I took Friday off work, because of an in-service day at my boy's preschool. On President's day, another day the school is closed, I am very lucky to have a husband who can/will take the time off to stay at home. This on top of a sick-day earlier in the week. I am very much in the minority in having this kind of flexibility, and some of today's discussion in the feminist blogging world has me considering quite how much "freedom" I actually have.
I have considered myself fortunate to be in a work environment where I am not overtly penalized for having a family, but that does not stop the guilt-complex that can kick in over asking for something that my male or kid-free cohorts do not appear to require. I know that if I have another child, there will be a chunk of time when I will require a work colleague to take over my responsibilities, because, as my (male) boss teased me "even if you're back after a few weeks, let's face it, you're shit for brains for the first five months." At the time, this was offered as a form of support--an acknowledgement of the burden of those first few months, especially for nursing mothers. i.e. "don't worry joy, we're ok.--don't try and do everything." It was well-intentioned, and even gratefully received. And yet....
According to a landmark study by Cornell University, something is going on that many of us had a not-so-sneeking suspicion about--"Women with children are less likely to get hired and are paid less in starting salaries than similarly qualified fathers or women without children. This disparity often follows them throughout their careers." (http://www.azcentral.com/families/articles/0216momswork0216.html)
Barely Attentive Mom has brought some of the individual voices to light on this issue. Voices that vocalize that sneeking suspicion, and the incessant questions over quite what to do. (thanks to bitch phd/sweetney via Blogher for these references).
"Am I the only mom who feels unprofessional for having to stay home with sick children?"
On one level, this is all so depressing. But the networking, the support, the discussion surrounding these isolated voices. All this gives pause of thought, and for hope.
Sometimes blogging can be a feminist issue...