A quick Google search in the news section reveals countless articles just this week on working from home as a working mom. It outlines how it’s affecting us and advice on how we can do it better. WTF, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Boston Globe, CNN? What about working dads?!
This is so classic. Authors play into women’s emotions. They know we’ll read their articles. We’re more willing and open to self-improve. We don’t want to fail. So every outlet from every corner of the country gives us their two cents on how to manage an unmanageable situation. That is, an unmanageable situation without the equal support and help of a spouse.
I know there are many single working moms out there and that is next-level impossible. This applies to you too. Even though your support system (or lack there of) at home looks different than what I’m describing, the foundation is still the same.
The theme throughout this pandemic has been, “Ladies: Let Me Help You Figure This Out. We’ll get organized, make a schedule, create webinars and Zoom support groups and conversations, we’ll give tips and tricks.” These headlines are ultimately and unapologetically inundating and overwhelming you with information that you should take in to fix the problem. These articles are by women, for women. The authors are trying to help. But in doing so, we’re delivering the wrong message.
We shouldn’t appease this behavior. As supportive and amazing as it is that we are trying to help each other, we shouldn’t do it this way. A few tips here and there to streamline life in this new normal makes sense. But it should be for both sides of this equation. Stop targeting and marketing to the working mom.
This is not okay.
Another more extensive Google search revealed one (ONE!) article in the Wall Street Journal that absolutely appalled me. It outlined men that have typically worked from home, and how having their wives at home is now affecting their productivity. “His partner, Kathryn, an attorney who is now working from home due to the pandemic is used to office chit chat. She’ll just come stand right behind me and just start talking to me…I’m like, ‘Hold on a sec, this is a sacred space.’”
Chit chat?!? Talk about taking a woman who had the dedication, drive, and intelligence to become an attorney and really knocking her down a few rungs with such verbiage.
Another woman in the article who worked from home prior to the pandemic states that “To her amazement, her husband just tunes [the kids] out. ‘He’s at the dining room table on a conference call with the kids running up and down the stairs.’”
Blame in both situations, although completely opposite, falls on the woman. It’s “her fault” that there isn’t more productivity happening. This is unbelievable.
I want to start seeing articles on how husbands can help their wives during this difficult time. How they can shift their focus to the household or the children. What about their mindset can they improve? I want to read something (because yes, we are likely the ones reading this type of genre) and I want to forward it, all of it, 20+ articles’ worth, to my husband and my friends’ husbands and all of you. Where are those articles? Maybe someone can write one for Barstool Sports.
We can all sit here on these platforms and talk about making change for women in the workplace. But everywhere we turn, we are not getting the right support. Enough is enough.
Instead of suggesting better color-coded schedules or cashing in on our anxiety with CBD ice cream, let’s start with this: change the focus. We’re working women — let’s have a “business meeting” with our spouses. Keep the conversation ongoing and open. This advice is how to help your spouse be a better working dad.
- Talk about what you want and need out of the partnership, and hold him to those standards, just as you would anyone else in your place of work. Discuss what works for you and what you’re having a hard time juggling.
- Don’t succumb to the “I make more money than you” conversation. As a woman, most of us make $0.80 on the dollar anyway, and at work we operate as a team despite salary discrepancies. Saying that is a way to deflect responsibility and, quite frankly, your feelings. You are an integral part to your family beyond the number on your paystub. You are doing what’s right for your family, your mental health, and your bank account.
- Be a humble teacher. You’re better at this because you do it more. When you see him experiencing moments of frustration, it’s easy to smirk and feel inner satisfaction that he’s struggling too … but really what you’re feeling is a sense of relief that it’s not you. Share that part — that you have a hard time, too, when “X” happens. Be supportive in the way you would want to be supported in the same situation.
- Know you have an army of women out there working toward the same goal.
Working dads! Here’s what you can do.
- You’re a part of a team; have an open mind.
- Expect that your routine will feel and look different — there will be several interruptions.
- You’ll likely get a smaller percentage accomplished in a day. It is frustrating, and we feel your pain.
- There is more to life than work. Respect your wife as you would respect your coworkers.
We’re getting nowhere in society with the self-help for women articles stating the obvious. Yes, we’re all struggling, and work is taking a hit. But why? That’s what I want to read, and I want to read solutions. Real ones. Ones that belong in the year 2020 and address what all of these articles allude to when they discuss women juggling work and home. More equality. Better balance. I hope this is the first of many more articles on the shift in conversation that should be occurring at this time.
This article originally appeared at Working Mom Notes.