A reader of this blog, who’s a mom to a 2 year-old boy, a Professor in Geography and Women’s Studies, and makes killer cranberry muffins, sent me this article in response to my earlier post about women opting out of the workforce.

The article paints a more true and complicated picture of women’s choices in “opting out.” Read it for yourself and see what you think. One of my favorite quotes from the article’s summary is this one:

“Inflexible, all-or-nothing workplaces drive women out of breadwinner roles and men out of caregiver roles. The result is many fathers working longer hours than they would like and many mothers working fewer hours than they would like.”

Tired after a long event.

What’s frustrating is not the lack of ideas for viable solutions; there are plenty. Many great policies exist in other countries and in the U.S. that support work-family balance. But it takes political will to make this kind of change happen on a large scale. And that’s an area where the United States, sadly, lags.

I’m a State Employee, and I’m grateful that I have a job, a job that helps support our family, a job that allows Hugh to attend an excellent pre-school, a job that makes my days interesting and challenging and colleagues who recognize the importance of work-life balance. But would I like more flexibility? You bet. Could I be as effective if I my schedule weren’t limited to 8:30-5? Sure.

I’d love the option to pick up Hugh after school instead of sending him to after care or to have a day at home with him once a week. But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. And in the meantime, I know that I’m fortunate to have vacation days, sick leave and some flex time when I need it. That’s something a lot of folks with a lot less flexibility don’t have and could desperately use.

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