Does new media want moms around the office?
June 14, 2000 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Does new media want moms around the office? Mothers in Silicon Alley talk about the struggles they've had to face with trying to juggle their (male) bosses and their children. Even working from home doesn't cut it in some bosses' eyes.
posted by maura (9 comments total)
i used to work with a small studio comprised entirely of twentysomething men and one woman. the woman (a young single mother of 28) was usually discouraged pretty forcibly from bringing hannah to work...even though hannah is quite mature for a girl of nine. it was one of the factors which helped me decide to it-quay.
posted by patricking at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2000

Taking the devil's advocate position...which I'm sure will get me into trouble...

Working at a studio with a female boss who had just given birth was...interesting, in the Chinese sense. There she was, running around the studio, trying to make decisions and fend off upper management, and all the while her newborn infant is there, screaming away and whatnot.

I really don't think the new-media environment is the best place for a newborn. It was the first time I ever realized how much environment can impact a baby.

I'm personally of the opinion that if you are going to have a child, you probably shouldn't dive right away into returning to work. That's just me. I think that motherhood is far more important than career.

I know I'll probably get blasted for this, but hey, that's the way it goes.
posted by solistrato at 12:14 PM on June 14, 2000

No trouble here...I agree with you sol!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 12:17 PM on June 14, 2000

But not all the mothers in the story 'dove' right back into work -- the woman at the end, in particular, has a child who's in his adolescent years. (Full disclosure: I know a few of the sources of the article.)

I guess this goes along kind of nicely with the discussion in the thread -- at what point does work end, and life begin? It seems like the boundaries are being blurred more and more these days, and the people who are resisting that blurring, whether out of choice or out of necessity, are being punished.
posted by maura at 12:25 PM on June 14, 2000

You know, for the vast majority of positions I figure relate to "New Media" - generalizing into technical (development of web pages, streaming tech, maintaining servers) or artistic (designing web pages, images, writing content) although grey areas and blurry lines are rampant - the parent (because I know a father who tried taking his child to work, and it just wasn't feasible, and there are single fathers out there that work, too) can rather easily work from home.

I think it's better for pretty much everyone involved. The child gets to be at home, the parent gets to spend the necessary time with the child, and the co-workers don't have to deal with the children.

This wouldn't work quite as well for upper management, marketing or other meeting-oriented positions (yes, that was a slight, but a good-natured one :-), but ... well... I don't much care about them anyway. :-)
posted by cCranium at 2:19 PM on June 14, 2000

Oh yeah...

"...and she'll get a generous maternity policy—eight weeks' paid leave. "

Is 2 months really a generous maternity leave, or were there some sarcasm tags I missed? That seems like a paltry leave to me. I've always expected maternity leave to be at least 6 months. How greatly off-base am I, anyway?
posted by cCranium at 2:23 PM on June 14, 2000

Maternity leave is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, I beleive, and should be eligible for 90 days paid leave -- as disability.
posted by elgoose at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2000

Yes, but the Family and Medical Leave Act doesn't exactly apply to small companies. Many of them can fall through loopholes and not HAVE to cover their employees.

I am lucky. I have enough job security that if I say I need to work from home or bring my son to work, I can and do most of the time.

I am a single mom of a 6 year old son. Sometimes it IS hard to strike a balance. Sleep is usally what I give up - work during the day, pick son up from day care, spend time with him, put him to bed, back to work.

I wish that more companies would understand the total package benefits of telecommuting. There have been times when, for example, my son has a cold or flu. He doesn't need constant attention, but he needs me there for him. I can work from home on those days and get just as much done while being the mom I need and want to be. Other times, I want to go to a school party or a conference with his teacher.

I get all my work done and always on time. But sometimes I need to do it during non-traditional hours. My job that allows for that now doesn't pay for shit. I am worried that in order to get the pay that I should be making I will have to give up the ability to be there for my son when he needs me. My son is ALWAYS priority number one, career number two.
posted by thinkdink at 11:21 PM on June 14, 2000

Sol, I don't think you're off base either. As a dad of two, sometimes whinny, most times wonderful girls, work is not the place for children.

It's hard enough in this net biz to keep your mind on one thing for more than a minute. Children demand and deserve more than that.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:22 AM on June 15, 2000

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