Are You Mad?

We know about law enforcement's much-criticized practice of "racial profiling." And now a new term has been coined to describe employers' practice of using a woman's parental status to decide whether to hire her, when to promote her, and how much to pay her: maternal profiling. The practice is illegal but, like many cases of discrimination, hard to prove and hard to prosecute. The victim who protests often faces future discrimination as a whistleblower that paradoxically makes it riskier for her to protest than it is for the employer to discriminate.

Last Thursday, the New York Times ran a story Mom's Mad. And She's Organized that describes post-feminist, pro-mom groups, including MomsRising, Mothers & More, and the Mothers Movement Online, that have sprung up recently to fight maternal profiling and other workplace discrimination against moms. These advocacy groups have given power to moms -- who have traditionally been hamstrung by organizational difficulties, lack of a mainstream power base, family and cultural pressures to stay silent, and limited time to protest, strategize and galvanize due to their triple roles as childcare givers, workers and political activists. Women's groups, empowered by the Internet, have recently made communication, community, and organization accessible to moms no matter what our employment status, household help, family support or number of kids.

Thanks to the immense power of the Internet, moms no longer have to leave our kitchens to become politically active and make our voices heard. "You get an e-mail to sign a petition," says a member of MomsRising quoted by the Times. "and it takes five minutes and you're done for the day."

Are you mad? Have you joined any of these groups? What role does the Internet play in your life as a mom? What are your ideas for making moms' voices heard?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 26, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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I'm not a mom, but wanted to share an anecdote about maternal profiling. I was present for a discussion among some hiring managers at a former employer, trying to decide between 2 candidates for a position: A single man with no experience, and a married mom with several years of experience that would have been valuable in the open position. The managers acknowledged that the woman was the better candidate, but that they would hire the man due to pressure from upper management and HR because the health insurance costs from the married mom would be far higher. (How could anyone think that they could know that for sure?) The managers also acknowledged that they knew this was not legal, but that their own jobs would be at risk if they didn't follow the dictate about who to hire. This was less than 3 years ago.

Posted by: ~sg | February 26, 2007 7:31 AM

I don't know -- the debate seems sort of at odds with many of the other conversations we've had on this blog. In order for women to have access to options like telecommuting, flextime and so forth, it seems like their maternal status would HAVE to be part of the equation. And I've had plenty of job interviews where I've brought it up myself, mostly in negotiating for a reduced salary in return for reduced hours. I'm kind of confused as to how Leslie can be advocating for women to be treated differently, perhaps even preferentially, as part of their maternal status -- and how at the same time, she can want to make it illegal for anyone to discuss it. Maybe I'm missing something here. Can someone help me out?
(First!)

Posted by: Armchair mom | February 26, 2007 7:34 AM

Wow, that sucks. I don't think people refuse to hire women here but some people seem to be unhappy with parents (male and female) who put family first.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 26, 2007 7:35 AM

As an employer, I am prohibited from asking questions about family or children at interviews, to either men or women. We are expected to stay gender neutral in determining the best candidate for a job; your personal preferences are not supposed to enter into the equation, but of course often they do.

And yes, workers with children tend to cost the healthcare system more money. In order to cover your children on our state health care plan, workers must pay out of their own pocket over $400/month, then throw in the copayments and deductibles from each visit. What's odd is that covering worker and children is cheaper than covering another adult only on our healthplan.

Posted by: John | February 26, 2007 7:49 AM

I think, Armchair mom, is that in one instance, the mom is requesting reduced pay (for a more flexible work arrangment or reduced hours) and in the other instance, the mom is getting reduced pay just because she is a mom - no reduced hours or additional flexibility or anything. Clearly under these circumstances it is wrong to discriminate against an employee simply because she is a mom.

I don't think Leslie is advocating for women to be treated preferentially - only equally - and MANY studies show that women are paid less than their male couterparts and face hiring discrimination.

Posted by: londonmom | February 26, 2007 8:05 AM

And I argue that it goes wider than that, to parental profiling. Dads aren't given as much leeway in work-life balance because it's assumed that their wives will be taking care of the kids.

This isn't just a mother issue. This is a parent issue, and one that really challenges the whole work-life balance issue. We're selling our time to our employers, but, with some rare exceptions, they control the whole deal. And if they demand that we give all our time to them so we have to drop off the kids at day care when they open and pick them up when they close, we have no recourse except to try to find work somewhere else. But there's no guarantee that "somewhere else" is any better.

And the ones who suffer are our kids.

Let's all just move to Sweden.

Posted by: Mary | February 26, 2007 8:17 AM

As the economy in my town has tanked, my employer has grappled with the situation by downsizing the workforce without downsizing the work. Myopic though this strategy is, the result is the expectation that those of us who remain will do the work that 3 or 4 (sometimes more) did a few years back. Long hours are the norm, but Moms and other parents simply don't have the time to put in, period. Flex hours and telecommuting don't in and of themselves enable 60-70 hour weeks for parents of young children. And so they don't work the long hours. It is an unwritten rule here that Moms don't have to put in the work or make the deliverables that others do. I am actually okay with this -- it does "take a village" and this is my way of contributing to the welfare of the next generation. But we should be clear about what the current state is before deciding what, if anything, needs to be addressed. I have not observed any particular discrimination regarding hiring or layoffs, although promotions only come to those who put in even longer hours than the rest of us, which defintiely excludes the Moms.

Of course, the underlying problem here is the long hours. If we were all working 40 hour weeks, then we might find that Moms are better workers than the rest of us -- they do get very good at managing their time. But I don't thinkI am the only one putting in long hours in organizations that must make special rules for those raising children.

Posted by: dink in Rochester | February 26, 2007 8:28 AM

oh yes, discrimination is alive and well, even if its not as blatant as it once was (30 years ago a hiring manager told my mother they didn't hire newly-wedded young women because they knew they would be having babies soon).

A few years ago I worked for a large international humanitarian non profit whose mission is to save women and children around the world. The President of the organization made a comment in front of a large group of middle managers (a small number of whom were women)that went like this, "The reason I don't like to promote women is that they all go off and marry and have children, and I lose my investment." The women of the organization reacted - we wrote a letter to the President and HR director with a list of 10 directives of things we wanted changed in the organization to make it more family friendly (ie, if you invest wisely in your employees, they won't leave). We got about half of the things we asked for, but I will not donate a penny of my money to that organization as long as that president is still working there.

Posted by: humanitarian | February 26, 2007 8:33 AM

I'm a member of MomsRising. I like that purely by statistics, I can see that I am not alone in my struggles to improve the quality of working life for my myself and my family. Also, its nice to have a forum where I feel like I can be influencing issues directly related to the major headache in my life - balancing work and family. I hope these kind of advocacy forums for working families eventually have an influence.

Posted by: Mom in SS | February 26, 2007 8:38 AM

|Mom's Mad| is a terrible name for an organization. Can its organizers please put the book |Anger Management for Dummies| on their reading table? A positive outlook gets you (especially women) much farther.

Posted by: Mediaskeptic | February 26, 2007 8:48 AM

FWIW -- In the past three years I have I have been in the position to hire / attempt to hire over 250 white-collar professionals. I can say categorically that not once in that entire time did the subject of marital / parental status come up with any of the managers below me or at my level. Far more common was pushback on part-time employees [our benefits were fairly strong for part-time employees and executive management typically preferred we hire full-time over part-time when the opportunity presented itself] -- and probably 80% of the part-time employees were working mothers.

Posted by: A Dad | February 26, 2007 8:52 AM

Maybe the answer is not to change organizations, but to change the men these women marry. If more men would do their share at home then women wouldn't be such a liability for organizations. Is it the company's fault or women for not expecting enough of the men they marry? Who wants an employee who is going to have to leave frequently at short notice and potentially be gone 6 months out of 4 years?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 8:52 AM

I once hired a man to work in the job I'd vacated to become manager of the department and was told his salary was going to be $5K more than mine. He had the same years of experience but no degree. I just about exploded, though not at work, planned my argument and then went to HR with my proposal. In the end, I got a $15,000 raise which put me making $10K more than my "subordinate". In all sincerity, I don't believe HR realized that they'd proposed he'd make more than me. When they did, they immediately (and handsomely) capitulated. The cynical side of me says it's because they were terrified -- and rightly so -- of a discrimination lawsuit, but I want to believe that wasn't the case. There were lots of hands in that pot, and taking it right to the top of HR for me got it clarified straight away.

I do think that the workforce is sexist, and I think there's a break point if that's the word I want when children enter into the equation. I don't know of any man whose wife was pregnant or they're adopting where people said "do you think he'll come back to work after the baby". But it happens every time a woman gets pregnant or adopts. Every bloody time. My sister and brother in law both work for companies that are under 50 employees (FMLA doesn't pertain) and are having their first child soon. Guess which one is concerned about losing her job??

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 8:54 AM

The org name is MomsRising (among others). The article by the NY Times was titled "Moms Mad."

Posted by: to 8:48 | February 26, 2007 8:54 AM

I read the article, and while the idea of the mothers' groups is nice, I don't see practical results. They want to start a grassroots movement to advocate for universal children's health care (fine with me, but what about the parents? Is prenatal care included?) and flexible work schedules. One is a federal decision, and one is a decision made by each business separately. I personally don't see how these movements can influence those decisions simply by signing petitions, but maybe I'm cynical.
Also, I don't like the idea of women separating themsleves into different factions. Women are discriminated against on our ability to have kids. How many young married women w/o kids are passed over for jobs because they might have kids? I think this is a problem that all of us face.
And I think the (short-term) solution is simple: Do not discuss your parental status with your superiors. If you ask for flex time, do not say it's because you have kids. Tell them anything else. I think that the best way to avoid dicrimination that is near impossible to prove is to not share personal information. Now, over time I think that new technology and outing of the oldest generation from the workplace will usher in very flexible working arrangements. That will happen with or without the work of these moms' groups (IMO). But for now, when we know that such discrimination exists, just don't open yourself up to it. I know that is probably easier said than done.

And off topic, GO TERPS! WE BEAT UNC!

Posted by: Meesh | February 26, 2007 8:57 AM

A weird thought: is this one of those negative ideas that actually generate more discrimination? Poorly worded I know, but the gist is: would publicity cause more discrimination?

off topic alert:
congrats to your team meesh. It was a sad night for us last night....exciting though.

Posted by: dotted | February 26, 2007 9:07 AM

Off Topic Alert!

I read an advice column last week about laundry. The woman complained that her MIL would come over to her house and do the laundry. The woman said that she was "picky" about laundry and the MIL also put some clothing up in the wrong place!

What is up with this? Unless the MIL does laundry the "male" way, I would think that most anyone would be pleased if someone else did some laundry.

Comments anyone?

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 9:12 AM

"Maybe the answer is not to change organizations, but to change the men these women marry. If more men would do their share at home..."

What is a man's proper "share"? Maybe the woman should not marry to begin with?

Posted by: the original anon | February 26, 2007 9:15 AM

I find the mom's groups to be an interesting idea but agree that the publicity generated could lead to more of a backlash. I am temporarily in Germany and suprised at the low level of women in professional jobs. The main reason: young married women are expected to leave and never return to their jobs after children so why hire them in the first place. There is little to none child care for children under 3 so it is hard, even for the most determined women to go back to work unless they have family, or an au pair as child care. So if I was employer, I would not hire professional women of childbearing age either here. Like the US, discrimination against women of child bearing age is illegal but it too is often impossible to prove. The proof though is in the low number of professional women you working here. So while things are not ideal in the US, don't think things in some countries in Europe are ideal either. ( Sweden being an exception) In my mind it is even worse in Germany for working women. Just my 2 cents worth.

Posted by: German Perspective | February 26, 2007 9:23 AM

Fred, this is weird, but my mom did something similar last week -- thought she did me a "huge favor" by folding and putting away all the kids' laundry. But she didn't know where any of it went, what PJ bottoms go with which top, where the school uniforms belong, etc. So she put it all where she thought it should go -- which meant we couldn't find a thing! So I ended up having to take it all out and start over. Of course I thanked her, because I really do appreciate that she tried to help. But sometimes "helping" the wrong way can cause more problems than just letting it be (kind of like when I try to cook with my 5-yr-old).

Now, if she wanted to throw a couple of loads of dirties in for me, I'd be over the moon. :-)

Posted by: Laura | February 26, 2007 9:29 AM

I was recently in 2 separate job interviews where I was asked if I was available to work "overtime". I had to tell them that I need to pick up my child from daycare by a certain time and that I did not have any support for someone else to do so. Before I had a child I would have indicated that i was available at any time that I was needed in order to "get the job done", but now my hours are limited to 8 - 5, but that I could get some work done after my daughter went to bed, but I would need to be at home. Needless to say, I was not offered any of these positions that posed these questions.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 9:33 AM

Fred,
Something terrible happened to my laundry this weekend. It sat in the laundry basket and didn't move for two days. I think it is ill.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 9:39 AM

Do you mean the laundry fairy is not so helpful sometimes?

Fredia would have been thrilled if her sainted MIL did laundry but it was just not my mothers thing!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 9:44 AM

Interesting, german perspective. Only b/c a friend of mine here was living in germany and working there and just had her second child and said that her job would be waiting for her for when she returned when the child would be 2 or so. And that she went back to work after number one was 1 or 2. I doubt they are going back now - the results from them refusing to do tests on their son are that he has leukemia and they didn' seem (to my friend anyway) to want to try to find. Out what was wrong, so while here he had a bone marrow transplant and is now tring to get better.

