I’m not a President Obama supporter, but I’m far from a hater too. In fact, I really dislike how people disrespect him and his office just because they don’t agree with him. I’m talking about people that call him “Barry” or other disrespectful names. There was a candidate for governer here in Nebraska a couple of months ago who had a President Obama bobblehead doll and knocked it off a fence post during one of his ads. Just for that alone, I wouldn’t have voted for him. (He wants to be the head of our state, but can’t respect the head of our country? No thanks. There were other qualified candidates.)
All that to say that I don’t normally get too excited about politics. I definitely have my opinions, but it’s not an area that I spend lots of time on. I just have other things that excite me more.
Until I read Parade Magazine’s article a couple of weeks ago with an interview with Michelle & President Obama on family issues. And she said the following that really bothered me:
“Now I realize that that’s one of the challenges that we have as women: We don’t negotiate for ourselves. We don’t negotiate hard. And I realized that again later on when I had Malia, my first child. After a while, I asked for part-time work [at the University of Chicago]. And I did the same job, part time. Essentially, I just got paid less. That was the first time I realized I would never again work part time, because that’s not a good deal for women.”
Now, I recognize that this was a short magazine article and had she been giving much more time and space to say what she really thinks, there might have been a different picture presented. And it seems like her experience working part-time really colored her position on this. But here’s my position on this:
Working part-time (compared to full-time) is wonderful. And I wish more women would choose that option, not less. (In full disclosure: I also wish more women would choose the stay-at-home mom route too.) Working part-time might not have been a good deal for her, but it was probably a better deal for her children. Maybe the solution isn’t to forget about working part-time (instead of full-time). Maybe the solution is to work part-time and mean it. And set boundaries around it. (Easier said than done, I know…but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.)
I jut can not imaging working full-time at this time. I just can’t imagine both my husband and I rolling in at 5:30 p.m., getting dinner thrown together, getting baths and bedtimes and cuddles and reading and instructing all in before 7:00/7:30 p.m. at night. I just can’t imagine it. (Well, I can imagine it, but I’m miserable in my imagination).
And maybe our kids go to bed earlier than most, but I far prefer that to waking a sleeping baby and toddler up at 7:15 a.m. just so that I can take them to the babysitter’s house (as wonderful as my babysitter is) or a daycare. Or even letting them sleep in and having a nanny/babysitter be there when they wake up in the morning.
For women who want to work: For women who need to work: Part-time can be a wonderful option. It’s definitely worth looking into.