Be vocal at work about your child care obligations

I love this article by Emily Oster (author of Expecting Better and Cribsheet) about why parents should speak up about being parents and having child care obligations at work. I wish more parents felt comfortable sharing the realities of being a parent -- it helps pave the way for future parents and gives us all better work-life balance when we're just honest about it. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/normalize-parenthood-workplace-dont-hide-it/589822/

  • Anonymous
    May 21

    I just started a new job and I’m struggling with this so much. I don’t want to be seen as a complainer, but would infinitely love to leave at 4:30 and do more work at night!

  • Ali
    May 21

    I have been vocal about my parenting and it has not been great for my career. Perhaps my work has slipped due to the many demands of motherhood but I think a lot of my experience has to do with male co-workers who have wives at home or who work low level jobs in order to be available for the kids. This allows my male peers to say yes to every opportunity or assignment. Whereas I have to say, let me check my husband’s schedule; one of us has to be available for the kids. Now every time I see a manager, all they ask is, “how are the kids?” My male counterparts get to actually talk about job experiences. Ugh! I could go on and on!

  • Elle
    May 21

    In a perfect world, yes... But until men do, doing so actually hurts your wage earnings and career prospects, studies show :(

  • Anonymous
    May 22

    At the end of the day, it’s just not this simple. If I talk about my obligations as a parent at work, the male dominated workplace I am in just tunes me out. Or they don’t elect me for new, exciting projects. Or I’m not considered for promotion or new positions. If my husband were to talk about his obligations it would be similar. Recently my husband and his female colleague were informed about a 4 week work trip to SE Asia. The first question asked of his female counterpart was who would be taking care of her 11 year old only child. Meanwhile everyone knows my husband has a toddler aged only child AND everyone knows that I have a more demanding/higher level job than my husband (we work at the same company, different departments. Everyone knows this though). Not a single peep was made to my husband about how child duties would be arranged while he was away, yet everyone was overly concerned about his female colleague and how she’d manage it. In my company, the women are usually the ones to rush out to pick up sick children from school or take them to their dr appointments. When my husband told his boss last week he needed to stay home because our child was ill, the first question out of his bosses mouth was, “why can’t Carrie stay home with her?” And my husbands boss is a female with two children!!!! Sorry lady, none of your fcking business!!! When I informed my boss the following day I’d be staying home with our child that day their reply was, “ok, hope your LO is feeling better.” And what’s more depressing is we work at a very well known company that’s *always* getting “working parent* awards for how much they care about us. 🙄🙄 Sorry for the rant, but I actually find that the less I discuss parenting obligations the better my days go.

  • Elle
    May 22

    @Anon, I feel ya, 10,000%

  • Katie
    May 23

    This lights me on fire. I travel constantly for work, currently in Germany in fact. It never fails that I get asked constantly who is watching my children. I say my husband and everyone asks if he has help, like he isn’t a parent in his own right. Once more when colleagues or my own mother speaks of me they talk of my children and how they are doing not my professional life and accomplishments. It is ridiculous and deep seated history that assumes mothers are the only suitable caregivers and should be home with their kids therefore we can’t possibly be as dedicated to our jobs. 🙄🙄🙄