Friday, June 29, 2012

Atlantic's Anne-Marie Slaughter is right: mothers should talk about kids at work:

I interviewed Slaughter for the Atlantic video that runs with the story. I was 10 minutes late to the shooting because, exactly like Slaughter describes at the start of the story, I’d been called into school by my son’s teacher. (No, the teachers don’t call my husband.) But did I tell anyone that? Of course not. I didn’t even tell Slaughter. I work at a women’s site for God’s sake, and I still only tell the truth about half the time when I have to take off time for a midday recorder performance or a field trip. My husband routinely sends officewide e-mail that say something along the lines of: “Out of pocket in the a.m. Kids doc appt.” I would never do that. A vague mention of “appointment” or “meeting” or something like that but not kid’s doctor!

But that’s one habit I’ve changed after reading Slaughter’s story. I try now to be honest about what I have to do during the day. I try to be honest with female and male colleagues. I’ve also done another thing Slaughter suggests—when I am speaking on a panel, I ask to have listed among my accomplishments "mother of three children." After so many decades of mothers working, maybe it’s time to end the collective American fiction that toddlers take themselves to the doctor or that they get sick only on weekends.