So yesterday was equal pay day. Know what that means?
Yesterday, April 2nd, marked the day that women would have to work to in order to make the same amount of money as men for the year 2018. So, cheers ladies.
Yeah. Women have to work three months longer than men to achieve the same “annual” pay. And mostly, it’s because of kids. Really. That’s what the experts say.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Women mostly take on that duty. And by that I mean, women are still generally the ones who hit the pause button on careers or education to stay home with kids while they’re young. Like, generally speaking. I’m not saying guys don’t do this.
But mostly it’s the moms, still.
In an era, though, where technology allows us to be connected just about anywhere at any time, this whole “oh, you’re a parent” deduction should ride off into the sunset. Working parents have a greater opportunity to balance life and work now more than ever before.
They can check and answer emails while at football practice. They can polish off a proposal while dialed into the complimentary WiFi at the gym where their daughter trains for gymnastics. They can chaperone a field trip and still proofread something for a colleague.
They can work early, eat at their computer through lunch, and steal back 30 minutes to attend a running meet for their daughter – where they will receive an excited, pre-race hug from her just for making it.
They can do these things. And I know it. Because I’ve done it. I’ve done it for years.
As a reporter, with one little baby at home, I’d schedule phone interviews during nap time, and write and research throughout the rest of the day. When her brother came along, it got more challenging, but I still balanced a freelance career that followed the same model: Interview during naps, write whenever else, even after everyone else has gone to bed. Same blueprint when their tiny sister entered the world.
I’ve taken client calls from the floor of my closet – because it’s roomy, it has a light and a door that closes and keeps “kid noise” out. I knew when my oldest was little that she loved to splash, so if an unexpected call came in, I’d give her a bowl of water to play with on the floor and worry about the mess later.
I’ve participated in a conference call where my whiteboard at home in the background had the word “turd blossom” scribbled across it – a giggly phrase the kids captured from Guardians of the Galaxy. And, I’ve given the “this will be your last moment on Earth” stare while holding up one, very straight pointer finger, to kids who interrupt phone calls with questions about fruit snacks and granola bars.
That’s why I loved – LOVED LOVED LOVED – when I heard a dog bark in the background of an NPR reporter’s story about Trump threatening to close the U.S. border with Mexico. I heard it yesterday morning – as a male reporter wrapped his story for Up First, my morning “coffee.”
And the female anchor thanked him, and his dog, for the report. It was so poetic.
He was home. Working. Filing an important story. On deadline for a national media outlet. And his dog was proud of him, I guess. Because being home, or just not being in an office, doesn’t mean you’re not working. It means you’re balancing.
Most times it means you’re working harder.
And anyone who questions that – especially other women or other parents – just keeps the rest of us working longer.