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 9:46 AM

Fred--maybe the woman should just change the locks to her doors, and then her MIL couldn't get in. Just a thought...

Posted by: phillyfilly | February 26, 2007 9:51 AM

"moms no longer have to leave our kitchens..."

I'm almost not sure what to say about this remark, Leslie... leave our kitchens? Is that where moms are assigned by default?

So much for progressive thinking...

Posted by: whatev | February 26, 2007 9:51 AM

Fred, I think my concern would be that any help would connote a lack of faith in my abilities as a homemaker.

My MIL wouldn't touch my laundry, but she helped us move and unpacked and organized the entire kitchen. At first I was upset because I was afraid that she would dictate where things went in MY kitchen. But when I saw all the work she did, I wanted to kiss her feet. I hope she helps us move every time!

My mom often comes over to watch our dogs while we're gone. She sometimes cleans and sweeps. She also does all her laundry and the sheets. This bothers me only slightly because I feel like she thinks the house is dirty. In fact, the house is a complete mess, and we even have paid cleaning help!! (We have two large dogs to thank for that). I am still concerned about what other people think of the cleanliness of my house, but my mom knows the truth, and so I can't be offended.

Posted by: Meesh | February 26, 2007 9:53 AM

I would love to have my mother come over and clean but she can't even keep her own place clean (and she lives over 6 hours away). I have the one dog but he is black and sheds alot. He is the reason I got hardwood floors instead of carpeting on the main level. Easier to chase the hair along the moulding than the whole carpet.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 9:58 AM

What about Dad? Single dads to be exact. I was a single father for 15 years.

This blog seems to think that only moms have to deal with this kind of discrimination. It happens to both moms and dads.

Posted by: John | February 26, 2007 10:12 AM

I think a good point was raised regarding dads being the ones to stand up at work and demand more family/life balance. My husband was recently offered 3 jobs after he decided to leave his previous profession. We already knew we'd take a salary hit, as he has no experience in this field.
The first: 8-6 (at least- lots of overtime questions) 65K/year
second: 9am until lord knows when as the company is based on the west coast. most likely 7pm each night. 65K
third: 8-4 45K. set hours

He was offered #1 and #3. Took #3. 20K is a HUGE paycut and we'll have to make sacrifices, but no sacrifice is greater than time w/ our daughter.

In each interview he made it known that he was either on drop off or pick up duty and that his daughter is very important to him. The 3rd interview was great- boss is a dad of 3 younger kids, he drops them off and picks them up from school, etc...

I think family friendly jobs are out there- but things will never get better if one lies about their situation or doesn't even mention their kids!

I am VERY proud to be a mom and my husband is proud to be a daddy. We would never exclude the most important thing from our lives when interviewing for a job.

It took me a good 3 months of constant searching and interviewing to find a fit for my family. I waited to find a boss that didn't get silent when I discussed my daughter, but jumped into a conversation about his grandkids and daughter's pregnancy. THAT'S who I want to work for.

Maybe we should be more discriminate as to where we work. That goes for moms AND dads. Companies, much to the chagrin of singlee childless people everywhere, would grind to a halt without working parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 10:15 AM

Hi Armchair Mom -- One of the points here, which we dug into in the Best Buy Goes 100% Flextime discussion (12/11/06 http://blog.washingtonpost.com/onbalance/2006/12/draft_best_buys_flextime_exper.html),is that moms should NOT receive either preferential or discriminatory treatment. Neither is fair -- to moms or anyone else with our without kids. And it's not legal.

MediaSkeptic -- I haven't come across any mainstream women's groups foolish enough to put "mad" in their organization's title (with the notable exception of Mothers Against Drunk Driving). "A Bunch of Angry Women" is a well-worn, negative stereotype designed to undermine women, and most women are too savvy to walk into that particular trap.

However, don't you think anger is justified here? Anger is a powerful motivation for social change. When you turn anger inward, instead of finding productive outlets, depression results. It's far better to channel your frustration into these organizations that can bring about productive changes.

Posted by: Leslie | February 26, 2007 10:16 AM

At our "what not to ask in an interview" seminar, the instructor actually gave us pointers on how to get around the "do you have children?" question and still find out what you want to know.

"Can you take overnight trips?"
(Most mothers will say no if they have young children)

"How are you about working past quitting time?"
(If children are in day care often this is not possible)

"Which comes first in your life, work or family?"

These are all legitimate and legal questions, and depending on the candidate's answers can open the door for more detailed questions.

There were some in the seminar who felt the instructors were "gaming the system" to find out information that isn't legally allowed in an interview, and they admitted this to us, but at the same time stressed that the questions were legal, it was the interviewee's decision on how to respond to them.

Posted by: John | February 26, 2007 10:16 AM

WorkingMomX:

"I once hired a man to work in the job I'd vacated to become manager of the department and was told his salary was going to be $5K more than mine. He had the same years of experience but no degree."

I've seen this exact case more than a dozen times -- and it was entirely gender independent. It typically occurred because the individual being promoted had not seen annual salary increases consistent with the market labor rate (which is not uncommon -- especially during a time when market rates increase dramatically as they did in my area post 9/11). Since the new hire is typically paid at (or above) the market labor rate, you end up with this pay inversion.

And, just as in your case, when it was identified it was quickly corrected.

Posted by: A Dad | February 26, 2007 10:18 AM

My mom's mom used to come visit once or twice a year and clean the house from top to bottom in one week, including closets. Mom always resented it. I never could understand it, until my mom came and started rearranging the furniture and knicknacks. I wouldn't have minded a cleaning, but rearranging is just rude (and I told her so).

As for today's topic, would any parent really want to work for a company that hired based on the childcare issue? Think about the company from the first poster. They lost a qualified, experienced professional who would have had more loyalty given the circumstances and possible flexibility. The company would have to pay the man's salary and benefits for three years before he would conceivably be at the same level (and then leave for more money). In the long run, which would have been more cost effective?

Posted by: Working Dad | February 26, 2007 10:21 AM

Should companies not reward employees who are willing to devote themselves completely to the job and/or organization? If you want to work less than someone else, then maybe you will get paid less or have less opportunities. That is the price you pay for having different priorities. Goodness people, these are businesses, not public service organizations. They have an obligation to their clients and or shareholders to be as successful as they can not make sure you have time with your kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 10:22 AM

I am a member of MomsRising, and I find it to be a totally moribund organization. The webpage isn't updated often. The top of the page item is about something going on in PA,and there is no mention of the bill in Congress to give feds paid family leave. Come on! As for the "signing the petition and being done," there needs to be more! Who really pays attention to online petitions? They don't get the press coverage. Where's the suggestion to write letters to your editor, where's the organizing of lobby days on Capitol Hill? And for heaven's sake, where's the big march on Washington? Yes, we're all mothers and yes we're busy, but if we've joined an advocacy group that means we want to change things. Keep the online petitions for those who only want to/can do 5 minutes a day, but I want more. Nothing will change otherwise.

Posted by: tessajp | February 26, 2007 10:25 AM

I joined MomsRising as soon as I heard about it a few months ago. What an awesome organization! I even hosted a MomsRising house party last week to spread the word to my working mom friends. I am mad that being a mom is considered a liability by employers. It's unfair, but more importantly, it's just plain wrong. Moms fuel our economy, so we should embrace them as a key part of it!

Susan at Working Moms Against Guilt
http://www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com

Posted by: Susan | February 26, 2007 10:31 AM

My MIL stayed with us for 8 days after the birth of our daughter. While I couldn't have done without her (my own mother had already passed away), I guess because there were times of boredom she rearranged our entire kitchen!

Of course we couldn't find anything for weeks afterward. But of course I thanked her too. Maybe her own MIL had done that to her and it was her "revenge". BTW we got along wonderfully.

When my daughter was young I definitely felt like I was on the "Mommy Track" but as she's gotten older it's gotten better. I once had a bride-to-be (in 2 weeks) tell me "Sometimes you have to put your career first before your family" after I didn't stay late for some stupid mailing (which got delayed anyway. I was pretty pissed off at her (she was supposed to have been a friend). But I know she regretted it afterwards, especially since she now has kids of her own.

But she is an "ex-friend" regardless.

Posted by: librarianmom | February 26, 2007 10:31 AM

Should companies not reward employees who are willing to devote themselves completely to the job and/or organization? If you want to work less than someone else, then maybe you will get paid less or have less opportunities. That is the price you pay for having different priorities. Goodness people, these are businesses, not public service organizations. They have an obligation to their clients and or shareholders to be as successful as they can not make sure you have time with your kids.

Posted by: | February 26, 2007 10:22 AM


Most workers have children. It's naive and cold to leave kids out of the equation. If a parent is more qualified than another job candidate- they're smarter, more creative, what have you, they should be hired over a lesser qualified candidate. Who cares if that other candidate will be there for 12 hours? Isn't the whole point what the end result will be?

We should give parents a chance because at some point the vast majority of workers will be parents. It may not seem fair when you're young and childless, but maybe 10 years down the road YOU will benefit from an increasingly better work/life balance in companies.

5 years ago I was out of the house at 7am and got home from work approx. 11pm-12am. Everyday. I worked myself to the bone. I can't do that know and I don't want to! I paid my dues and now I'd like a little give. In another 10-15 years I'll probably start working long hours again and will continue that for TWENTY MORE YEARS until I retire.

As a parent, i don't want to be a drain on the system- I'm not trying to impose on childless workers- I'm just trying to raise my child and spend time with her so she grows to be a loving independent self sufficient woman that will eventually pay for YOUR retirement and medical bills, regardless of your marital or child status.

We live in a society, for better or worse, there are times that we need to take care of one another.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 26, 2007 10:46 AM

"Which comes first in your life, work or family?"

I actually don't know if this question is legal. I'm checking with HR here, but I've both taken and presented seminars on proper interviewing techniques and I'm fairly certain this one is out of bounds.

The others are fine.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 10:46 AM

Let me start by saying that I don't have kids, and am not married and in my mid-20s. I work as an engineer for the feds starting directly after graduating from college. All of my evaluations have been glowing, receive positive feedback on my work and have been assigned more difficult and challenging projects. Even so, I heard my supervisors talking in an office saying that it's a waste b/c once I get married I'll quit to raise a family. Funny since I haven't made that decision for myself.

So even people who don't have children, married or not, get discriminated against.

Posted by: fed. worker | February 26, 2007 10:46 AM

Can someone tell me how this isn't just a specialized form of gender discrimination? Shouldn't that actually be the larger issue?

Because I'm mad that even as a single or married woman I made less salary than men who hold the same job description (some of whom have had less experience when being hired).

If I have to now worry that I'm worth less to an employer as a childless married woman, I'm throwing in the towel and buying lottery tickets.

I've said it before - it's not about being a parent, it's about being a person with a family. It's not just children who can require your attention - parents, grandparents, siblings, or even the children of your siblings might need your time and attention as well.

We need better laws and allowances for workplace dynamics. Equal pay for equal work and merit-based practices are more important than saying a working mother needs a better salary simply because she's a working mother.

We ALL need better salaries. Saying that because you've chosen (and been lucky enough to have the ability) to reproduce is simply rewarding a basic biological fact (like, say, having a Y chromosome instead of a second X chromosome).

This isn't about the childless having to pick up the slack for parents - I've worked with some singularly useless childless colleagues and some parents who put in way too much time. It's about what you put in to your job, and what you can expect as a reasonable human being to expect from your employer. Because everyone has family obligations time to time, if you're a parent or not.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 26, 2007 10:48 AM

As a working mom, I certainly sympathize. And, as a former politico, I realize people are crammed for time. Five minutes responding to an email may be all the time a person can give to their cause. That having been said, five minutes of effort may result in a related response, meaning not much. Trust me, having worked in a congressional office, mass emails and other auto generated mailings get about as much respect as junk mail. Those comments are tallied and reported weekly but if you want more of a response, constituents need to put is more effort than signing an electronic petition. Sorry to disillusion anyone, but the volume of correspondence received in most congressional offices (who are supposed to give a damn) means your mass email isn't going to see much light of day. I can't imagine that an employer, who doesn't have to have your vote is going to treat an email petition with much more respect.

Posted by: LM in WI | February 26, 2007 10:50 AM

The reality is, a lot of moms, especially moms with young kids, are not able to put in the hours that other employees are. They need to leave work at a set time. They are less able to travel and may have to miss work on short notice because of a sick child or a snow day. They are unavailable for weekend work during crunch time.

I don't think an employer should select a job candidate based on whether the person is a mom or not, but facing two individuals, one who is able to work until 7 pm, come in on weekends, and travel a lot and one who is restricted by a child care schedule, I know who I'd chose.

I'm speaking as a mom and a professional here. I think we need to accept that young parents (usually but not always the moms) are NOT able to give as much as they could before they became parents. The goal is to help us find a way to continue to have careers and contribute outside the home, but we shouldn't deny that basic reality and we shouldn't expect employers to.

Posted by: Virginia | February 26, 2007 10:59 AM

The reality is that an employer has the job, and barring discrimination laws, they cangive it to who they want. If they give it to the less qualified applicant, they arebecomong less competitive. That's their choice. But a good worker is going to shine and find the best job with the best employer. While it sounds nice to say equal pay for equal work, or that employer should do this or that, I really don't think it should or can be mandated. Find a new job, start your own business, but signing petitions really isn't the answer.

