WAHM


My blog has changed, the new url is: http://selfmademom.net.  

Check out The Juggle, a new blog by Wall Street Journal columnist Sara Schaefer Munoz.  (I’m not 100% sold on the name, but it might grow on me.) “The Juggle” aims to discuss all the issues that pertain to the modern family- stress of finding the right caregiver, trying to finish your neverending “to do” list, and managing to do your actual day job – all at the same time.

I liked what I read at first, especially about fake workplace productivity problems  (for those who care, I suffer from PCAST with a small case of my own diagnosis,”Nannyitis“).  And I’m totally glad to see another mainstream paper getting on the blogosphere bandwagon.  Guess I’ll add it to my Feeds… how will I ever “Juggle” all the stuff I have to read!?

Sometimes you just can’t make it out the door to get to work.  Your nanny just got in a car accident and can’t make it to your house (true story), you’ve wasted half your day at the doctor’s office waiting for an appointment for your child (true story), or your kid is too sick and needs the TLC only a mother can provide (yes, true story).  Something unplanned comes up and your child care plans for the day are thrown out the window.  There’s nothing you can do but try to “WAH” (if you dare).  We’ve all been there and know how hard it is.

That’s why I’m going to start advocating for “kid” days.  I think employers should consider providing working parents with a couple of days a year (they can be accrued over time, if necessary) to deal with the inevitable kid-related issue that prevents you from getting out of your house in the morning.  If you’re like me, and have used up all of your sick days on maternity leave, you dread the day that you can’t come into work because of an ill-timed child emergency. 

Why should we have to use a “vacation” day for these emergencies?  Staying at home with a sick child does not sound like a vacation to me.  Why should I use an “optional” day either?  If I had the “option,” I’d be at work! 

I’m not trying to whine… I know that as parents, we are supposed to build up reserves to deal with the unplanned.  But stuff happens that is out of our control, and I think a lot of parents (at least ones that I know) would be very relieved to know that they had a couple of “kid” days saved up in the time off bank. 

I could be persuaded to advocate for “pet” days too… if only my husband would let me get that dog…

On November 10, Elizabeth Vargas, of ABC’s 20/20, conducted a segment on working moms trying to balance their lives.  The segment was good- it covered all the “mommy war” issues: maternity leave, stress of working and trying to make ends meet. (Did you know that Iran and North Korea have better maternity leave policies than the U.S.?) She also made the Department of Labor spokeswoman look like she worked in an alternate universe. (Dept. of Labor: women should “save up” so they can afford to take time off when they have a child. Hah!)  But there was one part I thought Vargas missed the boat on: mommy support systems, i.e. the role of “dad.”

The segment did not feature one husband, boyfriend, partner of the 3 working women profiled.  In fact, I think the word husband only came up once, when Vargas showed a photo of hers (Marc Cohn, the singer, for those who care).  Now, I totally agree that women endure the bulk of the responsibility for child care, working or not working.  But from my experience, I couldn’t be half the mom OR employee I am today without the support of my husband.  Yes, we don’t get enough maternity leave, yes, we may face the glass ceiling that dads don’t.  But without my husband to come home early when I can’t, or to give me some peace on the weekend, raising our son doesn’t work.  Parenting takes two, and while dads may not have to consider the same set of choices or decisions that moms do, it doesn’t mean that the “mommy wars” are for moms alone.

Lots of thoughts coming out of this past weekend, which I spent with my friends from grad school.  My friend’s dilemma- one of her employees is a part-time WAHM.  Apparently, she doesn’t have help when she works from home, so while her performance is good, when you call her for work-related items, you can hear her kids in the background. My friend wants to be supportive, but gets annoyed and thinks this WAHM should get some help when she’s WAH. 

It’s a tough call- what if my friend marries and has kids one day? I know she wants to be supportive, but also wants to control her employees.  My vote- if her work is still good, so be it.

I love this recent article from the New York Times about parents sharing the responsiblity of raising children more equally.  Finally, a positive article about the fact that kids aren’t suffering because mom or dad work more.  Thanks to the researchers for this one!

I find it really hard to work at home, even if I have help with someone taking care of my son. I just can’t seem to make it work.  But as a newbie to the blogosphere, I just came upon this term and wanted to open it up for discussion. How do moms feel about being a work at home mom, or WAHM?