Wednesday

Let's talk about that "apology to working mothers"

In my twenty-something young single days, I worked as an elementary school teacher. I loved my job. Even though our working hours were 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., I was frequently there by eight o'clock in the morning and many nights didn't leave until 5:30 or 6:00. Unless it was Friday. In that case, I was out by 4:00 on the dot for Happy Hour.

I looked upon my working mother co-workers, who rushed in at 8:34 a.m. and bolted out the door by 3:59 p.m. often with nothing in their hands with a bit of disdain. I scoffed, how can they do their job well like that? They must not like their job or be as dedicated as I am.

Well, now I'm here to say what an ignorant, self-involved little bitch I was. 

I am the first person to admit that before I was a parent, I just didn't get it. Anything. I understood nothing about being a parent or having a family. Nor did I even try. I had some false perception of perfection in parenting. I have no idea where it came from. Perhaps my own deluded head.

I have been substitute teaching this semester. I have had to arrange my schedule so that on certain days my three-year-old is in daycare. This is a bit emotionally taxing on me because none of my boys has ever gone to daycare. I have had to make sure my husband can take the boys to school in the morning, which fortunately he can. But he can't pick them up after school. If I wasn't subbing at their school, I would have to make after school care arrangements. I get nothing done during the days I am gone, and little done the night before because I go to bed earlier than when I don't teach the next day. I have to make lunches - mine included - and make sure we have snacks for the therapy appointments that are after school. I can't imagine doing this every day. I am exhausted after one day of organizing all this.

I wish I could see some of those former female co-workers who probably knew I was rolling my eyes at them and say, "I'm sorry. I get it now." No agenda, just solidarity.

Katharine Zaleski, formerly of The Huffington Post and The Washington Post, and co-founder and President of the company Power to Fly has issued an apology to her former coworkers who were mothers when Zaleski was single and childless and judged them unfairly.  The apology has gone viral; but as with all things viral, there is some backlash.

Many people are saying this is just a way for Zaleski to promote her new company, which is "the first global platform matching women in highly skilled positions across tech and digital that they can do from home, or in an office, if they choose."

Here's my question: So what if it is?

Listen, obviously Zaleski is a very smart, hard-working woman. And now she is a mother of a darling little girl. Like so many of us, she was driven in her career in her twenties. Family and parenthood seemed a long way off. What did she know?

But now she 'gets' it. She says in the post, "I wish I had known five years ago, as a young, childless
manager, that mothers are the people you need on your team. There’s a saying that “if you want something done then ask a busy person to do it.” That’s exactly why I like working with mothers now."


Ladies, what she is saying is what we mothers have known in our hearts all along - that we are doing this. We are not only doing it, but we are rocking it. Yes, we get busy, yes we get frazzled, yes we may feel as if we are drowning; but it all gets done. We prioritize, we make lists, we delegate. We do it because we have to. That may sound harsh, but I don't mean it that way.

We have to do it because we care. We care about our children. We care about our spouse or partner. We care about our aging parents. We care about doing work that makes us feel important. We care about doing what we need to do to support our families. 

Zaleski understands that now. This is why she has created a company that women have needed since the 1980s. A company that unites the best of all worlds for working mothers. The coveted "third choice." With today's technology, there is no reason for the only choices to be "work" or "stay home." Why can't women do both? 

I admire Zaleski for many reasons: for recognizing her mistake, for cautioning other childless young women against making the same mistakes, for starting an innovative company that gives women choices, and finally for being a catalyst to end the "WOMEN WARS." Seriously, if it's not Mommy Wars, we women are judging each other for something. I say bravo to Zaleski for being transparent and encouraging other women to do the same. 




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...