Child Care

I spoke to a group of women at Stern a few weeks ago. I keep thinking about the woman who came up and talked to me while I was outside waiting for my Uber. She had very young children and was building a business. She was frustrated and lamented how difficult it was to be a Mom, raise a family, have a relationship with her partner and build a business. I get it.

When we moved to the Westchester suburbs for five years I had just left the Garment industry. Literally I was fired the week before we moved. Timing was perfect. Even my Mother said to me when we moved up there that having two parents commute to work every day is not good. I didn’t really get what she was saying but it didn’t take me long to grasp what she meant.

Three quarters of the men at the top one percent have a spouse at home. The partners might have had the exact same education but somehow one of them ends up as the home caregiver. Of course, not always, but often. Care giving should be shared. Our companies should embrace that. You don’t need to show up at the office for 80 hours a week because you can do the work you can do anywhere.

The woman also said that being a homemaker for the last 8 years is a huge hole in her resume. I disagree. I would love to see more people put on their LinkedIn profiles and resumes that they were homemakers for those years. Raising kids is a full-time job and takes skills. Juggling doctors, playdates, getting food in the fridge, food on the table, driving around, making sure everyone has clothes, that everyone is safe and at the same time keeping your own sense of self is not for everyone. It is hard work, rarely recognized and one of the most important and meaningful jobs ever.

When will be the time that putting CEO of the “Wilson” Home on a resume will be applauded and desired from our companies because they embrace those skill sets and can hardly wait to hire that woman and bring her back to work that she gets paid for?

Comments (Archived):

  1. Manya

    Hi Joanne,Wanted to share how my company’s family values have shaped its benefits:…Proud to work alongside a CEO whose experiences as a new parent have informed his dedication to fair and generous policies. This is how it should be done and hope other companies follow suit.Manya

    1. icopaolo

      Wow, that is an amazing benefits package! Kudos.

  2. LE

    When will be the time that putting CEO of the “Wilson” Home on a resume will be applauded and desired from our companies because they embrace those skill sets and can hardly wait to hire that woman and bring herback to work that she gets paid for?As you know this depends entirely on the job that someone is hiring for. Will note that in what I will call ‘traditional’ small business (as opposed to ‘startups small business’) all that counts is that you find someone that shows up that you think can handle the work at the price you are willing to pay. Typically it’s ‘slim pickings’. So if you are hiring a property manager who has taken time off to raise a family (but has done the job before) it’s a non-issue. That person (man or woman) be a great hire. Or someone to work bindery machines in a printing company (I have done that). Her name was Joyce. Dependable, reliable and productive. Ditto for sales (or at least certain types of sales) and a host of other opportunities. But I think it’s unrealistic to expect companies to hire what they believe to be the less qualified person but with skills (in the household) that do not relate to the job. Of course they are going to take the person with more experience (man or woman). This is actually why I tell people to apply for jobs that are not advertised. Less chance of being compared to someone with the better resume. (And it works but most people don’t want to put the effort into doing that they are lazy oh well).Back to an example for my main point – USV just made Gillian Munson a partner (that for sure ranks ‘higher in the food chain’ than ’employee’ or even ‘vp’, right? Her resume appears complete in every way starting with graduation from college in 1992. I am not seeing anything that shows a gap for a family (and have no clue if she is married or even has children). A gap 10 years ago probably wouldn’t matter. But a gap of 8 years prior ‘now’ would. No way you can say that raising a family for 8 years is going to be a plus (and this is important) for that type of ‘job’. Not in technology, not in investments and not in many types of ‘business’.And for that matter what is the chance of a man who has not even raised a family (he was working) getting a job at USV or any company if he lacks recent and relevant experience. Chance? Zero. Will not happen. People hire based on what they feel (rightly or wrongly) are qualifications for the job. Period. Only exception would be in hard to fill jobs or in small business. In that cases many opportunities to learn if you are just smart, motivated, reliable and have the right attitude. But in corporate American or even well funded startups? Most likely not going to happen.

  3. LE

    Three quarters of the men at the top one percent have a spouse at home. The partners might have had the exact same education but somehow one of them ends up as the home caregiver.As I have said before you are assuming that those women are not happy with the situation and maybe just love living that way. Or perhaps the men or the woman made it clear right at the start what the lifestyle or job commitments were and both were compatible. In other words the woman had no desire for a career (or would be happy not having one; that does happen; also happens with men) and was willing to relinquish all of the work responsibilities to the man. Motivations are different as well. You are extremely driven. You are a-typical (for a man or a woman). Most people are not you. (Most people are not me either so I know it when I see it). You also, I would imagine, tend to be around women who are not representative of the average woman just like Fred probably does not spend much time or socialize around what would be the average man.Side story I had a woman show up a few weeks ago to rent a shared medical suite which I own. She had a Phd and was a therapist. So she says she wants to bring her husband by to see the suite. Husband shows up in a shitty car (she drove a BMW, brand new) and looks quite frankly like a nobody. Couldn’t even make eye contact. Vastly different than the woman, sharp and professional. Later I find out that he is ‘an operator at the gas company’. (Whatever that is). In further talking she says that he thinks he has lucked out in marrying her. She thinks she has lucked out in marrying him. (Because he can do renovations on the house and other things and she likes being in charge). Seems to me (from what she said) it’s a happy arrangement.

  4. Erin Bagwell

    Love this so much! Esp the section about using your motherhood experience on your resume. Thanks for changing the narrative about stay at home moms and helping empower women to see all their strengths, Joanne!

  5. jim

    Not to mention the cost which I find outrageous, bordering on scandalous. I am a first time parent of a daughter under one and child care centers here in Flyover Country, USA range from $1300-$2k+++ per month and most don’t even have slots available for 6-12 months out. Double that $$ to account for the basic cost of monthly shelter and no wonder we have suburbs increasingly full of people living at poverty levels — we’re going to end up with a generation of children on WIC, if, of course, they don’t die first of measles thanks to these asshole parents who heard some guy on the internet say that vaccinations will make your kids not believe in god and/or capitalism and therefore we should feed our kids high fructose corn syrup (it’s vegan after all!) rather than vaccinations. I get that nobody is forced to have children, you should think about the cost beforehand, ayn rand ayn rand etc etc, but my god: My company doesn’t offer paternity or maternity leave, so I had to use all of my PTO for the year to be able to spend time with my newborn, and they don’t show a hint of awareness with respect to day care. It’s their prerogative, of course, but astonishingly short-sided, not to mention utterly obnoxious.Thanks for the space to rant. Being a parent is stressful, apparently.

    1. Gotham Gal

      your rant is spot on.