Friday, October 13, 2006

Working Mummy

My 'Working Mother' magazine came in the mail this week. I'm somewhat puzzled by its appearance as I didn't subscribe to it. I've read it before so a free magazine is fine with me.

The headlines on the cover were all about 'The 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers'. A quick rundown of that list showed Booz Allen Hamilton, Abbott, Avon, Citigroup and Dupont among many others. Obviously my company was not listed. I didn't even have to look at the list to know that, but two things did strike me as I went through the magazine. I found myself getting a little annoyed at first then frustrated.

First, there was a letter to the Editor by a reader who made a very good point. She was upset that the only women featured in these articles happen to be VP's or Executives. I quickly flipped through the magazine and found this to be true. She was right! This made me really annoyed. Why is it whenever I read articles like this about how great life is on this side of the fence it's about a working Mom who does indeed choose to work, makes a good amount of money, and yes, has extra help. A housekeeper 3x a week? Yeah, that would make our life easier too! A nanny? Hell yeah! I could have her take T.D. to her doctor appts in the middle of the day instead of me leaving work early and then spending the rest of my week making up time and working late. Someone who does my laundry, shopping, takes care of my kid no matter the hour and in my own home. I would feel guilty but probably a whole lot less tired and more toned after getting in gym time. One Exec even said she gets four mile runs in early in the morning before she is off to work. BECAUSE SHE HAS HELP!

I'm not saying I don't have help. T.D. spends a good portion of her day/life in daycare right now. They open at 6 a.m. and there she is waiting at the door. I pick her up about 10-12 hours later! That's a lot of time in daycare. H does his fair share of housework, errands and childcare too and without him I don't know what I would be doing. Working from home a lot more probably.

Second, after mulling over that bit I started to think about the 100 Best Companies and how I knew people who worked at some of them. Only one company actually lived up to its claims. I've since read a comments on websites from women who do work at these 100 Best and who have children. They say the same thing that I was thinking. It's all well and good to see this stuff in writing and show it to the public but when it comes to actually applying these ideas like Flex-Plus schedules, telecommuting, breast-feeding rooms,and daycare assistance to name a few, many of these companies fail their employees. Anyone remember the laptop incident of 2005 and now 2006? It took 6 months for me to get that thing, then another 3 to get IT to figure out why it wasn't working. That laptop was given to me for emergencies only I was told in the beginning. I could work from home and not lose PTO if T.D. got sick. How nice. In theory. Now that I have it that pesky on-call 24/7 rule has been issued and I am at their mercy all the time. THAT DOES NOT MAKE MY LIFE EASIER. That isn't what flex time is either. I was told it's the law to have a breast-feeding room at any work facility. When I tried to find one and spoke to the company about it I was given a room full of windows as my option. Hello! I'm not into exposing my breast to my fellow co-workers or anyone else for that matter. That's not in my job description.

I think in terms of working mothers we have come a long way. It's been a hard road to pave, but ultimately it still needs a lot of planning and work. When employees are continuously denied these options (like many of the women who commented on the websites) it causes frustration and a little bitterness. I know I feel that all the time. Companies need to live up to their titles and managers need to guide their employees and help them in these situations not make their lives more difficult.

Anyone else want to comment about this or had these issues? Even if you don't have kids but your company offers some great benefit that you've been denied- step forward and share.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe they offered you a room full of windows. I bet if you used it a couple times there would be so much buzz from idiots who are uncomfortable with the whole "boob as food instead of sexy body part" thing that they'd give you a better room. Not that you should if you don't want to. Just saying that some people are still SO juvenile about breastfeeding. Good luck :)

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