On Ramps

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post last week about maternity leave.  It seems that some companies (huzzah, PricewaterhouseCoopers!) have finally realized that childcare is not eternal and that many women are now choosing to stay home with their kids for a short time and then return to work when then child is done nursing / out of diapers / playing well with others / off to college. 

Miriam Peskowitz, who I met at a book party shortly over at Elizabeth’s house a couple years ago, calls this stepping on and off the carousel of work.  That is, instead of defining ourselves as working mothers (WOHM) or stay-at-home mothers (SAHM), we could all simply realize that we’re each a point on a continuum of mothers who spend more or less time working outside the home or with our children at any given time.  As I recall, she defines it more eloquently than I in her book The Truth Behind The Mommy Wars, but this is the basic idea.  We aren’t one or the other anymore (unless you’re the mom who gave birth in the office and was back the next day — and bravo to you — but I don’t buy it), and the Mommy Wars are a fabrication of the media trying to stir things up.  Kind of like today’s Cocktail Playdate.

Anywho, this article was really cool.  Go read it.  Think about it.  And think, “Why not?”  One day, all companies will have this kind of foresight.  The kind of foresight that enables some very productive office years, and some years full of days like this:

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5 Responses to On Ramps

  1. bianca bean says:

    Yes, major kudos to PWC for having the foresight to retain talented women in this manner. It is simply good business sense. The irony of my current situation is that I left corporate a few years ago to work for a major parent/child advocacy non-profit org, expecting them to be even more accommodating of teleworking and “boomerang”-ing. Not so, not one bit, although my job as an e-learning designer was done virtually. The old school non-profit wanted to see me in that office every day, and only offered a temporary part-time arrangement after Bean was born, despite the fact that my team was remote and made up of volunteers across the country. Makes me seriously consider a return to consulting in the future. So much for social service as a full-time occupation. Now I’m the one in need of social services, ha!

    Love the photo.

  2. Mrs. Chicken says:

    When I had The Poo, my female boss and I agreed that I would telecommute two days a week. She suddenly got a new job and when I returned to work after my dad died (I had a month off because my dad was a corporate officer at the company I worked for), my new MALE boss told me I had to be in the office full time or not at all. That didn’t work with the childcare I had arranged.

    So I quit.

    I wish more companies would realize that happy workers are productive workers.

  3. Bon says:

    i really hope to see more arrangements like this made possible. i’m in Canada, so i’ve been blessed with a year of maternity leave thanks to the government, but because i did contract work before i had O, i have no “job” per se to return to. and while i do want to work, for both financial and personal reasons, i don’t particularly want to work full time. but here in the boonies, a secure p/t job that pays reasonably well and has anything resembling benefits is a very unusual animal.

    so i’m considering my options. like Mrs. Chicken, i really do wish more companies would realize that a continuum approach to a person’s work life would allow for investment in talent that really does pay off, in the end.

  4. Tara Utsey says:

    Thank God I found you today. Just as I was searching for why toddlers whine for their mommies, but not their daddies, up pops this thoughtful, good humored, celebratory and down-to-earth public space for mommies. My friends are baby-less and my little Boux (the short-lived name candidate “Boudreaux” lives forever as the nickname), anyway, my little Boux has torn away my previously work-based sense of self that I am painstakingly rebuilding, stronger, smarter, and much happier! I gave so much of myself to my job before the Boux that I left most of myself at the office. May I just say it’s good to be home. And good to find your site.

  5. whymommy says:

    Wow, awesome comments. I’m going to have to shae my own story with you guys one day soon. Mrs. Chicken, are you SURE we’re not the same person? I could have written the same story … except in my case, both bosses were male … and the same person. Argh.

    Tara, welcome to my blog! Come back often — I’m glad to meet you!

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