“You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time. … I wanted to spend more time with my family. A year off was my birthday present to myself. I didn’t actually act or write. I was just a mum. I taught drama at my daughter’s school, cooked meals and had fun. I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it. … Sometimes in life you’ll have some things, at other times you will have other things. You don’t need it all at once, it’s not good for you. Motherhood is a full-time job. The only way I could have continued working would have been by delegating the running of the home to other people. I never wanted to do this as I find motherhood profoundly enjoyable.”
Because a celebrity hasn’t weighed in on working moms in, oh, a couple of days, here is Emma Thompson in the UK’s Daily Mail on her decision to take a year off from acting to stay at home with her 14-year-old daughter, Gaia, who is pictured. (Thompson also has a 26-year-old adopted son, Tindyebwa.) Recently, millionaire-with-nannies Gwyneth Paltrow complained that working as an actress is harder for her than for moms on a 9-to-5 schedule. Angelina Jolie responded that she has “much more support than most people” and “women in my position … shouldn’t complain.” Sort of in the middle of both points of view, Thompson explained to the Daily Mail how she just didn’t feel like she could juggle parenthood and work without a lot of help, which made her feel like she was missing out. The only way not to miss out was to put work on hold for a year. Keep reading »
When it comes to life as a working mom, not all states are equal. According to a survey by WalletHub, where you live in the United States as a working parent can help determine how much opportunity you have. The survey focused on statistics regarding child care, professional opportunities and work-life balance (I loathe that phrase, but that’s a post for another day). Each state, along with the District of Columbia, was ranked in order of how opportune they are to working moms. Keep reading »
Stay at home vs. working moms: it’s a debate that may well have sparked the heated flames of the “mommy wars.” There haven’t been a shortage of opinions on this topic, and despite being rehashed to death, more keep coming. The latest voice to enter into the fray is Allison Klein, a former reporter turned stay-at-home mom who recently offered up an op-ed for The Washington Post. Klein writes:
“You see, I love being home with my girls, now 4 and 5. I’m just not such a fan of telling people that’s what I do. This is new for me. [...] This is D.C., where nothing about you is more important than your job, or at least that’s what people always say. And being a full-time mom doesn’t exactly up my Q score. These conversations are fraught because I want people to know I’m not giving up my identity as a strong, smart woman. Cue the eye roll.”
Mother judgment — it’s there regardless of what you choose. And, when we fight each other, nobody wins, because infighting only clouds the more important issue: the narrow way we frame this stay-at-home vs. working mother discussion. I wish there could be a huge disclaimer on these types of articles reminding readers that not every mother is in a position to actually make this choice. There are families that need two working parents in order to ensure that housing and food costs are met. There needs to be a greater understanding of the inherent privilege involved in even having this “debate” in the first place. Keep reading »
“As a woman you’re still expected to constantly prove yourself, whereas men are allowed to have flops without people blaming it on their gender. If a man has a flop, people will blame it on a variety of factors. But if a woman directs a movie and it doesn’t do well, suddenly it’s because she’s a woman. That’s aggravating to me.”
Here’s “Juno”‘s Diablo Cody speaking to IndieWire about her newest film, “Paradise,” which she directed and wrote while she was pregnant and the mother of small children. Cody said she used to be skeptical about why there weren’t more women with kids who were successful directors but now she is certain that the demands of motherhood and the guilt that working women face “100 percent” has to do with it. She’s such a kickass screenwriter and filmmaker that I hope motherhood doesn’t change too much for her. I look up to you, Diablo! [IndieWire] [Image via WENN]
Mitt Romney’s ridiculous “binders full of women” soundbite is certainly getting the bulk of the attention in today’s recaps of last night’s presidential debate (and, it’s worth noting that he straight up lied about requesting those binders in the first place). But it was his anecdotal focus on women in the workplace needing “flexibility” that struck me as most galling. The candidates were asked the following question: “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” After Obama answered first (you can read the full debate transcript here), Romney followed up his “binders full of women” story with the following:
“I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.
She said, I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you. …
What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford.” Keep reading »
At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “having it all.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… And I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. “Having it all” doesn’t have one universal definition and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. But because the concept of “having it all” is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.
Keep reading »
This week at the National Democratic Convention, sexism seeped out of the mouths of three Chicago Sun-Times reporters when asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan about her potential run for governor.
The reporters, Dave McKinney, Fran Spielman, and Natasha Korecki, raised the question of “whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids the way she wants to,” which continues to be a persistent topic discussed in regard to only female politicians. Keep reading »
As if the “mommy wars” need even more ammunition to make women feel bad about themselves: a new Gallup poll found that stay-at-home-moms were more likely to be unhappy than working mothers.
Gallup surveyed nearly 61,000 women between the ages of 18 to 64 who had at least one child under the age of 18. A quarter of SATMs said they felt a lot of sadness “yesterday” and one-fifth said they felt anger, compared with only 16 percent and 14 percent of working mothers, respectively. Gallup said SAHMs were more slightly more likely to say they felt stressed “yesterday” than working moms (50 percent to 48 percent) and more SAHMs said they had been diagnosed with depression as well (28 percent to 17 percent).
What does it all mean? Eh, probably nothing.
Keep reading »
“I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.”
– Ann Romney spoke to Republicans in Connecticut last night and addressed, in a somewhat roundabout way, the recent kerfluffle by Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen who made dismissive comments about how Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.” This is an odd wording, though: “I love the fact there are women out there who don’t have a choice.” But whatever, I just think her husband should have policies to back it up! [Think Progress]
As an incentive for working mothers not to drop out of the workforce, the Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is offering double pay for new moms for their first six weeks back from maternity leave. The double-pay incentive is on top of IAG’s 14 weeks paid maternity leave after giving birth or adopting a child, plus an Australian law that either gives parents up to 18 weeks pay at minimum wage or a $5,800 “baby bonus,” whichever is greater. Color me impressed, Aussies. Keep reading »