. “The root cause of this crisis long preceded the pandemic … and something’s got to give.” Naming the pain gives the illusion of urgency without actually having to fix anything.

“What happens next may significantly shape what the future of work is like for millions of Americans.”

Probably, and it’s shaping up to be more of the same: “The American Rescue Plan … gives parents a child tax credit of up to $300 a month per child – not enough to pay for full-time child care, but certainly helpful – and advocacy groups are hoping that benefit will continue indefinitely.”

Just like the wage stagnation and creeping inflation that will eat up every bit of benefit from it, sooner or later.

“‘And there are hopeful signs that at least some companies are taking these issues seriously.’” This is what we’re left hoping for! Why hold our elected representatives responsible for the state of the standard of living? Just beg a corporation for what you need!

They really do have our best interests at heart – “‘There’s been a lot of research that talks about diversity in general, but even specifically women in leadership roles, and how that can [positively] impact culture and financial results.'”

All aboard the sinking ship!

Waist Deep

It just keeps getting deeper!…

“’So organizations are very focused on that.”’ How’s that going?

“‘I really hoped that the silver lining was coming, that there would be some more structural change,'” Danowski said. “’I’m not really seeing that.’” Gee, whiz.

“Flexible work schedules, where women can duck out in the middle of the day to pick up a sick kid or get some chores done, are a way to help women balance their conflicting demands.” Fuck this, I am so over it. How about helping me even out my workload??

No, it’s the same old crap we’ve seen a thousand times – Now with Pandemic! “But when the pandemic came and shuttered schools and child care services, Danowski’s feminist ideals smashed into reality. She makes less money than her husband … So her family made a simple economic calculation” Nothing personal, honey!

Our overworked attorney dutifully cut her hours in half, because “She had to take care of the kids.” 

…Same As The Old Boss

Bizarrely, women have come to a place with more choices, but fewer options.

Kids have become optional, but work is now mandatory. Trouble is, the next generation still has to come from somewhere.

But it’s all so unfair! “Because many women in heterosexual partnerships are making less money, that often pushed them to take on an even larger portion of child care and housework than they already disproportionately shouldered.”

The role of Mother/Spouse feels pretty out of touch with the current moment, lacking any serious earning potential. But hypotheticals about division of domestic labor fall flat when you both work, and only one is lactating.   

“‘I always need to be available for my team, clients, and also reporters, in addition to the day-to-day work that needs to be done,” Lauren Perry, a vice president at a PR agency who’s based in Massachusetts and who has a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, said. To keep up, she multitasks and misses sleep.”

Ten Of Swords

No, really, I’m fine!

In the push to measure up to male standards in a man’s world, women have demonstrated our adaptability and taken on those skills. After a lifetime of educational milestones, the birthing bed can feel like a detour. Time spent having babies is taken straight from your career. Those early years are the most impactful for kids and careers alike.

Work/Work Balance

The problem is right there in the title, and never leaves center stage – “The only way Danowski could meet the strict court deadlines for her job was by regularly working on weekends and through the night after her kids went to sleep.” Why not work while they’re awake?…

“’It meant my own self-care and basic needs – sleep, exercise, downtime – came dead last,’ she said. ‘I usually thrive under pressure, but this translated to frequent meltdowns, panic attacks, and a whole new level of stress I never before experienced’ … Nearly two dozen white-collar women Recode [that’s Vox’s bespoke tech mag] interviewed in recent weeks said working from home during the pandemic stretched them beyond their limits.”

But Vox is here to put it all in context for us: “The expectations for the American worker and the American parent are inherently contradictory.”  Maybe because those roles were designed to be filled by separate people?

It’s almost like there’s someone missing here… 

“The ideal worker norm tells you that you have to be dedicated to your job 24-7…’ Jessica Calarco, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, told Recode. “The paradigm of the ideal worker is predicated on the notion that someone else (typically a female spouse) will take care of child care and domestic labor.

That’s right – Mothering is work.

The Bird

When you gonna even up for all this unpaid labor??

Mothering is often long, grueling hours spent with someone with poor communication who relies on you for everything. Mothering is thankless sleepless nights, even without deadlines to meet.

” …The ideal motherhood norm tells mothers that they are supposed to be dedicating their entire lives to their children.” Yep, each role is its own full-time gig. Most of the time lately, women are working two jobs to enable the long wage hours the breadwinner needs to pay the bills. Any ideal of motherhood has the life squeezed from it between dings of the timeclock.

“‘It’s so in everyone’s face right now…'” We had better get out in front of this before it effects the Bottom Line! “…said Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the women’s advocacy group National Women’s Law Center. ‘If we want women to come back to the labor force, then we’re going to have to make it so that they can afford to do so.”’ Big business doesn’t care about your kids… Can’t you send them to your mother’s or something?

So, What Do You Do?

We’re given the task of ‘balancing’ these 2 competing roles. Focusing on the balancing act means we’re not really focused on what we’re doing. This nurtures cognitive dissonance, just creating more stress.

Life has so much more to offer! What about hobbies? Free time? Self-improvement? Anything??

Sure! These days, you can monetize whatever you want faster than you can say, ‘Side Hustle.’


I knew I should have taken that marketing class!

“Her mother’s generation had it different, Danowski says.” No, really? Do tell! “‘While she limited her work to fit only within the hours her kids didn’t need her, I am constantly working and even looking for more time to give to my career.”’

That’s because her job was for extra money. Yours is your ‘career,’ that you’ve been convinced you needed. And – Ta-da! – Now you do!

But, what if – Bear with me, this might sound a little crazy – What if we made it easier for women to be mothers instead of focusing on getting mothers into the workforce?

The Working Woman was created as an alternative to Woman Classic, but it was a choice – Career Gals were often single and almost always childless. There was always a whiff of slumming in agonizing over a choice poor women never had.

But all of us are working women now.