As it turns out, it’s really difficult to tackle two full-time jobs at once, under the same roof, without help, for months on end. Shocking, I know. But that’s what working parents have been asked to do during this pandemic. Not surprisingly, many moms are giving up on paid work, ground down by an exhausting, unrelenting, impossible-to-manage, anxiety-inducing situation.
To stave off a mass exodus of parent employees, tech companies such as Facebook and Microsoft have offered moms and dads benefits meant to help them balance the load between work and childcare: in particular, paid time off.
Apparently, a backlash is brewing, according to The New York Times. At a videoconference on August 20, more than 2,000 Facebook employees voted to ask Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg what Facebook could do to support nonparents, since its other policies had benefited parents. One employee said it was “unfair” that nonparents could not take advantage of the same leave policy afforded parents. And non-parent employees at other tech companies said they felt like they were shouldering a bigger workload to pick up the slack for their colleagues with kids.
We’ll say it a little louder for those in the back: Parenting is not a break. Paid leave is not a vacation. Most working moms have no interest in being stay-at-home parents, and we are as unhappy with this outcome as you are. But daycares are shuttering across the country, most schools are virtual, the cost of childcare is climbing and we have been tasked with teaching our children from home as if we don’t have demanding, full-time careers we’ve also painstakingly nurtured over the years. Help is not on the horizon from the federal government. Never has the maxim been more true that women are expected to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work.
Thankfully, plenty of people get it. They took to Twitter to point out exactly why these embittered employees need a dose of perspective and should aim their ire in a different direction. Namely, at their employers. (We’d also suggest a federal government that’s offered an anemic response to a national crisis.)
Here are some of our favorite responses:
He gets it.
They’d last a day.
Pass it on.