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 11:00 AM

This is something I just spoke with the BF about yesterday. I never planned on having children till I met him, but now that I am, I'm concerned that being a woman in a mostly male profession will lead them to assume that I'm okay with being mommy-tracked. Naturally, when I become a mother, the family will come first, but I would hope their families would take precedence over work as well (though we all know this is not normally the case). His response was comforting: my being a minority (female) in this profession would make me more of a commodity, and there will be a high demand for people with my type of training. He almost made it sound like I could really do whatever I wanted with my life, which I know is unrealistic, but the way he said it was comforting. Whether or not his predictions will come true remains to be seen, but he's already a professional, so he knows more than me. Even so, I'm nervous, because I'll be entering the field slightly older than some and will probably start a family a few years after I start my career. My only recourse, as far as I can see, is to make myself indispensable in my future career before I start having children; my contributions won't go unnoticed, and my colleagues will know I'm serious about my career and not just working while I wait to get pregnant. Am I being naive here, or is this a reasonable plan?

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 11:04 AM

Of course if you can find employees willing to, for the same pay, put in twice as many hours, assuming they will give you twice as much output, then you would choose them. But really, what employee who does that wouldn't want more?

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 11:06 AM

I HATE it when other people try to do my laundry. They mix colors differently than I'd like and they fold the clothes up in ways that make it difficult to fit in drawers. My motto is Leave My Laundry Alone!

On the other hand, I have no problem with other folks helping vacuum, dust, mop or wash dishes.

Posted by: Chausti | February 26, 2007 11:10 AM

Mona, I'd have that child while you're in law school. Sounds crazy and you may have to skip a semester, but it would really work out because the baby would be a toddler/preschooler by the time you start working, opening up more child care options. I don't know your age (not will I ask a lady that question!) but do you have more than 5 years to wait? Just a thought...

Posted by: to Mona | February 26, 2007 11:10 AM

Mona - not at all. If you have sought after skills and degree(s) that are not usual, and a background that is flexible, you have it made. I was out of work for over 4 yrs and took about three weeks to find a job when I started to look.

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 11:11 AM

Mona,

I know several women who had babies in law school because they would be pushing 30 when they graduated and didn't have five years to put in at a firm before starting a family. Plus, the birth can be planned over the summer, or if you plan to clerk during the summer, over Christmas break. This plan isn't for me, but I've seen it work with several other women.

Posted by: catmommy | February 26, 2007 11:25 AM

The profiling discriminates women who do NOT have children, too. Employers ass-u-me we're gonna end up on maternity leave 9 months after being hired. Granted, they can't ask us about our procreation plans during an interview. So, the marital profiling hurts ALL women, not just moms.

Posted by: Childree in DC | February 26, 2007 11:26 AM

Cool. I'm not going to have a kid in law school, but I will probably want one soon after. I'm in my late 20s and want to be done having kids before 37. Three years of law school, that gives me about five years to accomplish that task (yikes!). So yes, I can wait five years. I want to wait about seven years, which is fine for the first, but what about the second? Anyway, as far as childcare options, BF and I have discussed it, and we could probably afford a nanny, and he'll work fewer hours than I will, so even if we can't, he can have pick-up duty. I won't take any time off beyond maternity leave, after which time he'll take his paternity leave. I probably will try to cut my hours to about 50/week (if I can). I'm lucky that he wants to be an involved dad--that way not all the child-rearing falls on me. I would like for our household to be like the one that was described last week in the "equal parenting" blog, where one can ask either the mom OR dad a question and get an answer.

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 11:27 AM

Chasmosaur is exactly right. It is gender discrimination. I know that there may be fathers once in a while who feel aggrieved, but really, it is women who are getting the brunt of this form of discrimination.

I have been a victim of this, a witness of this type of discrimination and in a position of hiring. I was told during an interview that there was no way I could do the job with a child. Absolutely untrue, illegal, etc. I did the job elsewhere and did outstanding work (the discriminator was arrested for embezzlement a few months later and I couldn't help but laugh). I was in a position where women were pretty overtly discrimated against. When I would hear these comments and glare at these jerks, they would tell me that I "was different". I was "more like a man"(what does that mean??). The male leaders at that organization would say the usual things like "I don't think I'll put so and so on this project because I know she won't come back after having a baby" or they would not consider hiring a married woman or a woman with children because "obviously they would prefer to be home" and there would be no proof of that. Further, one of the junior women at this place found out that both she and another woman was paid less than the males at her level and she went to HR and was fired. True story, case in court pending.

These experiences helped me during my leadership role at another job. The work was demanding in some ways and the nature of it was such that the hours were different than the 9-5 work. I would ask all candidates (male or female) if they could do the work and are ok with the hours. We became known as a family friendly place (some women thought it was ok to bring babies to meetings and one of the group asked that they stop). My (male) boss told me I was "too nice" despite the fact that we were growing, very successful financially, and were able to hire good people despite years of not being able to hire. Unfortunately the organization was not as "family friendly" as my department. For all kinds of reasons mostly other than that, I left. The attitude of many in higher up positions is that if they could do it (have kids, do demanding work), then we need to expect others to do the same even if it is not entirely necessary to torture parents.

On the other hand, I think there are a small number of women who have expectations that are unfair. In my line of work, "calling in sick" is a huge imposition. It's just not done except in extreme emergencies. But I've seen women do this because of chronic inadequate childcare. And the mothers who don't have adequate childcare (no excuse, we are highly paid) give the rest of us who are responsible a "bad name". I've worked with women who make unfair demands that I would never ever consider even though I too am a mother. If you can't or won't do the work, go into another line of work or stay home.

But to the subject---there is a good deal of discrimination in the country and unfortunately the laws are weak. Most states are "at-will" so you can be fired for having green eyes or some other thing that they make up as long as the stated reason isn't that you're a woman or black or some other protected group. Very difficult to prove subtle discrimination in court.

Posted by: anon today | February 26, 2007 11:28 AM

"I think we need to accept that young parents (usually but not always the moms) are NOT able to give as much as they could before they became parents. The goal is to help us find a way to continue to have careers and contribute outside the home, but we shouldn't deny that basic reality and we shouldn't expect employers to.

Posted by: Virginia | February 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Virginia, We don't need to accept your version of reality because it doesn't jive with our reality. I expect an employer to not assume that your reality has any bearing on my work performance. I am available to travel. I am available to work on weekends, if necessary. I get the job done. For me, it's a matter of integrity to do my best at jobs I take on. If that's not possible, it's up to me to change employers or jobs.

You seem to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. An employer should ask me whether I can travel, work past 7 p.m., commit, and be a team player and I'll tell you: I can. I am part of a 4-female mom team of professionals and not one of uses our status as moms to let clients down. To do otherwise would be simply unprofessional.

Mona, Having a child while you're in law school works out for some students, but shifts all these work/life balance issues to a time when you're writing a law review article or studying for the Bar Exam. Hard to tell until you see whether you like how your 2L summer turns out.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 11:37 AM

Mona,

You are not 'lucky.'. You chose your boyfriend, and presumably wouldn't want to be with someone who didn't have the same life view as you. I chose my husband - I am not lucky he is who he is and does what he does-i would not have married him otherwise.

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 11:40 AM

You are so right. These are the prejudices and assumptions to lead to people justifying discrimination against women. Like you, I have a supportive husband and a nanny. I can work the hours I needed to when my children were young. I have never left work early or left anyone "holding the bag" because of a childcare issue. It's a matter of good organization and planning. Shame on women who impose on others because of inadequate childcare and shame on anyone who assumes mothers cannot "pull their weight".

Posted by: To NC Lawyer | February 26, 2007 11:43 AM

Comment about the stereotype about "moms in kitchens." Not sure about everyone else, but even though I'm a lousy cook as a mom I LIVE in my kitchen b/c surprise, my kids need to eat three times a day and I feed them. So I can't/won't deny that this particular room is where most moms I know spend about 70% of their at-home time. The rest is in the laundry room and then hopefully some of it is spend sleeping. Sometimes I wish this weren't reality -- but it is, and it doesn't do anyone any good to deny it, whether it perpetutates a stereotype or not.

Posted by: Leslie | February 26, 2007 11:43 AM

Mona, I met DH when I was 30. We married a year later and had DD at 33. I actually got pregnant at 32 with ease. But now at 36 and facing a potentially failed adoption, we are asking if number 2 will ever happen. I also wanted to be done with child bearing in my mid 30s. I know many people give birth to healthy children in their late 30s and even 40s. But we don't want to be raising a toddler in our forties. That is just our choice. I can't say there is one right way. But waiting longer to have kids does give the very real chance that you will just have one. 20% of children 18 and under are only children today. I think one of the big reasons is working parents and older parents. But rest assured, only children still grow up happy and healthy. Best wishes to you and your BF. I have had several friends in grad school with children. It does seem to work out for some people.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 26, 2007 11:44 AM

Thanks, foamgnome. I worry about a lot of things when I consider our future. He's always wanted two kids and I've always wanted zero (till recently), and I'm four years older than him. I come from a lot of debt, poverty, and immaturity, and it's only lately that I've started to get my act together. I feel for him because he's had his act together all along, had a great plan for life and I came along and kind of threw a monkey wrench into the works. I just keep thinking, maybe if I'd started law school earlier, what if I'd done better in undergrad, maybe if he were with someone younger, he'd get the family he wants. We've talked about what would happen if we couldn't have kids, or if we could only have one, and we agreed to adopt. But as you've mentioned, adoptions can fail, and while I'd be okay with one child, I think he'd be happier with two. He says it's more important to have me in his life than the "perfect family," and I know I shouldn't be feeling this way, but often I wonder if he wouldn't be better off with someone closer to his own age, who's already in a professional position, who won't have to worry about being pregnant at 35. He doesn't seem to care, and I try not to let it bother me, but thoughts still creep in from time to time, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 11:51 AM

What do working moms do with their kids when they are sick for two weeks, one right after the other? I'd like to return to work, but we just spent a month where someone or other was laid up, including me for a week at a time. I said to dh, "what would I do if I was working" so I'm curious about how families handle this?

Posted by: Molly | February 26, 2007 11:53 AM

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or a mom discriminated against. They should run for their lives.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 11:54 AM

"The profiling discriminates women who do NOT have children, too. Employers ass-u-me we're gonna end up on maternity leave 9 months after being hired. Granted, they can't ask us about our procreation plans during an interview. So, the marital profiling hurts ALL women, not just moms."

When I married last year and was job hunting shortly thereafter, during the name-change phase, I was really tempted to announce that just because i was newly married did NOT mean I was having kids anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter.

But unfortunately, everyone assumes you're going to lead a cookie-cutter life. Not me!

Posted by: NoKidz | February 26, 2007 11:56 AM

DH is three years younger then me. I guess I never saw it as a problem. But I was done with school long before we met. In fact, he is going to get his MBA at night. So he is the one still in school. But I can tell you that even if you always thought you would have the perfect family of a boy and girl two years apart. If you just have one child, it will be enough. You will start to view your one child as a total blessing. At least that is how it is for us. DH would have liked to give her a sibling and I would have loved another child to love and nurture. But if it does not happen, it is OK. God gave us a wonderful child and we are truly grateful for her each and every day.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 26, 2007 11:57 AM

Molly: parents try to switch parental duties between two parents. If DH is not away on business, he takes a few sick days and appointment, and I take a few. As far as us getting sick. Barring life and death situations, we go to work no matter how bad we feel. We close the door to our office and just plug along. It sucks but it is just part of parenting. For women it is a little harder because for Fed workers, we need sick leave for maternity. Right now, DD does not need more sick days then I earn each year. And her father helps out. But if we wanted #2, we would be in trouble if baby #2 got sick. Maternity leave would wipe away every thing we had. We would move on to vacation days or leave with out pay.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 26, 2007 12:01 PM

What do working moms do with their kids when they are sick for two weeks, one right after the other? I'd like to return to work, but we just spent a month where someone or other was laid up, including me for a week at a time. I said to dh, "what would I do if I was working" so I'm curious about how families handle this?

Posted by: Molly | February 26, 2007 11:53 AM

This is precisely the reason I can't/won't have child #2. We don't make enough to hire a nanny. Don't have family in the area. I would definitely lose my job. I have a list of a few babysitters, college aged, but even they wouldn't be available for weeks on end, as they, obviously, have classes to attend! I've tried looking for an older woman in the neighborhood who is still energetic, but haven't had luck yet. They don't read craigs list! lol

But to answer your question, there are a lot of agencies that handle emergency care, including having a nanny for a month long period, or a few weeks, etc. I'd do a search in your area for an agency that handles nannies if you're considering going back to work.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 26, 2007 12:11 PM

Or an au pair - we're in the process of putting together our application and I'm so excited. It looks like it will be good all around.
Of course, you need to have the room to have another person living in the house, but we have an unused basement, so rather than pay a nanny a high wage and have them have to pay their rent, we're goign to have someone living in the house with us to have an extra pair of hands around (at about 35-50% less than a live out nanny).

Posted by: atlmom | February 26, 2007 12:23 PM

"You seem to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution."

NC lawyer,

That's glib.

Virginia has a good point -- that we shouldn't expect employers to deny the basic reality that young parents often can't give as much of the "over and above" at work as they did before they became parents.

Your professionalism and integrity aside, many people can't arrange their lives to accommodate extenuating circumstances at work once they've had kids.

Employers know this. If the job they're trying to fill requires evening and wekend work, they should be up front about that and ask if the applicant can handle that kind of schedule. If the applicant can't (and we'll hope she would be honest about this), she's going to get less favorable consideration for the job than someone who can.

So, how is Virginia being "part of the problem"? She's pointing out "a" reality, not yours or hers. It does exist. Why pretend it doesn't?

