Whew. Modern American working moms, isn’t it great to “have it all?" It is such a blessing to live in a time and a country where we are so liberated that we can not only earn money, but also do the majority of the child-rearing and household chores. Yes, this new "working mom” thing is quite the balancing act, but it’s nothing a little coffee in the morning and wine at night can’t help. So, really, we don't need society to fix anything for working moms, we just need a larger glass of wine. Maybe two, depending on the day. After all, Americans tend to celebrate anything "new" with copious amounts of alcohol. (Obviously, I mean “new” in the Christopher Columbus way, where something is new if it’s just recently become a thing for affluent white people. Women of color and working class women of all colors have been “having it all” out of sheer necessity since forever, but that just doesn't feel all that chic or magazine headline-worthy when they do it, you know?)
To hear some people tell it, American parents are the least satisfied in the entire Western world, and the happiness gap between us and other parents can be completely explained by our lack of social and workplace supports and blah, blah, blah. Yes, it can be tough to “have it all” sometimes, like when you have to spend a huge chunk of your household income on childcare that makes you kinda nervous, or when you have to hobble back to work less than two weeks after giving birth in order to keep your job. Sure, every industrialized nation has figured out how to make life work better for working families except the United States. But isn’t that what “American Exceptionalism” means? Going against the grain? Forging our own path? It's just so liberating, right?
Some moms might want structural fixes for all this stuff, but that just seems un-American. We should all be able to pull ourselves up by our own bra straps, and handle our totally individual, not at all systemic problems like big girls, amirite? After all, women choosing to work is a totally optional, personal choice, so why should the rest of society accommodate your frivolous decision to chase fancy feminist dreams like “not being evicted from your home” and “actually being able to feed your children?"
No, we can totally do it all on our own. Who needs wasteful social interventions like these, when we’ve got coffee to get through the day and wine to get through the night?
Universal Child Care And Preschool
Come on, people. Universal child care and early childhood education is clearly a pipe dream. It’s not as though we already have public institutions that make sure certified and qualified people can work together to take care of children and help them learn, with little to no added expense to families. This is not a thing that ever has existed or could exist, in our country or any others, so we shouldn’t even think about creating or expanding any such public, school-like system to very young children. Nope. We have wars to pay for.
Wine substitute: Zinfandel
Paid Family Leave
Hahahaha! You want to be able to have a baby and recover from having the baby and take care of said baby and get to know it and bond with it and adjust to your new life as a mother? Oh, and you want your partner to be able to help you and get to know the child, too? You want to be able to do all of that and eat and not be homeless? Greedy, greedy, greedy. We can’t have paid family leave and have a functioning economy. All those other countries who say they manage to do it are lying. If you actually visit them, you’ll see there’s absolutely no commerce or anything. It’s all just people twiddling their thumbs and pretending to be happy with their newborn babies, in order to make America look bad in international surveys.
Wine substitute: Port
Paid Sick Days
Real talk: what do you ladies need paid sick days for, anyway? Good mothers don’t allow themselves or their children to get sick. They will themselves healthy with discipline, restraint, and the kind of steely resolve that just annihilates all pathogens on sight.
Wine substitute: Chardonnay
Living Wages And Benefits At All Jobs
Again, good moms don’t let themselves or their children get sick or hurt, so you shouldn’t even have to worry about whether or not your job pays you enough to manage your bills or gives you any benefits, like health care. Besides, isn’t that what your husband’s job is for? You are married to someone who actually gets paid fairly and gets good benefits, aren’t you?
Wine substitute: Pinot Noir
A Basic Income Guarantee
Sure, robots are probably going to take a significant chunk of the jobs anyway, and sure, some of you want the flexibility to be home with your kids when they're really young. But, like, why should society just give everyone a publicly-funded basic income that could simplify or replace most of the assistance programs we already have, and stop letting tons of families fall through the cracks of those systems? Can't you just sell your friends some handbags or essential oils or something? What about making crafts at home? Moms love making crafts at home, right?
Wine substitute: Cabernet Sauvignon
Paid Vacation Time
Wage Equality And Workplace Fairness
Ugh, asking for equal pay for equal work is just unseemly. Plus, demanding salary transparency and ways to make it easier to detect and address workplace discrimination is unfair to all the manly men who need those bigger salaries so they can provide for the families they’re never expected to interact with in person. Who needs to close the gender pay gap when you can just get married?
Wine substitute: Sauvignon Blanc, and all of it.