Saturday, May 18, 2019

Better the future: How can we support working moms and dads?

I was on the forefront of working moms in the system where I work. There were some working moms before me who actually mostly kept their needs as working moms silent because of the lack of support. I was more outspoken and more supported than them, but there's still room for positive development in this area.

Remembering back, a very kind and traditional leader in the system didn't think I should work as a new mom and inferred that about me on a written report at that time. His notion about that changed when his own daughter became a working mom. 

Similarly, there were a number of additional times when my needs as a working mom were not considered. Those were painful and difficult moments for me--moments when I had to make tough decisions about my work needs and my family needs.

In many work places, working moms continue to be treated in less than ideal ways. And rather than have an attitude of I suffered so you should suffer too, we need to embrace an attitude of betterment.  How can we better the work place for working moms and working dads too--what can we do?

This will not be a question answered by me, but instead, a question answered by the many working moms and dads today, people who need to speak out and advocate for what they need to do their work and take care of their families and selves too. How will they better advocate for support and needs such as space and time for breastfeeding, care for sick children, time to attend their children's special events, adequate health care coverage, and more? 

Long ago women had to leave teaching when they married. After that women had to leave teaching when they got pregnant, and then some had to leave when they had children. Then women with children had to be secretive about their childcare needs, and after that, many like me, had to endure troubling circumstances related to working and parenting at the same time. It's better now, but not as good as it can be. We need to use the energy and emotion we have related to our own suffering and inequitable treatment as working parents to forward better policy and supports for working moms and dads today. This will elevate the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for more people in our country which will, in turn, elevate living and life for all of us. #wecandobetter