We all remember the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. He scurried and hurried about mumbling transfixed by his watch. Today’s women mimic this image constantly slipping into one hole or another to manage massive and unreal expectations. If women choose a career, our modern methods of motherhood are questioned. If women work Saturdays, we miss soccer games. If women don’t work, we risk poverty. Women are ascending the corporate ladder at record speed yet unhappiness abounds. Women must have more time or we, as a nation, may rattle the inner stability of American life.
Studies show that as men age their biggest regret is having overworked. As women work over forty hours a week, they are feeling this regret prematurely. The ever growing sector of single moms, now a whopping 24% with double that number for minority women, notoriously work more than one job to make up for the 50-70% missing income that married couples enjoy. The women raising tomorrow’s leaders are overburdened. We all understand the “second shift” so let’s add that to working hours. Women are working an average of 80 hours a week. Yet, not one commercial for women’s heart disease levels mention this as a means to an early death. We, as a nation, must confirm exhaustion due to work as a health crisis to begin healing.
An option that may make the double edged sword life of women easier is decreasing working hours. In Europe work related communication must stop by law after 6 PM daily. As women ascend the corporate ladder they must have time to nurture our next leaders. Implementation of this law in America may seem antithetical to our Protestant work ethic but it has its pros. A decrease in criminal behavior, drug use and depression is evident in children that have stronger support bonds with parents, namely Moms. When Mom is there to cheer their children at sports games, attend music recitals and do homework together, our children and future is stable and bright. Moms need to be home and attentive to children once the normal eight hour shift ends. Let’s keep America’s future bright by focusing on home time not work time.
We could make vast improvements in American life by replicating European mothers rights. The double standard for women still applies in America. Women must miss or leave work to care for sick children, parents, and family members. How many times have you seen or heard of your male co-workers taking unpaid FMLA? A rarity if ever. Women’s unpaid FMLA hours can be the difference between paying the rent or leaving sick family members to fend for themselves. How would the state family welfare services view you if a six year old was at home alone because a Mom couldn’t afford a day off? Again the double edged sword. Paid FMLA is imperative for all of our families to remain stable and healthy. A business with a million dollar profit should be forced to pay 30 days FMLA per year, per employee. The American government should split that cost with under million profit businesses. If we can afford wars across the world, we can stop the war on women workers here.
We must not look to the days of Rosie the Riveter to understand the important role women have in the workplace. Nor must we base our assumptions and needs of motherhood on Ozzie and Harriet. The past has taught us that stability in the home creates stability for the future as tomorrow’s leaders are grown from nurture. Give women the time they need to secure our future.