Moms who stay home with their kids do make a difference, but if you decide that working outside the home is the right thing for you, you are by no means ruining your kid’s life.
work life balance
The arts is an industry that professes to be so deep in empathy, but we are failing when it comes to caregiver support. What we’re seeing is that caregiver discrimination still exists because of the lack of universal support, the lack of education about discrimination issues, the lack of HR, the lack of consistency in employment.
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.
Elizabeth Jacox had a prestigious academic career, completing a PhD in genetics at Yale. While she had a meaningful maternity leave, a part-time schedule, and affordable child care, Elizabeth still found herself distracted and missing time with her baby. When she became pregnant the second time, Elizabeth evaluated her priorities and realized that she “didn’t love science” enough to stay. Elizabeth remains frustrated at the lack of social support for care work and winnowing options for scientists like her who would like to re-enter the working world after time caring for young children. Still, Elizabeth is making her own sunshine by connecting with adults through mom groups and church, and by building her own small business making clay jewelry.
Ruth was expecting to lose benefits when she went part time, she was able to retain health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off, thanks to a manager who advocated for her. Ruth says, “Recruiters have come to me just this week with offers, and I haven’t considered a single one. There’s no beating what my company has given me.” Ruth’s story proves an important point: when companies take employees’ family responsibilities seriously, everybody wins.