Isn’t it ironic that I was not able to post anything on International Woman’s Day, me, the busy working mother of 6? So consider this my Woman’s Day well-wishes, symbolically one day late and rushed (I have 10 minutes, having finished lunches early this morning).
What did I do yesterday? I drove children around while listening to a CBC radio panel on the status of women (listen to it here) The comments of the 25-year-old gave me hope. After the usual milk run of school and preschool drop-offs, I headed shortly into my part-time job on Parliament Hill, having recently downgraded from full-time work in a effort to bring more balance into my life. I say “shortly” because I was just picking-up a few work items to bring home: my toddler has been fighting a string of bugs since January and was feverish. Again.
So what did I, a highly educated female in my prime earning years, do on International Woman’s Day? I was living the dream! Caught between my work and family obligations, missing work to care for a sick child as I have done at least once a week for the last 6 weeks, happily sabotaging my professional ascension to better pay and more serious responsibilities. You may wonder what my husband was doing and why wasn’t he taking time off work to care for the sick child? The reason is simple: he makes, oh, about 10 times more money than I do. To use round numbers, if a day off for me costs our family $10, my husband’s days off cost us $100. And the nature of the beast is that as long as I keep missing work to tend to my family, I will keep making $10 while my husband’s earnings will keep increasing. It’s not rocket science home economics. It’s just cold hard reality. And no government policy, national daycare program or pity pay-outs will change it.
Here’s your International Woman’s Day wisdom from the trenches, one day late and rushed between making lunches and wiping runny noses with my power suit: children need taking care of. Bosses need taking care of. There are 24 hours in a day. Choices have consequences. They are either work-related or family-related. Sort it out. Then deal with it.