Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mommy Track

Surfing through the headlines at Slate yesterday morning, this article caught my eye and has had me thinking. Having been a sophomore in high school when the term Mommy Track was coined, this was all new to me. Turns out more than 20 years ago, an article in Harvard Business Review warned companies of turning off well-educated, high performing women with non-family friendly policies. Some women of the time opted out of the workforce all together, preferring to stay home and raise families to working full time. Thus, the original article suggested a "mommy track" for those women who had children and wanted to work part-time, or job share or have flexible hours. Feminists went wild saying this would be a step back, but some women and some companies made it work.

This is obviously a topic close to my heart since I have also opted out of the workforce (at least for the time being). I never set out to be a stay-at-home-mom and there are still times when I wonder how I got here. Although, I treasure this time at home and right now wouldn't trade it for anything, there are times I worry about what my options will be when I do decide to opt back in to the workforce.

What bothers me about the mommy track, though, is that does sound demeaning. In a perfect world, this would be the everybody track and it wouldn't need a special name. Companies and employees could work together to make sure the work was done and there was also a balance of personal / professional life. That only happens in a perfect world and that doesn't seem to be where we are in this country and this economy.

I've heard the White House convened a panel to discuss work place flexibility, which is a great start. An open dialogue could lead to some real change which could lead to some women not feeling as though the best option is to just opt out (and I do believe these moms have a lot to offer the workplace).

4 comments:

Emily said...

So, so true... definitely looking forward to the era where there will be more of a balance in job supply and demand and employers will need to start considering more attractive benefits again- for all.

Sara said...

It would be great for more companies to offer flexible work schedules. Even with a boss who understands the struggle finding balance between work/home, I still feel guilty when I have to miss work...

Toni said...

Wanted to let ya know that you're the winner of my Monday Moments Starbucks Giveaway!

http://carrigansjoy.blogspot.com/2010/04/winner-of-monday-moments-starbucks.html

Toni said...

email me, please @ toni.carrigan@yahoo.com with your email address so I can send it to Starbucks. :)