I am excited to see a new book has just been published that takes a deep dive into the world of working moms. It’s called Making Motherhood Work, How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving by Caitlyn Collins.
This blog describing the book coins a new term (that I love by the way) called “work-family justice” explaining,
The book offers a clear, research-based argument that the US is failing its mothers and families. America’s mothers don’t need more highly individualistic tips on achieving work-family balance. They need justice.
Justice would include federal paid leave, a minimum guarantee of sick/vacation time, equal pay, and just general understanding and flexibility.
I am blessed that my employer is very understanding and I felt zero guilt coming to work an hour late this morning because Emma is still sick and needed to sleep in. But for some moms, just the mention of caregiving responsibilities at work puts them on thin ice. This is unacceptable. From the blog,
And Collins reminds readers: these women are middle-class. They’re the proverbial canaries in a coal mine for mothers’ work-family conflict. Low-income women, too often racial/ethnic minorities, have far fewer resources to draw on and less support to reduce their stress than those Collins interviewed. So if middle-class mothers are engulfed in stress, less advantaged mothers’ difficulties are likely far more acute.
The reality is, most of us working moms are just making it one day at a time – one major life event away from dropping all the balls on the ground. For me, it’s been over a month with a sick baby and in some areas of life the shoe has dropped. But as mentioned above I am blessed with countless privileges, health insurance, financial resources, the ability to pay a house cleaner to get my life back together, a helpful husband, and an understanding corporate culture… what about the women without these advantages? The lack of justice (or equity) forces them to trudge uphill every day. They’re likely still making it all work, but at what cost to their health and quality of life?
As I mentioned in a previous blog on The Case for Moms, making adjustments to keep moms happy and sane sends ripples of benefits to organizations, including to their bottom line.
I’m glad to see more books and blogs coming out on the side of better support for working moms. It’s time to shine a light on this issue, roll up our sleeves, and make it better.