This Woman’s Work
September 4, 2017 (Labor Day)
First off: the post title was a totally shameless way for me to justify linking to Maxwell’s cover of the Kate Bush classic. Dude was singing.
This post is less about Thomas and more about…women, I guess? It’s also quite fitting that I’m writing this on Labor Day. While I’m thrilled to be spend the next month with the little guy, the start of my leave means that Ash has to go back to work. Tomorrow will be her first day in the office since the end of May and I know it’s going to crush her to be away from Thomas for an extended period of time.
In a perfect world, I’d be independently wealthy and neither of us would ever have to work another day of our lives. In a slightly less perfect world, we’d be taking advantage of an E.U.-style paid leave policy (note to American policymakers: it’s a total embarassment that we’re literally the only industrialized country on the planet that doesn’t offer some form of paid, mandated maternity leave). Some American companies are starting to get the hint that it might be worth creating generous policies on this front, but they’re few and far between.
In any event, I think — as a man (speaking only for myself here) — that it can be very easy to overlook (or be totally unaware of) all of the challenges that becoming a mother can present to a woman. I didn’t have young cousins growing up, so I haven’t spent a lot of time around babies, but to say that the experience of having a child is eye opening is understating things considerably. When I look at all of of the physical and emotional changes that come along with a pregnancy (and that follow the birth), combined with having to return to a complex professional setting after months away…let’s just say that’s a high mountain to climb.
So I’ll just say that I’m thankful to all the mothers who are juggling an incredible amount of work (in the office and at home) for what you do; I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do it all (or certainly not do it as well).
Good luck tomorrow, Ash; I know it’ll be hard, but I know of someone who will be very excited to see you when you get home.
And this isn’t the time or the place, but man do we need to talk about the male/female pay gap and…WTF Ivanka?