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 12:28 PM

I am a divorced single parent who worked as a technology consultant for 15 years. During that time, I had probably 300 interviews for each contract, various jobs, and the like, and not once was I ever stupid enough to say "Oh, I have to pick up my kid by 6" when asked if I could work late. I always said "Sure, usually, and if I have a conflict I may need an hour or two to get it resolved. But I'd come back."

That's really what the employer is testing--not whether or not the interviewee is willing to drop everything to work. Rather, when presented with a work/home conflict, what will this person prioritize?

The woman who answers "have to pick up my kid" is saying "Family comes first". Dog hire. Who'd want her?

The person, male or female, who says "sure, I'm willing, but on short notice I'll need some time to arrange things" whether it's someone to walk the dog, pick up the kid, get the kid to grandma's, hire a babysitter, or so on, is saying they're happy to put work first when it needs to be first.

Anyone who says that their family always, always comes first is a) a terrible parent and b) lying.

Posted by: Cal | February 26, 2007 12:31 PM

"Virginia has a good point -- that we shouldn't expect employers to deny the basic reality that young parents often can't give as much of the "over and above" at work as they did before they became parents."

I've been skimming and didn't read these posts fully, but isn't the issue here that employers should be making judgments based on the actual qualities of the individuals they are working with/interviewing, not on their assumptions of what "young moms" or "young parents" or whatever other group will do? I think the posts on this board demonstrate that there is a huge range of responses to work/life conflicts, and that parents in fact cannot and should not be lumped together.

Relying on stereotypes is easier and faster than really looking at individuals, and that's why employers do it. But it's also shortsighted and often leads to the wrong conclusions.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 12:37 PM

I agree that an employer shouldn't *assume* that a potential employee isn't going to be able to contribute as much JUST because she's a mom. I agree with using more neutral questions about being able to work late, travel, etc.

However, the fact is that most moms of young kids can't put in the same "over and above" as others, and I'm don't think employers are discrimiating if they chose to hire an equally qualified person who can.

Posted by: Virginia | February 26, 2007 12:49 PM

I have been a MomsRising member since they started and think it's a great advocacy organization. They keep you posted on the status of important legislation and have such features as a page where people can post a summary of the comments they sent to the Department of Labor during the recent FMLA comment period. MommyTrack'd is newer but similar and updates their pages regularly. I believe they link to MomsRising on legislative issues.

Posted by: PT-LawMom | February 26, 2007 12:55 PM

Quote from Childfree in DC, 11:26:
"The profiling discriminates women who do NOT have children, too. Employers ass-u-me we're gonna end up on maternity leave 9 months after being hired."

I gotta agree with that.

A few years ago I was hired on at a Beltway Bandit. Basically my colleague - a former graphic designer who claimed he had "a ton" of front-end web development experience - was overwhelmed by the medium sized project he was hired for at an obscenely good salary.

He convinced management they needed a second front-end development person and I was hired.

It turns out I had six years experience over him, despite the difference in our ages (I was early 30's, he was late 50's). This became apparent quite quickly to the client and management, who pretty much shifted 2/3 of the front-end development and a small piece of the back-end development onto my desk. Not because I asked for it, but because I didn't complain about repairing errors, I finished the work on time and under budget, and generally had a better grasp of what my role needed to be inside the larger team.

About 10 months into the job, I was well liked and respected. But there were the inevitable layoffs, and everyone was astounded when I was chosen to leave over my colleague.

I was later told informally by a friend who remained at the contract that I was chosen to be laid off over the objections of my direct manager, because I was about to get married (something I rarely discussed anyway, because my mother chose to plan the whole thing). The higher ups saw it as I was about to become domestic wifey with a husband to support her - which was news to me, since the only change I was planning was to my last name - but my colleague "had a family to support."

The kicker? His wife was actually the breadwinner in his family - his foray into web development was a way to get some extra money into the house for their son's college fund, since he was more of a freelance graphic designer, something he readily admitted.

The real kicker - about four months after I got laid off my manager called: they wanted to hire me back. My former colleague had decided he didn't want to pick up the slack caused by my forced departure, and told management so. But he didn't get fired - he got transferred to another project where he apparently still screwed up on a regular basis.

(I didn't take the job - I told my manager nothing personal, but I didn't trust the higher ups to decide not to let me go again for some BS reason, and he understood completely.)

So much for hard work and experience getting you ahead in the workplace.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 26, 2007 1:09 PM

pittypat,

Virginia's original statement was:

"The reality is, a lot of moms, especially moms with young kids, are not able to put in the hours that other employees are."

In your 12:28 post, you've converted Virginia's reference to "moms" to a gender-free reference to "parents. Her follow-up 12:49 post continues her original characterization of the non-reliable parent employee with a restrictive schedule as a mom-issue, rather than a parent-issue.

Virginia's original gender-specific statement feeds into the assumption of many hiring professionals that all moms have a certain reality. The inevitable consequence of the thinking Virginia perpetuates is that hiring a man is a safe hire and hiring a woman - particularly a mom - is risky. Yes, I consider that Virginia's beliefs feed and nurture discriminatory hiring.

I don't have a nanny, au pair, or in-town family, and I have had to make plans to get the work done somehow whether one of our kids is sick, my husband is traveling, or whatever. I'm not pretending Virginia's "reality" doesn't exist for her as she expressed it, but it doesn't exist for the moms I know who are responsible employees and team players, and suggesting it's a gender-wide attitude has negative implications for the workplace progress of the rest of us.

Disagree if you must with the fundamental hiring issue, but your desperate need to pick a fight with someone specific is showing.

All hale Cal and Megan.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 1:12 PM

I had a recent situation kind of in this vein. We were doing our business plans and my boss referred to another employee's plan that included saturdays and several late nights. The implied point was that I too could do that. I just sat in silence and he eventually complimented me on my plan. He of course was hoping i would be uncomfortable and volunteer. I didn't and that was that. My weekends are for family and church.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 1:16 PM

NC Lawyer,

I hear a laundry basket calling you!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 1:18 PM

I wrote about this once before:
When I was in a job that required travel at least one weekend a month (as opposed to staying in town that weekend working)a young mother applied. When we told her that she would have to commit to the travel she said that she could do it.
The first three months she found excuses not to go which left the other two of us to do the work of three (inspections). After the third month we got rid of her. Luckily it was the Army Reserves so there really wasn't a problem with moving her to a different job and she did still have a position, albeit not the "prestigious" one she wanted.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 1:20 PM

How are these moms (women) wanting equal rights post-feminist?

Posted by: erin | February 26, 2007 1:22 PM

AtlMom -- We have an au pair and it's worked great for us. It's really been a wonderful experience. My kids now fight in German. LOL.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 1:23 PM

This may be more relevant to age discrimination... but healthcare benefits are becoming a much bigger component of labor costs. A young/childree/single employee is (on average) cheaper at the same salary and this problem is only getting worse.

Posted by: another component | February 26, 2007 1:24 PM

Meesh writes: "I don't like the idea of women separating themselves into different factions."

Excellent point, Meesh! This is called divide-and-conquer, and it's a way to make it harder for women to get equitable treatment -- by trying to get them to be so preoccupied with turning on one another that they don't have time or inclination to become allies who, once united, might be able to make more of a difference for themselves.

Off topic to Fred, re MIL doing laundry: Once when DH and I were visiting his mother, while we were out for a few hours calling on other relatives one day, she took it upon herself to go into the guest room, rummage through our suitcases and pull out all the clothes she deemed dirty (including some we hadn't even worn yet!). She washed them in hot water and dried them all on the hottest setting in the dryer. This included a pair of cable-stitched pure wool knee-socks I'd recently knitted (yup, even turned the heels myself!), which shrank from medium female to small-child size and became totally "felted." When DH and I returned to her house, she informed us of what she'd done. When I saw how totally ruined my once-beautiful socks were, I was heartbroken and on the verge of tears -- but she was totally unapologetic. I couldn't believe she would even violate our privacy by going through our luggage -- I figured the laundry was a pretext to snoop, maybe for birth control, or a way of saying she thought she was better at taking care of her son than I was -- let alone ruin a piece of someone's clothing.

Off topic to Meesh, KLB SS MD, and other chatters of like persuasion: Yay, Terps!

Posted by: catlady | February 26, 2007 1:34 PM

Just guessing but the lack of responses here shows that this is merely a rehash what we have been over many times. Time for something different folks.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 26, 2007 1:35 PM

On "getting mad":
Automatically denigrating anyone who ever "gets mad" about anything as some kind of loony nutcase is something I wish more of us would "get mad" about. The whole idea that no mature person ever gets mad about anything has created a society of wimpy pushovers.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | February 26, 2007 1:38 PM

Meesh,
This time of year is sad as my dad loved the women's college basketball (big UConn fan). I think of him when I see that college basketball is on tv.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 1:39 PM

Off Topic on Laundry Again,

The woman complaining about MIL doing her laundry had allowed MIL to do laundry in the past. The advice column (either Amy or Abby) offered that woman and MIL come to agreement on what MIL could do such as vacuuming but leaving the laundry alone.

Catlady,

Sounds like your MIL does laundry the "male" way but really had an ulterior motive. Even I know better than to put knitted articles in the washer!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 1:41 PM

Does one have to get married to have a MIL who does laundry and cleans? That sounds pretty good to me (haha).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 1:44 PM

Long, but worth it. I've always loved this, although it is probably about 30 years old and it's scary how little has changed. Famous essay from Judy Brady:

Why I Want a Wife

"According to the dictionary, a wife is a "woman married to a man." But, as many women know, a wife is much more: cook, housekeeper, nutritionist, chauffeur, friend, sex partner, valet, nurse, social secretary, ego-builder, and more. Rather than complains why she herself would like to have a wife.

I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am a Wife. And, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother.

Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene from the Midwest fresh from a recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is obviously looking for another wife. As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife. Why do I want a wife?

I would like to go back to school, so that I can become economically independent, support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent upon me. I want a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I am going to school I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a wife to keep track of the children's doctor and dentist appointments. And to keep track of mine, too. I want a wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who will wash the children's clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arrenges to be around when the children need special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My wife must arrange to lose time at work and not lose the job. It may mean a small cut in my wife's income from time to time, but I guess I can tolerate that. Needless to say, my wife will arrange for the care of the children while my wife is working.

I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook. I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shoping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time from school. I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and a change of scene.

I want a wife who will take care of details of my social life. When my wife and I are invited out by my friends, I want a wife who will take care of the babysitting arrangements. When I meet people at school that I like and want to certain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about the things that interest me and my friends. I want a wife who will have arranged that the children are fed and ready for bed before my guests arrive so that the children do not bother us. I want a wife who takes care of the needs of my guests so that they feel comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are passed the hors d'oeuvres, that they helping of the food, that their wine glasses are replenished when necessary, that their coffee is served to them as they like it. And I want a wife who knows that sometimes I need a night ot by myself.

I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied. And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it. I want a wife who assumes the complete responsibility for birth control, because I do not want more children. I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with jealousies. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to ralate to people as fully as possible.

If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one. Naturally, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible for them so that I am left free.

When I am through with school and have acquired a job, I want my wife to quit working and remain at home so that my wife can moree fully and completely take care of a wife's duities.

My God, who wouldn't want a wife ? "

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 1:50 PM

"What do working moms do with their kids when they are sick for two weeks, one right after the other? I'd like to return to work, but we just spent a month where someone or other was laid up, including me for a week at a time. I said to dh, "what would I do if I was working" so I'm curious about how families handle this?"

Posted by: Molly | February 26, 2007 11:53 AM

Honestly, and not trying to start a fight here, but there's a theory that kids who are raised in a daycare environment, or another environment in which they regularly encounter kids with colds, flu, etc. build up a better resistance than kids who don't have that exposure. I can only tell you that my kids have never been sick for more than 2 days, and so the parent who is best positioned to take a sick day takes it, or we split the day. What we do NOT do is send them back to school before they should be back in school. I get more than a bit peeved at those parents who do.

Point 2 is, the question is not what YOU would do, but how would you and your husband work together to provide childcare when either of your children are sick, if you were working?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 1:51 PM

>>However, the fact is that most moms of young kids can't put in the same "over and above" as others, and I'm don't think employers are discrimiating if they chose to hire an equally qualified person who can.>>

It is the definition of discrimination if you don't hire someone because she's a mother and you have made an assumption about what that means in terms of productivity. Don't kid yourself. That is bias.

And I agree with other posters who point out that the assumption is wrong, anyhow--I have two small children and work late, work weekends, travel on 24 hours notice, travel for 4-5 days at a time... There are plenty of childless people in my office who don't work as hard. It's just another hurdle that women have to overcome in the workplace--I HAVE to work harder than everyone else to be perceived as doing the same, and God forbid I stay home one day with a sick kid.

Posted by: Arlmom | February 26, 2007 1:52 PM

Thanks for all the information and tips. Food for thought.

Posted by: Molly | February 26, 2007 1:57 PM

KLB SS MD, I'm glad that this time of year brings good memories for you!

Posted by: Meesh | February 26, 2007 2:04 PM

NC --

I was responding to your post of 11:37, wherein you quoted Virginia thus:

"I think we need to accept that young parents (usually but not always the moms) are NOT able to give as much as they could before they became parents. The goal is to help us find a way to continue to have careers and contribute outside the home, but we shouldn't deny that basic reality and we shouldn't expect employers to."

I didn't convert anything, nor am I creating scenarios for disagreement.

I simply responded to the quote (as posted by YOU) and your comments on it.

Ease up, ok?

