I have not blogged for ages, simply have not felt that I had anything to say that others might find interesting but here’s something that happened recently.
We were at a dinner party with a newly married couple in their senior years. It was the husband’s first marriage and the wife’s third. He is a professional person nearing retirement age. I listened with shock to him complain about how disruptive it was to his office that his only employee who had children was forced to take three days off work when her child was hospitalised for surgery. Apparently it is a rule that children under five years of age have a parent with them all the time they are in the hospital. I don’t know if that is a general rule or it just applies to that hospital but he felt that this was completely unreasonable because “what are the nurses there for?”
I was gobsmacked that someone could be so out of touch with reality and parental responsibilities and I think I probably gave him a bit of a hard time. It just made me so angry to hear such self-centred shite in 2014.
I worked for most of my children’s growing years and know only too well the guilt I felt whenever I had to take time off work to attend to their medical or educational needs. Of course OH never had that problem because his job was far too important for him to sacrifice the time to attend his children’s year-end nursery school concerts and take them to emergency doctor’s appointments when they were sick, or take the day off when the nanny did not pitch-up for work in the morning. All these problems traditionally fall on the mothers whose careers, I believe are severely compromised by carrying this extra burden. At that time bosses viewed working mothers as unreliable and generally would not promote them to more responsible positions. Often woman bosses were the most judgemental.
I think it’s time to level the playing field as far as parental responsibilities go, fathers should shoulder their fair share of child care when problems or illness arises. Companies should realise that children have two parents (if they are fortunate) and that both mothers and fathers should play an equal role in parenting. That way, when it comes to promotion maybe women won’t be at such a disadvantage. Things may well have improved since my children were small but I remember even before they were born being asked at interviews when I intended to start a family. I’m not sure if it is politically correct to ask that question in a job interview today. I felt quite intimidated by it and really wanted to respond “none of your bloody business”.
Please someone tell me that the workplace is a friendlier place for working mothers today and that the comment I heard is not representative of business in general.