One of the hazards of framing debates about work-life balance around working moms is that no one but working moms — whether vaunted as feminist superwomen or victimized for their lack of a breadwinner partner — feels entitled to it. It's creating what Marie Claire calls "the newest form of workplace discrimination": a second class of childless women carrying "an undue burden at the office, batting cleanup for their married-with-kids coworkers."
Chalk it up to our national singlism ( à la tax breaks for married couples), Ayana Byrd reports that 61 percent of childless women ages 33 to 47 believe parents get more flexibility at work. The women quoted, and their managers, seem to believe children are the only extra-professional pursuit moral enough to justify working a flexible 40-hour week. Parents lay claim to dinner time (children need structure), weekends (the soccer games), and Christmas (Santa’s for kids) — and adjust their schedules accordingly — while younger or childless women are assumed to be available at all times.
Giving those privileges to moms and not, say, those who signed up for a really expensive, non-refundable spin class, is illegal, and Marie Claire urges you to stand up for yourself, either to your manager (with the help of your more senior, childless female mentor, of course) or H.R. But even the brave Marie Claire sources willing to say, in print, they’d like to work slightly less, will only admit to wanting more free time for self-improvement projects such as going to the gym, spending time with their families, or taking a "religious studies class." It is still totally taboo, it seems, for workers to want to leave the office because they need to know what happens at the end of Gone Girl, or they'd like to have a drink outside while it’s still light out.
Or is it just taboo for female workers? The article doesn’t ask whether single men similarly sacrifice their free time for office moms and dads. But it does hint that women impose it upon themselves by leaning in so hard. Take it from Liz Ryan, a Fortune 500 H.R. executive: "No one respects the people who are slaves to the job," she told Marie Claire. "They’re often setting themselves up for more work and fewer accolades. Build the muscle to say no. Men realize that it’s not about getting a gold star; women are raised to think that saying yes makes you a good girl." And unless you’re getting overtime and double-time on Sundays, it also makes you a sucker.
Most Viewed Stories
I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her
Blake Lively Reportedly Just Gave Birth, and You’ll Never Guess Who’s Running to the Hospital
Brad Pitt Fights Back Against Angelina Jolie and Her Plot to ‘Destroy’ Him
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump
Angelina Jolie Got Everything She Wanted in Temporary Divorce Deal With Brad Pitt
The Best Part of Being a Royal Is Getting to Pet Bunnies
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His ‘Abuse’ of Women on Live TV
Megyn Kelly Roasts Trump’s Campaign Manager for Claiming He Doesn’t Make Sexist Comments
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesThe Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.