Work/Life Balance is just another way to perpetuate the mommy stereotype

Recently I received a quarterly magazine from a women’s organization that says they promote equality for women. The cover says, “A difficult balance – managing work and family.” I’m debating whether I should just throw this publication in the garbage.

Well, OK. I have a family – I live with a husband. 22 years ago I lived with a man that the government called my father. But he died 10 years ago. I was spewed out of a woman’s vagina almost 40 years ago. But wait. Is she my family? My mom never met that woman, and I didn’t meet her until I was 25. Somehow, I don’t think the magazine addresses any of those “family” issues.

Inside the magazine cover, I see “Academic Motherhood.” I have a Ph.D. Am I the mom of my dissertation? No, it was about professors who are moms of babies. There’s an article called “Women at Work: Still Waiting for Change.” Maybe I’ll get something out of that article. When I turn to that page, there’s a picture of a woman holding a baby. I also see an article that says, “Three quarters of working women become pregnant…” Well, that means to me that this magazine is irrelevant to a quarter of working women. Including me. (If you want to consider what I do as work.)

There’s something that bothers me about publications that assume every woman wants babies, that tell working mothers they’re such poor things. Why does everyone assume that it’s still the mom’s job to do everything for the kids? Why isn’t anyone asking why the dads aren’t stepping up? Why are we ignoring the dads who do step up? In a Family and Work Life study mentioned in Newsweek on March 26, three out of five men reported some or a lot of stress related to workplace-family life balance.

So why is the media perpetuating the stereotype that it’s women’s job in life to manage babies? Two thousand years ago, when people were making up religion, nations were short on people and making more was a very important task. But now we have too many for the planet to sustain. It’s time we acknowledge that women aren’t required to take on the role of making more humans.

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