Three Dutch mothers who work part-time share their experiences with balancing family needs and career ambitions. They laud the Netherlands’ progressive policies on maternity leave and the acceptance of part-time work which makes it easier for them to maintain their career while fulfilling their duties as a parent. However, they notice some negative career impacts from part-time work, particularly in more competitive fields. Still, they agree that the benefits of spending valuable time with their children are worth the compromises.
I’ve come to learn that a part-time job for someone like me is hard to find. I’m overqualified for most part-time listings, but I’m disqualified from most of the jobs that interest me because I’m not seeking full-time work.
In the US, we defend our lack of quality part-time jobs with several flawed assumptions. Abandoning these mistaken paradigms will help us build a society that is better for everyone.
In law school, whenever parenthood is brought up (a rare occurrence on its own), parenting is often modeled as something to outsource or minimize. I’ve heard advice like “Get an au pair. Communicate with your boss—just let them know that you’ll be offline for an hour so you can feed your child dinner but you’ll be right back on soon.” Those answers don’t work for me and how I want to parent. I want to be involved and present in my kids’ lives. If that stifles my career growth, that’s a sacrifice I guess I’ll have to make. But at the same time, this is the hill I want to die on: parents deserve more.