Chris Fields -Intro
I’m no woman, but I am close to a lot of women. Now the women in my life don’t listen to me, but I listen to them and they would LOVE to be at home with their kids yet they can’t. They are lucky to have jobs which will allows them to take time off to go to school functions. While watching the Today Show – maybe I should stop doing that – Randi Zuckerberg, Mark’s sister, was promoting a book. Then she said she was so happy to quit her job at Facebook and focus on family and all women should take time to focus on family, yada, yada, yada, and blah, blah, blah. I was annoyed. If only we all had a billionaire brother who would hire and pay us millions. But quitting your job? See rich women can do that – they never have to worry about money.
I took to Facebook to express my feelings on this mess. I wanted to hear from my female friends – was I being sexist? Was I being shortsighted? Was I missing something or are these women really annoying? I was surprised at the responses, thus the inspiration for this PIC POV. Here are Lexie’s and Janine’s thoughts on “Work-Life Balance Perspectives from REAL Working Women”
I’ve been told I am getting feistier and that’s entirely true. You want to know why? Because I am so sick and tired of REALLY incredibly rich women telling me how to prioritize my life. And now that I’ve entered the workforce, I am increasingly more exposed to this type of “work-life” balance discussions from these women. Now, my frustrations are immeasurable, so I can only imagine the frustration women with children must feel. I get it, we want to “have it all,” whatever that even means… but have we ever stopped to think you’re version of having it all might not be mine.
The Sandbergs, Zuckerbergs, all those types come from a situation of INSANE privilege. You don’t have to worry about debt, you don’t have to worry about the fact that your child’s college tuition will be way over 100K by the time they’re ready. Need a few nannies, no problem? Stop telling me it’s easy, because it’s not. I’m a woman – things are evening out but I still have to work twice as hard. Oh, and guess what else, I’m a minority, so I have to bust my ass to make sure I am not defined by the statistics of having a ‘Z’ as the last letter of my last name.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I appreciate that you want to be a good mother to your children, we ALL want that. I appreciate you want to be the BEST at what you do – I very highly doubt we sit around thinking, “when I grow up I want to be mediocre.” But unlike you, we don’t have the option of focusing on one thing at a time. I can’t say, “Today all I am worried about is work. Today all I am worried about is my family.” No. Not now, and unless I win the lotto (which I won’t, because I don’t play), not ever. For once, I’d like to hear something out of your mouths that is realistic -for you know, REAL women. Solidarity doesn’t come from hearing about your success. Solidarity comes from helping each other through the day-to-day struggles.
I consider myself to be fortunate in many regards. I am educated, I have had far and few barriers placed in front of me unlike other women. I have been more or less fortunate enough to achieve the things most of us aspire to have like a house, the family, a few material possessions etc. Notice, I use words like “far and few” and “more or less” because my life and success has not been without any barriers or hurdles at all-just some lumps and bumps along the way.
I am so utterly tired of all of the “lean-in” talk and having grossly rich women make blanket statements which make it seem as if there is a level play ground for us all. Recently, Randi Zuckerberg mentioned on the Today Show that women should take time off to be with their family. Well, guess what? Many of us “working” kinds would love to do that and also volunteer as peace keepers in Haiti. However, we are so bogged down with trying to survive that you will just have to forgive us as we call BS.
It sounds nice to take that time off to be with your family. However, when you are a single mother with kids or a working family barely surviving on one income because one part has been laid off- you do not have that option. In fact, most people are so up and over their ears in expenses that they are living paycheck to paycheck.
I beg women that are fortunate enough to reach the heights of the Sandbergs, Zuckerbergs and Mayers to do the following:
1) Take a trip to impoverished neighborhoods (the hood) or even middle-class (burbs) and just listen to women as they speak about their day-to-day routines.
2) Recognize for once and for all, that money makes a difference along with things like adequate education, proper nutrition and opportunities – which by the way are scarce resources among minority groups.
3) Remember: things like nannies, housekeepers, and sabbaticals to be with one’s family are not realistic-it’s a damn joke- so don’t go there. Your struggles are not the average working woman’s struggles.
4) It’s not merely about being rich. It’s about having the sensibility and humility enough to know that you are well off and respecting that there are other realities in the world other than your own.
I’ll start paying attention and stop ranting when you leave your ivory tower and start giving some real advice about how we can level the playing field so all women prosper and thrive in this country.