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 2:15 PM

Working Dad -- Good points, but many employees can't just pick and choose exactly where they want to work. It's not a employee market. Over time, hopefully "invisible hand" market forces will pressure employers to be more fair and flexible, but in the meantime, a lot of moms (and dads) and children are getting the short end of the stick because employers' have most of the leverage.

Some of the stories today make me beyond mad. The people being "gamed" here by the interview tactics and pressures and discrimination are US and moms we know and love. It stinks.

Posted by: Leslie | February 26, 2007 2:24 PM

I once had a job I loved where my immediate superior was an older married-mother who was a dream of a mentor. She complained at times about how unreasonable her divorced-mother immediate superior was, but she managed to buffer us from the wrath of her boss.

After my wonderful boss eventually left in disgust over abuses by the "Dragon Lady," our department was restructured so that we all answered to DL. Among my colleagues were a (shared-custody) divorced mother and a (non-custodial) divorced father. DL made all sorts of allowances for the divorced father, graciously letting him leave as necessary in order to fulfill his parental obligations (which were fewer than the divorced mother's). But DL was forever ragging on the divorced mother, and making her schedule and work-life as difficult as possible. We figured it was because DL had "made it" professionally back in the bad old days when discriminating against women in the work-place (mothers or not) was done openly, and evidently she perceived that other mothers had it easier than she did, and resented it. Eventually, she began taking the choicest accounts away from the divorced mother (who was the one who'd developed many of them in the first place) and then, when she couldn't make her quota, terminated her for being insufficiently productive.

The fired divorced mother filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit, citing DL's unequal, preferential treatment toward the divorced father. The suit survived defendant's motion to dismiss, so went into discovery -- which is where the "stuff" really started hitting the fan. Local newspapers got hold of the story, which in turn brought lots of DL's unhappy former subordinates out of the woodwork with their own stories of her workplace abuse (she made "The Devil Wears Prada" boss look compassionate). The fall-out of all this was so adverse that DL's employer quickly gave her a lateral transfer to another department, then she conveniently "retired" a few months later at a premature age, with undisclosed (but doubtless generous) benefits.

While the lawsuit did not survive summary judgment, it was a Pyrrhic victory for the defendants, in terms of both DL's career-loss and a huge hit to the employer's reputation -- especially because, along the way, corporate fund-mishandling in other departments was also uncovered. Unfortunately, the fired divorced mother's career was also in shambles and she's had to work hard at rebuilding a new one in another field.

Posted by: catlady | February 26, 2007 2:28 PM

P.S. I'm NOT the divorced mother; she was a terrific co-worker of mine who got a rotten deal.

Posted by: catlady | February 26, 2007 2:32 PM

WORKINGMOMX, change wife to sugardaddy and you get the same result. I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle. It cuts both ways.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:33 PM

pARTICK,
And the dirty little secret men harbor is that their wife stays home and takes care of the house and children while he is out having an affair. It does indeed cut both ways.

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 2:35 PM

"I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle."

Oooh, pATRICK.

Sounds like you've got trouble on the home front.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:37 PM

change wife to sugardaddy and you get the same result. I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle.

pATRICK, is that your low opinion of your wife? Or did she leave you?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:38 PM

You are right, dishonor cuts both ways, that was my point. This blog often degenerates into a man bashing hen house. Occasionally it needs to be reminded of the hypocrisy of both men and women.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:38 PM

pATRICK's comments say more about his marriage than his politics.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:39 PM

"This blog often degenerates into a man bashing hen house."

Tell that to John, Fred, Texas Dad of 2, Father of 4, Proud Papa and many other real men who don't have any problem engaging with women without name-calling.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:41 PM

LOL, my home life is fine thank you. I was pointing out what I see frequently here in Dallas. Women whose main goal is to land a rich man. My lovely wife continues to work, help me raise the kids etc.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:41 PM

Patrick,

You and Mcewen need to get together over a couple of (dozen) beers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:43 PM

"to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible"

Hmmm, now if it were to not work for someone else, have money, lunch with friends, play time with my son, go hiking and have sex with my husband as often as possible, I'd sign on for sure.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 2:43 PM

pATRICK-
Your wife helps you raise the kids?

yeah, right.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:45 PM

My greatest enjoyment on this log is the "we are woman" faction that must at all costs defend women, regardless of reality or facts, against any observations that they are also human and screw up things just as much as men do.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:45 PM

Lighten up, Patrick. You never seem to post anything other than a rant. What gives?

If reading this blog irritates you so much, I suggest you find alternative sources of information and/or entertainment.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 2:47 PM

Here, here, Megan!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 2:49 PM

WORKINGMOMX, you post a long diatribe against men and that is considered an enlightened post by the femi's here, but I post the mirror of that and it is a rant. A perfect example of what I discussed. It all depends on your perspective.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:50 PM

While I don't normally agree with pATRICK I found the 1:50 posting to be vile as well.

------------------------------

"This blog often degenerates into a man bashing hen house."

Tell that to John, Fred, Texas Dad of 2, Father of 4, Proud Papa and many other real men who don't have any problem engaging with women without name-calling.

------------------------------

The fact that they ignore name-calling /stereotypes etc. doesn't mean that the 1:50 post was constructive.

Posted by: hmm... | February 26, 2007 2:50 PM

Hey, I am just interested in talking about laundry today!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 2:52 PM

WorkingMomX wrote: "Lighten up, Patrick. You never seem to post anything other than a rant. What gives? If reading this blog irritates you so much, I suggest you find alternative sources of information and/or entertainment."

Right, WorkingMomX! The purpose of this blog is supposed to be to offer CONSTRUCTIVE approaches to handling issues of balance between work and personal (family) life, not to rant and engage in ad hominem (or ad feminam?) attacks.

Posted by: catlady | February 26, 2007 2:53 PM

I'd rather talk about laundry again. A MIL that does laundry? Sounds good to me - just leave it folded in the backet though, the last thing I need is my MIL finding something in my drawers she doesn't need to see.

My mother will unload my dishwasher sometimes when she is watching the kids - she tells me it is the ultimate act of love because she HATES unloading the dishwasher. She has started dinner for me on occasion as well - I hope I get the chance to do the same for my kids.

Posted by: CMAC | February 26, 2007 2:54 PM

WorkingMomX wrote: "Lighten up, Patrick. You never seem to post anything other than a rant. What gives? If reading this blog irritates you so much, I suggest you find alternative sources of information and/or entertainment."

Right, WorkingMomX! The purpose of this blog is supposed to be to offer CONSTRUCTIVE approaches to handling issues of balance between work and personal (family) life, not to rant and engage in ad hominem (or ad feminam?) attacks.

HMMM, CATLADY such as these?

"I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle."

Oooh, pATRICK.

Sounds like you've got trouble on the home front.

Posted by: | February 26, 2007 02:37 PM

change wife to sugardaddy and you get the same result. I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle.

pATRICK, is that your low opinion of your wife? Or did she leave you?

Posted by: | February 26, 2007 02:38 PM

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 2:55 PM

Patrick, I don't think it's a long diatribe against men. I actaully think it's a funny essay, and in any marriage, I think that both sides have to answer for the state of the relationship. If I'm being truthful, I'd have to say that my husband and I aren't equal partners in the sense that the couple from last week are. There are things he does because he's good at them, and there are things I do because I'm good at them. And then I mostly do the rest. I'm a bit of a control freak and I kind of like it that way.

I apologize if I offended anyone with that post -- I certainly didn't mean to.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 2:55 PM

Fred,
I'm with you but can we switch laundry to cleaning bathrooms?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 2:55 PM

"I know the dirty little secret many women harbor and that is to not work, have money, lunch with friends, work out and have sex with their hubby as little as possible as it requires to maintain the lifestyle."

No one said it was, hmmm. If one disagrees, then the appropriate response is to post a comment that the 1:50 post isn't constructive. One valueless post does not provide a justification for pATRICK's gender-wide neanderthal insults. Forming and consistently looking for any reason to spew insults directed at half the population based on one's anecdotal experience is overreacting and more than a little immature.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 2:58 PM

To NC lawyer:

I was prepared to overlook your first blooper, "All hale Cal and Megan."

But now you've given us "Here, here, Megan!"

Just so you know, these should read:

"All hail Cal and Megan."

"Hear, hear, Megan."

I'm sure Cal and Megan are very grateful for your efforts, though.

Posted by: LurkingEnglishProf | February 26, 2007 2:59 PM

I don't think you should apologize if you were pointing out the shallowness of SOME men. If you were indicting ALL men to the cacophony of cheers from some on this blog you should apologize. I take you at your word that you didn't mean to offend anyone so therefore I take no offense since I am not in that group of men you refer to.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 3:02 PM

Re ranting: pATRICK dishes it out, but he can't take it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:05 PM

..."I take no offense since I am not in that group of men you refer to."

Very funny.

Posted by: to Patrick | February 26, 2007 3:05 PM

"cacophony of cheers from some on this blog"

There was a cacophony of cheers after the "I want a wife" post? When? Where? Did I suddenly get rerouted to a different on balance blog?

The only person making a big deal out of that post is you, patrick, and if you had made your points in a more reasonable way, you probably would have had a lot of people agree with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:09 PM

LurkingEnglishProf, Yikes! I apologize for the failure to utilize the preview function. Thanks for calling me on the inadvertent posting of homonyms!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 3:10 PM

LOL, you call these mild rejoinders back at me attacks that I can't handle? Please! Go to a real free for all blog like the NY TIMES political blogs and you will see real attacks. Not for the faint of heart.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 3:12 PM

As a childless, never married woman who has had more than her share of jobs, I just wanted to pipe up and say I have NEVER, NEVER, EVER gotten the feeling I was discriminated against because I was female.

EVER. Never. Never been asked about outside interests, what my priorities were, or anything remotely "fishing" or illegal.

Why? Why do some female posters say "I've seen this a dozen times", yet a person like me that has had 3 different distinct career phases and dozens of jobs has never been discriminated against.

Can anyone else say the same?

Can it be because I have primarily been an hourly-paid, skilled worker rather than a professional in a competitive area?

Can it be because I was non-profits (no deliverables or production pressure)?

Just curious...I can't be the only woman alive to say this...

Posted by: ALP | February 26, 2007 3:14 PM

"The only person making a big deal out of that post is you, patrick, and if you had made your points in a more reasonable way, you probably would have had a lot of people agree with you. "

I doubt it since the content of that post addressed gold digging women posted by a man. Too politically incorrect for this crowd.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 3:15 PM

"As a childless, never married woman who has had more than her share of jobs, I just wanted to pipe up and say I have NEVER, NEVER, EVER gotten the feeling I was discriminated against because I was female. . . .
Why? Why do some female posters say "I've seen this a dozen times", yet a person like me that has had 3 different distinct career phases and dozens of jobs has never been discriminated against."


There's a big difference between having never been discriminated against and having not been aware of such discrimination.

Perhaps you have led a charmed life, or perhaps you are oblivious to gender discrimination.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:20 PM

ALP,

Actually, that has been my experience, as well.

In neither hourly, skilled employment nor professional positions have I ever had a sense of being discriminated against due to gender.

Doesn't mean I don't believe that it happens -- and way too much.

It just hasn't happened to me.

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 3:20 PM

whatever patrick - you choose to ignore anyone who makes a reasonable response in order to see what you want to see here because of your own unhappiness and vitriol. IF the NYT boards are so much better, maybe you should stay there and play. And you sure seem all hot and bothered by the responses you got - you're the one whining, as usual...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:21 PM

A sign was hanging in an office window. It read:

Help wanted.
Must type 70 words a minute.
Must be computer literate.
Must be bilingual.
An equal opportunity employer.

A dog was ambling down the street and saw the sign. He looked at it for a moment, pulled it down with his mouth, and walked into the manager's office, making it clear he wished to apply for the job.

The office manager laughed and said, "I can't hire a dog for this job."

The dog pointed to the line: "An equal opportunity employer."

So the manager said, "OK, take this letter and type it." The dog went off to the word processor and returned a minute later with the finished letter, perfectly formatted.

The manager said, "Alright, here's a problem. Write a computer program for it and run it."

Fifteen minutes later, the dog came back with the correct answer.

The manager still wasn't convinced. "I still can't hire you for this position. You've got to be bilingual."

The dog looked up at the manager and said, "Meow."

Posted by: Jokester's Cousin | February 26, 2007 3:22 PM

KLB, the bathrooms giving you a tough time this week?

On the home improvement front, we tore up the wall-to-wall carpeting in the dining room which we had totally trashed - off-white carpeting where a toddler eats is such a bad idea. We figured whatever condition the hardwood floor was in, it couldn't be worse than the carpet and - hooray hooray! The floor was in great condition. We can't wait to tear up the rest of the house.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 3:23 PM

pATRICK, you're right about the NY Times blogs. A person could get skinned alive in there! That's why I stick to this one :)

Posted by: Meesh | February 26, 2007 3:24 PM

"There's a big difference between having never been discriminated against and having not been aware of such discrimination.

Perhaps you have led a charmed life, or perhaps you are oblivious to gender discrimination."

This is a typically arrogant feminist post. Apparently the poster has led a fantasy life or is just too stupid to see the discrimination. Not possible that for the vast majority of women, the discrimination never happens. PC nonsense again

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 3:25 PM

To ALP

I have worked for universities and non-profits and I have seen it both places. A colleague of mine was fired for trumped up reasons even though everyone in the office knew it was because her boss abhors women with children (though the boss will bend over backwards for men with children). She completed all of her work in a timely fashion and did not exceed her sick time but the boss couldn't stand it when she had to leave early one or two times a week for a period of a month to care for a child with some academic problems. The boss however took off a full week before a major board meeting to care for a sick pet.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 3:26 PM

A few minutes before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking.

Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. Soon everyone had exited the church except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew without moving, seeming oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence.

So Satan walked up to the old man and said "Don't you know who I am?"

The man replied, "Yep, sure do."

"Aren't you afraid of me?" Satan asked.

"Nope, sure ain't." said the man.

"Don't you realize I can kill you with a word?" asked Satan.

"Don't doubt it for a minute," returned the old man, in an even tone.

"Did you know that I could cause you profound, horrifying, AGONY for all eternity?" Persisted Satan.

"Yep," was the calm reply.

"And you're still not afraid?" asked Satan.

"Nope," said the old man.

More than a little perturbed, Satan asked, "Well, why aren't you afraid of me?"

The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for 48 years.

Posted by: Jokester's Cousin redux | February 26, 2007 3:27 PM

Tell me when pATRICK crawls back in whatever hole he crawled out of today. It's impossible to glean anything from the sane people what with comments about hens and "PC" this or that.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:31 PM

">>However, the fact is that most moms of young kids can't put in the same "over and above" as others, and I'm don't think employers are discrimiating if they chose to hire an equally qualified person who can.>>

It is the definition of discrimination if you don't hire someone because she's a mother and you have made an assumption about what that means in terms of productivity. Don't kid yourself. That is bias."

If it is assumed that someone can't work "over and above" simply because they are a mom (or dad, but that is a less frequent assumption), then that would be discrimination.

However, if it comes out in the interview that the mom isn't available for "over and above", then that is just a business decision to hire or promote someone who is available. That is not discrimination any more than not hiring someone to work in the restaurant business who isn't available for weekend dinner hour.

What seems to be the bigger problem is not discrimination, but the shift toward professional positions requiring so much "over and above". It seems that "over and above" is turning into a regular schedule. Why wouldn't an employer want to hire someone who would fit that regular schedule more easily?

I agree with ALP who does not see this in hourly skilled-worker positions.

And Leslie said, "but many employees can't just pick and choose exactly where they want to work. It's not a employee market"

This is true, but life is full of trade-offs. This blog seems to be populated by many professional women who want well-paid interesting work with flexible hours and lots of benefits (maternity leave, bf rooms, daycare, etc). There are places that offer some or all of these perks as an inducement to attract those who could make more money elsewhere. sometimes you just have to balance the total package. The person who took the $20K reduction seems to have accepted that their time meant more than their money. If the money and career advancement is more important, than go for it, but accept that you may have to give up more of your time.

Posted by: xyz | February 26, 2007 3:35 PM

I have seen older workers not get promotions or not get plum assignments because the employers feel that they will be retiring soon and may not see the project through to the end.

I believe this age discrimination is more prevalent than discriminating against women who may have children and leave.

Posted by: xyz | February 26, 2007 3:38 PM

"There's a big difference between having never been discriminated against and having not been aware of such discrimination.

Perhaps you have led a charmed life, or perhaps you are oblivious to gender discrimination."

Wow, that was a pretty snarky response to a statement of personal experince. And here I thought this was one of the more polite boards. Note the insinuation that I am just too dumb to know the difference!

Maybe I did not pose the question well enough:

If this type of discrimination is as rampant as folks say it is, it might be helpful to examine why it would happen to some women, and not to others. That's all.

Geez, I guess my person fascination with the fact that my "female experience" consistently differs from those of other women pushes some buttons! Who knew?

Posted by: ALP | February 26, 2007 3:38 PM

"This is true, but life is full of trade-offs. This blog seems to be populated by many professional women who want well-paid interesting work with flexible hours and lots of benefits (maternity leave, bf rooms, daycare, etc). "

You hit the nail on the head, Congratulations

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 3:38 PM

where are all the fathers and FIL's who are helping with dishes and laundry?

Personally, I don't want anyone coming into my house and doing anything to help out. While I agree that it is nice, I also think that it is somewhat intrusive. If they ask if they can do anything to help, I'm sure I could find something, but I don't want anyone going through my dirty underwear or through my dresser drawers. I can't decide if I'm controlling or just very private :-).

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:41 PM

Fathers and FIL have been told repeated throughout their married lives to leave the laundry alone!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 3:42 PM

Couldn't read all the posts today, and I've been a bit busy and away from the blog. Finally get to it today, and it's a question (once again) asked only of Mothers. I read the supporting articles and understand the context (at least this time), but couldn't Leslie have at least TRIED to expand it to make her points in a non-exclusionary way? Leslie, after being asked so many times by myself and others, is it simply impossible for you to ask something you wish to glean more toward women without making it exclusionary to men? Or do you enjoy exclusioanry prhasing? Would you approve of it if men were doing it in the reverse? You are very frustrating. It would be very interesting to figure out if you are intentionally being so...

As for the article title, I can say with some certainly that there are some posters here that are mad. Some might even be angry... :~)

The answers I have scanned over caught most of hte items I might have offered today. In part to protest Leslie's exclusionary tactics, and partly because it was intersting, I thoght to ask about another story in WaPo today. It was about guns (and boys), and those parents that are gun taboo. Here's the link...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/23/AR2007022301749.html

Thought it was kidn of interesting. My wife doesn't much like guns, even though she was raised on a farm/ranch in central Texas and is definatley a country girl. We own several guns (that my kids can't touch, yet). Would the other posters here fall into the gun taboo description of J. Turley's story, or in the toy guns/swords are harmless toys that help channel kid's aggression mold?

For my household, as youngsters the kids weren't allowed, except for water guns in summer. Know they target shot BB gun(s). At 13 and 9, they are too young for the real ones yet. But guns in the Southwest are different from other places. With so many more dangerous critters active here, guns are much more integrated into our way of life.

To Scarry/NC Lawyer: Have I missed much since my last foray here? I think the last topic I weighed in on the the length/girth discussion. Now there was a day the topic that had run off the tracks... :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 26, 2007 3:42 PM

"In neither hourly, skilled employment nor professional positions have I ever had a sense of being discriminated against due to gender.

Doesn't mean I don't believe that it happens -- and way too much.

It just hasn't happened to me."

Pitty - we agree once in a blue moon and this is one of those occasions. Not necessarily the "way too much" comment, but I don't think my gender has ever been a source of discrimination. Actually, I think being a female has helped me get at least 2 jobs. My impediment to career advancement in my current job has been my limits on how many hours to work - so it is self-imposed.

Posted by: CMAC | February 26, 2007 3:50 PM

"...it's a question (once again) asked only of Mothers. I read the supporting articles and understand the context (at least this time), but couldn't Leslie have at least TRIED to expand it to make her points in a non-exclusionary way?"

Texas Dad,

Unfortunately for you responsible and equality-minded dads, the reality is that women still put in at least 75% of the "balancing" effort. In so many homes, they're the ones who are doing laundry, paying bills, managing dinner (even if they don't cook it, you can bet they had to plan for it), and doing bedtimes after a full day's work outside the home.

So, it makes sense that many of the "On Balance" blogs are focused on women.

Kudos to you guys who are making an effort to change the balance of household responsibility. But don't assume for a moment that guys like you are the norm. Just not the case.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 3:51 PM

Employers do fish for information they can't legally ask of a potential employee. But that doesn't mean the potential employee can't offer up information employers would rather have and the potential employee knows would be an asset.

As for the "which is more important, work or family?" question - stupid. Family is ALWAYS more important than a job - kids, no kids, pets, married, single, divorced, etc.

Posted by: DC Worker | February 26, 2007 3:55 PM

"So, it makes sense that many of the "On Balance" blogs are focused on women.

Kudos to you guys who are making an effort to change the balance of household responsibility. But don't assume for a moment that guys like you are the norm. Just not the case."

Talk about a patronizing response.

As you might imagine, I'm with you Texas Dad of 2. There were a couple of good moments, but it wasn't the same without you . . .

I read the toy guns article with interest. I was disappointed that the online discussion was remarkably dull and seemed entirely one-sided, or did you disagree?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 4:02 PM

TD of 2 - I posted on the Hurley article on the "on parenting" and so far no one bit, but I had the same question. I thought Hurley's article was very revealing and the research was very interesting. The taboo of gun play seems to be poo-poo'ed across the board.

I never played with guns as a kid but both of my kids have toy guns that go to cowboy costumes, toy revolutionary guns we bought in Williamsburg, swords, light sabers (or as my son called them - lifesavers), and various other toy kid weaponry. Neither kid looks like they are going to be a career criminal or vicious killer. They take them or leave them.

Really - my kids are outside about 90% of the time. Heat, rain, snow, cold - they go out. I have never had an huge issue with violence, too much TV and candy (sugar) - which are the 3 big issues parents get worked up over.

I'll be interested to see the replies to your post.

Posted by: CMAC | February 26, 2007 4:07 PM

"I just wanted to pipe up and say I have NEVER, NEVER, EVER gotten the feeling I was discriminated against because I was female."

Sure. It's not all that unusual.

I've heard horror stories from women that I laughed at, as in "pull the other one". This upsets them, as a rule. But then, that's why I laugh.

Look, anyone who believes more than 10% of these stories is nuts. Competent women who actually do experience discrimination tell a very different story, with a lot of humor and far less whining.

Posted by: Cal | February 26, 2007 4:10 PM

,My son is allowed to play games that have some gun element as long as no blood splatters or it is criminally centered. Mainly star wars stuff, little boys need to be the hero or good guys its in their dna and usually a weapon of some sort is involved. Harmless IMO

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:10 PM

Sorry about the atrocious spelling job above! I hit post before I could spell-check.

YIKES! On re-reading, you almost can't make out my points. Here's how I wanted it to more or less read, though feel free to skip if you've already read the previous, though I did revise and extend the comments somewhat.

Sorry again for the previous posting.
=======================

Couldn't read all the posts today, and I've been a bit busy and away from the blog. Finally get to it today, and it's a question (once again) asked only of Mothers. I read the supporting articles and understand the context (at least this time), but couldn't Leslie have at least TRIED to expand it to make her points in a non-exclusionary way? Leslie, after being asked so many times by myself and others, is it simply impossible for you to ask something you wish to glean more toward women without making it exclusionary to men? Or do you enjoy exclusionary phrasing? Would you approve of it if men were doing it in the reverse? You are very frustrating. It would be very interesting to figure out if you are intentionally being so...

As for the article title, I can say with some certainly that there are some posters here that ARE mad. And some might even be angry... :~)

The answers that I did scan have already caught most of the items I might have offered today. I do think that more balance and enlisting men to help solve the larger problem is better than women tackling the issue alone. It obviously isn't a woman problem, it's a family problem.

So in part to protest Leslie's exclusionary tactics, and partly because it was interesting, I thought to ask about another story in WaPo today. It was about guns (and boys), and those parents who feel that playing with guns is taboo. Isn't J. Turley normally the lawyer/journalist asked to give pronouncements Supreme Court and other legal issues? Here's the link...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/23/AR2007022301749.html

Thought it was kind of interesting, as we've seen both sides of the issue. For us maybe it's more an age issue. My wife doesn't much like guns, even though she was raised on a farm/ranch in central Texas and is definitely a country girl. She knows the value of necessity of guns. We own several guns (that my kids can't touch, yet). Would the other posters here fall into the gun taboo description of J. Turley's story, or in the toy guns/swords are harmless toys that help channel kid's aggression mold? Of course, there are variations in the middle as well.

For my household, as youngsters the kids weren't allowed, except for water guns in summer. Know they target shot BB gun(s). At 13 and 9, they are too young for the real ones yet. But guns in the Southwest are different from other places. With so many more dangerous critters active here, guns are much more integrated into our way of life.

To Scarry/NC Lawyer: Have I missed much since my last foray here? I think the last topic I weighed in on the length/girth discussion. Now there was a day the topic that had run off the tracks... :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 26, 2007 4:16 PM

Question: do boys and girls require different standards/tactics for discipline? BF is convinced that sometimes physical reprimand is the only thing they understand. I think it's counterproductive to strike a child and then teach him not to hit people. I'm a firm believer in "because I'm mom, and I said so." But I don't have kids. And when I was a kid, there were three of us girls, and "because I said so" was usually good enough for us. But I never was nor did I ever have a little boy, so I don't know if there is a difference. BF was a good kid, got straight A's and never got into major trouble, but he made it sound like he just had a ton of energy and would make a toy out of anything, so even sending him to his room or the garage was like playtime to him, whereas his sister was on more of an even keel. So I thought I'd ask some of the ACTUAL parents on this blog: do methods of discipline differ between boys and girls?

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 4:17 PM

Employers definitely fish for information from candidates. And in this day and age, when so many firms won't do more than answer the phone -- never mind giving a reference -- for fear of a lawsuit, there are ways around that, too. For example, here's a typical conversation I used to have in my hiring days:

Me: Hi, I'm so and so from Such & Such et al. We're considering Candidate X and I've faxed you their agreement to release information form. I understand Candidate X worked for you for several years. Can you please confirm dates of employment for me?

Them: Yes, Candidate X worked for us from MM/YY to MM/YY.

Me: Candidate X has indicated that her salary was $80,000. Can you confirm that figure for me.

Them: I cannot confirm that amount. (This is code for "no way, honey".)

OR

Them: That's possible. (This is code for "that's reasonably accurate".)

Me: Can you confirm that Candidate X's title was "Manager of Everything"?

Them: I cannot confirm that title. (This is code for "no way, honey".)

