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Local lifestyle columnists

I’ll fight for equality for all moms

By From page A2 | May 22, 2014

A friend of mine retired last year from her job of 20 years to become a stay-at-home at the ripe old age of 45. Not so many of us are that lucky, but she’s living the dream now. Young, all the time in the world and kids who still appreciate her being around.

She spends her days volunteering at the school and boy, does she volunteer. She makes me look lazy. That school is lucky to have her.

My friend, however, is in the minority. According to the Pew Research Center, 29 percent of women were stay-at-home moms in 2012. I haven’t decided yet if that number is high. All I know is that the 71 percent of us who go to work every day feel like we are in the minority.

I have never attended a PTA meeting at my daughter’s school. My dad’s retirement celebration happened at 3:30 p.m. My daughter’s softball practice is at 4:30 p.m. My youngest daughter has been asking me for two years to sign her up for dance class, but I can’t. The class is consistently offered at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Teachers and school administrators are always asking for parent volunteers for events, committees and classrooms. But all their coordination meetings are right after school. At least they are at our school. Another friend of mine, who has bent over backward to volunteer at the school, voiced her opinion about the inconvenient parent/teacher meetings.

The response she got?

“Well, a lot of our teachers live out of town and it’s easier for them to meet after school.” I can only speak about our school, but it doesn’t seem that schools are accommodating working families.

Let’s not forget . . . there are 71 percent of us working moms who would still help out if we were chronologically capable of doing so.

I got very lucky that the group of moms who came into my Girl Scout troop were all working when we became a troop. We meet in the evenings, after sports practices and even dinner are done for the night. Most troops meet right after school. My mom reminded me that when I was in Girl Scouts, back in the day, our troop met right after school in Cleo Gordon Elementary School’s gym.

So, even though there are 71 percent of us working moms out there, it will never feel like it. There will always be practices at times that force us to rush home, grab our kidsĀ and practically throw them out of the car while stuffing a PB&J sandwich in their hand for dinner. The best classes for our toddlers will take place at times that accommodate those who aren’t in day care.

I will have to read the many colorful fliers that are sent home with my daughter to know what’s going on with the PTA. If I want to suggest a fundraiser or offer to help out with an event, I will send a faceless email to someone I have never met and hope they get back to me and accept my offer.

Times are changing. It’s great that so many women are able to stay home with their kids. I did it for a while. It’s not for me. I don’t, however, want to feel like I am being punished for choosing to work. The word equality is thrown around a lot lately and this is a great time to use it.

Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at [email protected].


Discussion | 4 comments

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  • the minorityMay 22, 2014 - 7:01 am

    Find a new place for your toddler to go to dance, adjust your work hours for the PTA meetings, or if these things are that big of a deal to you then quit your job. Don't be so self centered to expect the world to change for you because you want to work. Are you doing the best thing for your family by working or just for your company and yourself? I doubt I will ever hear a child say "mommy I'm glad you're going to work today".

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  • Adam HenryMay 22, 2014 - 8:10 am

    I'm right there with you Angela and I don't even have children. I get so sick and tired of hearing women claim they're a "full-time mom" and they don't work. I'm sorry, but you're a stay at home mother. Being a parent is a full-time job for the rest of your life. Growing up, both of my parents worked full-time AND were full-time parents. They had to work to provide for us and we understood that. To "the minority" what about fathers out there? Why should they work while the women stay home? Couldn't the man stay at home while the woman works? You are stuck in the wrong decade. Not too many families nowadays can afford to have a parent stay at home and for those that can, the burden of staying healthy and able to work is huge.

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  • MomMay 22, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Complain, complain, complain. So to solve the inequality issues how about we cancel all activities like dance, story time, any meeting that has to do with children and wait until all working parents are home? Lets make the teachers who teach/babysit your children all day come back to school in the evening to accommodate your schedule. Forget their families, they can run home, shove a PB&J in their children's hands and race back to school. Every choice we make has a consequence; if you choose to stay home, you sacrifice the camaraderie and stimulation of being surrounded by other adults at work. If you choose to work, you will sacrifice the 10:00am dance class, the volunteering at your child's school. That's life.

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  • April MassettMay 23, 2014 - 9:48 am

    I'm sure the decision to work outside the home or stay home is a difficult one for all involved! Finances, schedules, the needs of your kids or spouse, plus your own personal preferences all play a part in deciding what you will do. I get what you're saying though... That you wish you didn't have to give up all of the good of one to have the other. I do have some ideas, however! I think there are others like you who need to work during the day, yet want to be involved. What if you found a parent/PTA meeting member that went to the daytime meeting that wouldn't mind meeting with you working parents as a group in the evening and fill you in on the happenings and get your input? You all could meet at someone's home, have coffee and dessert and get crackin' on school news! (I do believe you've inspired me to suggest this at our school). As for lessons, camps and classes, some of us stay at home friends would be happy to take your kiddos to their events. I know that wouldn't solve the issue of you not bring there. But we have camera phones, video phones and face time! Be creative and ask for help from those of us who are able to stay at home. We'd love to spread the blessing! Thanks for the article!

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