OR

Them: That's possible. (This is code for "that's reasonably accurate.)

Me: Would you rehire this person?

Them: I cannot answer that question under the policy of my department. (This is code for NO)

OR

Them: Candidate X left our firm in good standing. (= yes)

It's been a few years since I was hiring folks on a regular basis, and I'll bet it's gotten worse. Fear of lawsuits makes a company slam the doors, but there will always be windows for people to crawl through.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 4:21 PM

Guns make me very uncomfortable -even pretend ones. I grew up in a large city with lots of crime and guns are not something to be taken lightly.

My boys are 3 and 4. They don't play with toy guns, they don't own toy guns and frankly they don't turn other toys into weapons. Once my 3 year old pretended to shoot his brother (he must have picked it up at preschool). I told him it was unacceptable and put him in time out. We haven't had a problem since. My oldest didn't know what a gun was until he was three and saw a toy gun at the playground, but I don't allow them to watch tv or movies that depict weapons. What's the point? I'm sure we can figure out other ways for them to express anger - drawing has worked wonders for expressing difficult feelings.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 4:22 PM

Several years ago, I interviewed for a job in the engineering department on a military base. They hired me as a "temporary" employee - not that my employment was temporary, just that they did not have to give me any benefits. I took the job, as there were not many engineering jobs available for me in that part of the country.

The same day I was hired, they also hired a male engineer. I had much more experience than he - a master's degree, plus I had my engineering registration and years of experience. He was relatively new to engineering. He actually assisted me on several projects.

Much later, I was surprised to discover that he had been hired at a higher pay grade than I, plus he was a permanent employee with benefits.

Apparently the head of the department hired women as "temps" because most of us were military spouses who already had benefits and would move on eventually when our husbands went to a new duty station.

While I acknowledge that as true - I worked as many hours as that man, and I believed then (as I do now) that my marital status should have been of no regard, especially as long as I did my job. I did not have children then - but I believe they too should have been irrelevant, as long as my job performance was satisfactory.

I eventually did leave - my husband was reassigned - but ironically I outlasted that engineer hired the same day as I.

When I left, I sent a letter to the HR office on the base, relating my experience. They refused to investigate, unless I wanted to file a formal claim of discrimination. I did not pursue that, as we were moving overseas.

Posted by: denver | February 26, 2007 4:23 PM

BOOKWORM MOM ,Your boys will soon be making guns out of spoons, sticks, fingers, whatever. It is just in their nature. Usually about 5 yrs old. Trying to contain will probably make it worse.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:25 PM

So I thought I'd ask some of the ACTUAL parents on this blog: do methods of discipline differ between boys and girls?

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 04:17 PM

My take - more on the kid not the gender. My kids are not "all boy" and "all girl" though. This topic will lead to another discussion on spanking, there will be accusations of beating my kids, etc. so I just wanted to get that out there.

We spanked - it worked with one kid and not the other. One kid never acted up again after she was spanked a couple times and the other one could care less - so spanking him is pointless.

Neither of my kids are wild, vicious, hit, bite, smart mouthed - they are pretty good kids. They can be bad but playing with toy guns and spanking have not turned them into monsters.

The problem with "I said so" is that at some point they will ask why, and you better have the logic to back it up - or they learn nothing.

Posted by: CMAC | February 26, 2007 4:26 PM

Don't men sometimes deserve to be bashed?

Posted by: Leslie | February 26, 2007 4:28 PM

Don't men sometimes deserve to be bashed?

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and sometimes women do too!

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:30 PM

CMAC, I agree that in time I will have to back up my authority with logic. "Because I said so" will only be used while they are too young to understand "because it's rude to pull that lady's hair" or, in the case of the infamous AirTran debacle, "it's not safe to stand up on the seats while the flight is taking off, plus it's against FAA regulations etc etc etc."

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 4:31 PM

Texas Dad of 2 -

Welcome back and thanks for the link. THat was a really interesting article - I'm surprised at the level of zero-tolerance the author has encountered. I am totally averse to guns in real life, but I know my brother and I played with capguns and squirt guns as kids, and I'll let my son do the same if he so desires. However, I do find the toys that try to look super realistic a little freaky, so I'll try to keep it to things that are clearly toys.

However, I don't really buy the whole "hardwired" argument. My two year old has so far shown no interest in toy weapons or weapon-play. He does have a doll that he really likes. He mostly though likes to play blocks and run around and roughhouse a bit. I think he'll develop an interest when he's exposed to it, but that's not the same as hardwired. I think marketing and the expectations of parents have a lot more to do with it than anything else.

I also will never forget the kid in the preschool where I briefly worked who was absolutely obsessed with guns because his mother prohibited them. I remember watching him bite his PB&J sandwich into the shape of a gun and start shooting at the other kids. My feeling is once it becomes a control issue between the parent and the child, it becomes an obsession for the child.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 4:32 PM

NC:

Thanks. It's fun to be missed. Glad you (and others) could make out my original posting, it was so illegible (no snide comments allowed about the state of my normal posts allowed, now ;-).

CMAC, yeah, it should be interesting to see the range of comments. I've never been around strongly taboo parents for TOTALLY toy guns, but experiences may differ, and it wouldn't surprise me if in DC and similar places the response is different.

Mona, in my experience it isn't boys/girls on discipline, but more the nature of the personality involved. I had one of my five sisters that refused to cry when my mother whipped her as a youngster, in a stubborn desire to not show remorse, which invariably made the discipline worse for her. I have a daughter that is equally strong willed and spirited. Discipline with her is more challenging for us. My son is much more centered and self-disciplined, rather like his father. Disciplining him and getting his attention is much easier. So I'd say it much more the personality type involved rather than the gender, from my unscientific sampling. I will admit with boys it is sometimes harder to get their attention, especially when they very active or in groups (read: packs), where they just have to be cool and independent (or die.)

Now let's see how antiquated this posting already is...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 26, 2007 4:32 PM

I have to go with CMAC on the "I said so" issue - the whys can be endless and with really small kids you can find yourself going in circles.

I don't spank for two reasons: one it makes me uncomfortable because I feel I am perpetuating violence, and two it isn't very effective.

For small children at least time out is very effective but put them in a chair or on a step not in an area with toys. One minute for every year they child is old seems to do the trick (ex. 4 minutes for my 4 year old, 3 minutes for my 3 year old.)

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 4:33 PM

"Don't men sometimes deserve to be bashed?"

Yes, Leslie, they do. But how bad to I have to be to get a spanking from you?

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 26, 2007 4:34 PM

catlady posted:

"The purpose of this blog is supposed to be to offer CONSTRUCTIVE approaches to handling issues of balance between work and personal (family) life, not to rant and engage in ad hominem (or ad feminam?) attacks."

Leslie posted,

"Don't men sometimes deserve to be bashed?"

Men don't deserve to be bashed on the basis of their gender and more than women deserve to be passed up for jobs because they're moms. On occasion, individuals of both genders deserve to be bashed based on the content of their characters as expressed by the comments they post.

Mona, The biggest thing that makes kids crazy is a perceived lack of fairness in the parenting experienced by one kid vs. another. Playing favorites is a parenting sin. Unless you have an objective reason for treating one child differently than the other, e.g., see cmac's comment above, and unless that reason strikes your kids as fundamentally fair, you are creating a whole host of parental problems for yourself if you have one disciplinary result for one child and a different result for another.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 4:37 PM

One more comment and then I'm outta here -- the gun thing: it's true that my boy does seem disposed to make weapons out of the most ordinary and harmless objects. He's never owned a toy gun but he definitely knows what they are and has known since he was about 18 months. My daughter shows no inclination this way. I find this difference in the genders fascinating.

We do not own a gun and never will, but I don't really see that playing with toy guns or weapons is a big deal. I just don't see it. I think if you make it a big deal, it's more problematic than if you just let them play. My husband and his brothers grew up with guns and all it did was teach them a healthy respect for firearms. None of them own guns now as adults.

I do think that life would be better if NO ONE had a gun, but little boys would still be pretending until our collective social conscious forgot about them, and then little boys would be play-acting with swords and spears.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 26, 2007 4:37 PM

NC LAWYER, well put.. as always

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:38 PM

"Men don't deserve to be bashed on the basis of their gender and more than women deserve to be passed up for jobs because they're moms. On occasion, individuals of both genders deserve to be bashed based on the content of their characters as expressed by the comments they post."

Couldn't agree more, NC Lawyer - extremely well said!

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 4:41 PM

I can't say exactly why, but I feel much more comfortable with children playing with swords than with guns. Anybody else have the same reaction?

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 4:41 PM

You don't hear about people killing each other with swords every day on the news.

Posted by: Yes | February 26, 2007 4:42 PM

Perhaps you have a romantic streak?

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:42 PM

wow, thanks, pATRICK :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 4:42 PM

Bookworm Mom, the mother of two boys that I grew up with had the same inclination, so provided them with wooden swords but no guns. All of us ended up with a lot of bruises from those swords... which may explain why I don't share the sentiment :)

Seriously though, I think that's common and probably taps into romantic associations of gallant knights in shining armor, whereas guns don't seem to carry any association with valiant fair play as much as just straight up killing. Or that's my totally unscientific assessment.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 4:44 PM

I prefer toy guns to a light saber parry to the privates personally. Speaking from experience too.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 4:45 PM

I probably do have a bit of a romantic streak, but mostly swords just seem much less violent to me though I am very aware that they are almost as deadly.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 4:46 PM

Thanks to you as well, Megan. I think I agree with your point: "My feeling is once it becomes a control issue between the parent and the child, it becomes an obsession for the child." I haven't seen that in practice like you have, but it seems intuitively reasonable.

I also agree with you, NC, on the fairness issue. If kids have one thing they can parse down to the milligram, it's whether they have been treated fairly on discipline issues. Since my son tends to act up less, my wife's punishments for him tend to be more lenient. My wife and I have to talk frequently to be sure we are calibrating things fairly.

Which brings up another subject where testing the stereotype might be interesting. They used to say daughter's have their father's wrapped around their fingers. Perhaps. But I find it much more true that sons (especially nowadays) have their Mother's wrapped around their fingers.

In evidence I'd offer that there are many more MILs from hell (over sons) than there are FILs (over daughters).

Thoughts??

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 26, 2007 4:50 PM

Oh, well, I can go one further. Single parent profiling. I'm a single mom and I worked very big publishing company located in downtown Washington for about a year....that is until my boss in answer to my telling him that I'd be about 15 minutes later coming in because my day care would be opening later, said, "We knew you were a single mother when we hired you, but we thought we'd give you a chance."
I was so angry I could have slapped him.
Fortunately he was laid off months before I quit.
Anyone want to know the name of this company, e-mail me...I'll tell you.
smartypantsparent@verizon.net

Posted by: SingleMomInMd. | February 26, 2007 4:50 PM

I am female and played with guns as a child. My brother was 2 years older and we played cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, and army sniper where we crawled around on our bellys on the basement floor before shooting the enemy or throwing fake hand grenades. This was in the early to mid-60's. The good guys always won.

I don't really have a problem with kids playing with toy guns as long as the guns do not look realistic. Shooting someone in real life was never something we even remotely considered as an acceptable thing to do. Playing with toy guns didn't change that.

FWIW, I think that boys should have more physical play than what seems to be acceptable. Wrestling, rolling around, jumping on each other etc releases a lot of energy, and for most boys it is fun. Bullying and picking on others is unacceptable, but IMO there is nothing wrong with rough-housing. My DH believes that forcing boys to withhold their natural physical tendencies results in many problems later. Schoolyard scuffles have been replaced with school shootings.

Posted by: anon this time | February 26, 2007 4:51 PM

"BOOKWORM MOM ,Your boys will soon be making guns out of spoons, sticks, fingers, whatever. It is just in their nature. Usually about 5 yrs old. Trying to contain will probably make it worse."

pATRICK:

This happens only if kids are regularly exposed to guns or their depiction on TV, in movies, or on the playground.

Of course parents can't prevent playground exposure. But if they limit their kids' screen exposure to guns and discuss the playground episodes in terms of their family value system, their kids aren't necessarily going to have the kneejerk response you describe.

Sure, they may fashion guns out of sticks or fingers, but parents can deal with those inclinations through discussion, as well, or let it go and allow them to grow out of it.

The point is that the parents can decide whether gun culture is something they want their kids involved with or not -- and then act accordingly. It's not a fait accompli that all little boys are going to want guns when they're five. And, even if they do, parents aren't obliged to provide them.

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 4:53 PM

Am I the only lawyer on this board (never actually contribute but have got to finally say something) who thinks Mona is incredibly naive?

Mona: how is it that you have your next fifty years planned out at a law firm, including having kids and "cutting down" to 50 hours a week (do you even know what it IS to work 50 hours a week??), but right now you seem to be (at least from what I can piece together) a law student, with a boyfriend (i.e., not married, not even engaged) and childless. Which means, commenting on your career and how you'll balance children is a bit premature.

Secondly, your boyfriend is clearly not a lawyer if he's telling you as a woman, hence a "minority" in the legal field, you'll be a hot commodity. Sorry, you won't be. First, there are plenty of women associates, just not partners. And no one up high cares that women associates drop out of law firms at a much higher rate than male associates. They do, male associates stay, and they go onto make partner in the same field-whatever it will be-that you go into. You won't be considered special or given special treatment because you're a woman and they want to/need to keep you around. Isn't that what this blog is all about??

But back to my original point-I still think you're way ahead of yourself on almost everything you post. Is law school that boring that you've already planned the rest of your life out? If so, I can tell you, none of this stuff is going to work out the way you think it will. Cut back to 50 hours a week. ha. Work a few weeks at a firm and come back to me on this one.

Posted by: Lurker75 | February 26, 2007 4:55 PM

Bookworm Mom, Remember the Black Knight, and watch House of Flying Daggers, LOL, and you might lose the romance. Can't say I've found guns to be any less violent than swords, but reasonable minds and all that.

If you're letting them play indoors with the weapon of their choice, however, I can attest to the fact that playing with swords (or light sabers) has much greater potential to destroy every lamp and tchotchke in the vicinity.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 4:55 PM

TX Dad of 2, my son definitely has me around his little finger, I don't know if it's because he's a boy but as my best friend once said, "Man has that kid got your number."

Also, I can't remember who asked a while back but when my dad comes to visit he compulsively cleans and does dishes. It's a new trait and it's a little weird, but really nice. My mom was extremely helpful back when we lived in another state and she would come to visit, especially after our son was born, but now that's she's nearby and comes over all the time she doesn't take it upon herself and I think that's good.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 4:56 PM

I am female and didn't play with guns until I joined the Army :-)
Seriously, my sister and I were both tomboys. We played baseball day in and day out in the summer. We were also members of the gun club (target shooting only) and she actually became a hunter.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 4:59 PM

"And no one up high cares that women associates drop out of law firms at a much higher rate than male associates"

I disagree - the firm I summered at aggressively promotes its female-friendly policies, and I've heard of many others. Follow through is not uniformly good, but partners are noticing that they are losing skilled associates because of their lack of flexibility.

And sure, of course planning the next fifty years is premature in some ways - but there's nothing wrong with thinking about what your hopes are and talking about it with others. Some people actually enjoy it, even though they know that everything may and probably will change. Mona's just asking about ideas and experiences, I don't think she thinks everything is just going to fall into place because she said so.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 5:00 PM

"swords just seem much less violent to me though I am very aware that they are almost as deadly."

I wonder if this has to do with the fact that you have to work at wielding a sword whereas, with a gun, you just point and shoot.

If you have to put some effort into something, it seems less blandly evil. And, of course, there is an art to swordplay, so there's an element of doing it well and being admired.

Again, with the gun, you just go "bang!" BORING.

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 5:01 PM

Single Mom in MD,

Wow. that's really awful. And, in a way, more deadly than mommy profiling.

Glad the guy lost his job.

Posted by: pittypat | February 26, 2007 5:04 PM

Boys used to be able to wrap their mothers and sisters around their fingers by feigning ignorance of household chores. Most mothers and sisters now will show them how to do something once then they are on their own. They will make better roomates and husbands if they are more independent and helpful.
PS - same goes for girls.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:05 PM

Swords vs guns. I think it was a knife and not a sword, but the Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman murders were pretty violent.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 5:05 PM

I interviewed for a senior executive position with an organization representing the nation's business community. Not only was I asked if I had kids, but when I left the "information folder" they gave me included only a sheet with the phone number to their backup day care agency.
I didn't get the job.

Posted by: MommyApplicant | February 26, 2007 5:06 PM

Partly true Pitty, Having been a boy, having had many friends -boys, having brothers, and now a son, I disagree somewaht. The gun or sword or whatever is just a device to slay the bad guys. You can deliver the best speech about guns you want and probably they will look at you and say what am I supposed to shoot the bad guy with then? That is the mentality of young boys.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 5:06 PM

Lurker75, yeah you definitely don't have me pegged. Nope, I don't have children. I'm also not retired, but do you think I don't have a retirement fund? Smart people PLAN. NOT planning is what got me into the personal/professional/financial mess I'm in now. Planning for the future is important, even if some of my plans fall through. I don't have children. But I will. What's wrong with talking about it before it happens instead of waiting till the last minute?

And no, the BF is not a lawyer. But there was a time when he wanted to go into patent lawyer, and he, being the anal-retentive type planner that he is (oh, if you think I'm bad...), he covered all the bases before I even considered law school. You'll notice that while he told me I'd be a commodity in my field, I maintained a healthy level of skepticism. How can you call me naive when I'm coming here to ask questions, instead of pretending I've got it all figured out? If you've lurked for so long, then you'd know that I AM childfree and here to learn about balance--something I don't have much of now. And yes, I DO know what it is to work fifty hours a week. I did it while in college full-time. I'm doing it now (okay, I take frequent blog breaks, but you know what I mean). And I'm sure 50h/week is a drop in the bucket for most law firms. But as it has been pointed out so often and eloquently, why have kids if you can't raise them?

I'm not a boy scout, but I do believe in being prepared. I want surprises kept at a minimum when I become a parent, and I don't want to be caught totally off-guard. I don't think there's anything wrong with me coming to a balance blog to learn about balance, even if I don't have children. You should know that I'm not alone here, either.

You should also know, if you've been paying attention, that I'm not in law school. But I will be, and I find a lot of people on this board helpful, honest and refreshing, rather than critical. I appreciate them, but I resent your implication that I should just not think about the future until it gets here.

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 5:10 PM

Patent law, not patent lawyer. My annoyance got the best of me. You'll all find it interesting to know that, while we all commit typos when we type too fast, I had to go back and correct my moniker--I had originally typed "Moan."

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 5:13 PM

Laura/Mona, Kudos on your civil response to targetted snarkery.

I, on the other hand, was trying to find my sword on your behalf and thinking a gun would be more efficient.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 5:14 PM

Mona's moan is almost as good as (I forget who) saying that someone elses's husband is her boyfriend!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:15 PM

"I, on the other hand, was trying to find my sword on your behalf and thinking a gun would be more efficient."

hee hee, that was funny...

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 5:16 PM

But NC lawyer, the pen (in this case the keyboard) is mightier that the sword.

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:17 PM

KLB SS MD, that one was me too. ::sigh:: I can only be funny when I'm not trying to. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | February 26, 2007 5:18 PM

Mona,
You are going to get a bad rep here. Keep it up - who wants to always be the good girl. Are you life of the party when you go out?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:20 PM

"I, on the other hand, was trying to find my sword on your behalf and thinking a gun would be more efficient."

hee hee, that was funny...

It was?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 5:22 PM

I'm all about planing just don't get too caught up in it. I had my oldest during law school (it was a great choice) but my second was a surprise (yes BC does fail)that derailed my career temporarily because he had major health issues.

Also, you can always choose to work for the government (my husband)or a non-profit (myself) instead of a law firm with a law degree. Neither of us works more than 40 hours a week and I don't have to wear a suit to work.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 26, 2007 5:22 PM

anon at 5:22, maybe you had to have a sense of humor to get it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 5:23 PM

"I, on the other hand, was trying to find my sword on your behalf and thinking a gun would be more efficient."

hee hee, that was funny...

It was?"


Yes, but you must have a sense of humor first.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 26, 2007 5:24 PM

THE HIGH COST OF FUNERALS

Joe died. His will provided $30,000 for an elaborate funeral. As the
last
guests departed the affair, his wife, Helen, turned to her oldest
friend.

"Well, I'm sure Joe would be pleased," she said.

"I'm sure you're right," replied Jody, who lowered her voice and leaned
in close.

"How much did this really cost?"

"All of it," said Helen. "Thirty thousand."

"No!" Jody exclaimed. "I mean, it was very nice, but $30,000?"

Helen answered, "The funeral was $6,500. I donated $500 to the church.
The
wake, food and drinks were another $500. The rest went for the memorial
stone."

Jody computed quickly. "$22,500 for a memorial stone? My God, how big
is
it?!"

"Two and a half carats." Helen replied.


Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:28 PM

whew, glad to see I wasn't the only one getting a giggle...

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 5:29 PM

KLB - nice one, LOL.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 5:32 PM

Have you heard of the stones (I think they call them diamonds) that you can have made from the ashes of a loved one? If every woman had a stone made from her husband she would have to get married twice - one for each ear.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:34 PM

okay, KLB, now that's creepy.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 5:36 PM

Man, KLB, you are on a roll today...thank god somebody is out there to keep me entertained after 5 ET!

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 5:38 PM

I agree but it is true. I saw an ad for it on tv - thought it was a joke so looked it up. Expensive. Supposedly some folks do it with a pet.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:39 PM

Megan,
Glad to be of service.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:41 PM


Ick. Here's a link to a company that does what you described.

http://www.lifegem.com/

the story of the little girl (all 4 pages of it) gave me the willies.

If I lose my engagement ring, I call my insurance guy, file a claim and we replace it. If this mom loses her "daughter's" diamond, the guilt's got to be overwhelming.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 5:45 PM

NC lawyer,
Never thought about the guilt - that would be tough to live with.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:47 PM

I wonder if Lloyd's insures against emotional trauma...

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 5:51 PM

KLB SS MD wrote: "Never thought about the guilt..."

I believe it was the late, great Erma Bombeck who characterized guilt as "the gift that keeps on giving"!

Posted by: catlady | February 26, 2007 5:54 PM

Guilt is highly over rated.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 5:59 PM

Hey, is anyone else getting a banner ad at the top of the screen from JC Penny's saying today is the day to take your inner child out to play? Since when is going out to play equivalent with shopping? AUGH! Talk about loss of balance...

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 6:00 PM

Shopping only makes you off balance if you don't have a bag in each hand.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 6:02 PM

Thank you, Patrick. Good to know you CAN take it.

And Fo4, you are cruel to toy with me!

This blog would not be the same without you guys, as much as you annoy me sometimes. Keep it coming.

Posted by: Leslie | February 26, 2007 6:04 PM

LOL, KLB. Kind of like those super big stylish handbags - better just get two!

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 6:09 PM

NC lawyer,
I had forgotten how pretty the stones actually are. Still don't think I could do it tho.
Megan,
I was really kidding as I hate to shop. Internet for me all the way.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 6:11 PM

I'd rather have a kitchen remodel than the equivalent $$ in jewelry. Call me a practical girl with a really, really dated kitchen. Is there a company that will take a loved one's ashes and make a set of stainless steel appliances? I would be willing to try to get over the ick factor.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 6:21 PM

LOL, NC Lawyer, I love it. I think that's called life insurance.

KLB, I'm with ya on the shopping. Although I have begun to enjoy it when I get a really good find at a consignment store. I'm turning into my dad, apparently...

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 6:24 PM

Gee, I wanted to only talk about laundry today!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 6:24 PM

"Thank you, Patrick. Good to know you CAN take it.

And Fo4, you are cruel to toy with me!

This blog would not be the same without you guys, as much as you annoy me sometimes. Keep it coming." (signed) Leslie

Sniff, sniff, gee everyone gets personal notes from Leslie but me...


Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 6:27 PM

"I, on the other hand, was trying to find my sword on your behalf and thinking a gun would be more efficient.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 26, 2007 05:14 PM"

Obviously, NC Lawyer watches Indy Jones movies!

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 6:29 PM

Don't worry Fred, I'm pretty sure the denizens of the various blog caves are very fond of you. I mean, I have NO IDEA where patrick's forbears went to school or what happened to their diplomas, you know what I'm sayin? I'm not sure I even know that about Fo4, though of course I'm very fond of him too.

Posted by: Megan | February 26, 2007 6:44 PM

Fred,
We have already done laundry - I want to do bathrooms (is there a worse job in the house than cleaning toilets?)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 26, 2007 6:50 PM

OK, we can talk about bathrooms tomorrow.

Posted by: Fred | February 26, 2007 7:57 PM

Hate to say it, but this kind of stuff (and many of the examples given in the comments) plays right into the hands of Linda Hirshman's anti-stay at home mom stuff.

One of her arguments is that when highly educated professional working women opt out of the workplace to become stay at home parents, it (a) hurts society because we're losing a valuable resource in the working world (b) does not make economic sense for the woman (why spend time and money on a degree) and (c) makes it more difficult to achieve employment and pay equity for other women.

Now, I personally think that if you can afford it and it's your desire to be a stay at home parent, more power to you! I just may join you one day :). But I get this nagging thing in the back of my head, I'm worried (and now with these comments I can see proof) that women doing this are only making it harder for me, a young female professional, to advance. Employers might see me as a woman in her mid-twenties who (statistically) is likely to get married and have children in the next 5 years, and their experience with other women in my age group has taught them that I'm not as good as an investment as the young, single male.

This sucks.

Posted by: Cate | February 26, 2007 8:49 PM

hellloooooo out there....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 12:24 AM

"She knows the value of necessity of guns"

What is that?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 2:53 PM

"In evidence I'd offer that there are many more MILs from hell (over sons) than there are FILs (over daughters)."

Thoughts??

My thoughts are that this is poorly written (as usual) and I don't get the gist of your point.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 3:02 PM

This is only my second post on this blog although I have been a longtime reader.

I have been surprised, considering the diversity of the DC-metro region, how the posts and blog commentary follow-up are so focused on straight women of a certain age range. There are two absolutely fantastic groups of employees overlooked: gay people and senior citizens. They have far fewer "personal issues" requiring them to miss so much work time, and they are less likely to blab about their kids/spouses/etc. while on work time. I have noticed that many mothers in the workplace spend significant time talking about their family issues. Someone early in the queue abo ve pointed out they should keep their "reasons" to themselves if they need to ask for flextime or other accommodations. Whether it is for an ill parent, spouse, or kid, or even your own personal gambling addiction (gotta get to OTB in time to put two large on the Terps...) strive to keep it to yourself. You might find yourself in a much more positive and professional work environment if everyone kept their private lives to themselves.

Posted by: Childless Masha | March 5, 2007 12:11 AM

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