Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day 2011

A reader sent me this funny video from

For some reason I can't embed it here, so you'll have to follow the link . . .

Sorry about that . . . not sure why my embed code wouldn't work, but just go look at the video on their website and come back, would you?

I'll wait while you do that.

• • •

Okay, you're back, right?. It was funny, wasn't it? The toothpaste in the ear canal scene was mild compared to what so many of us deal with day in and day out. Wouldn't you like to be able to add in the reality for autism moms?
  • Managing therapy appointments that would rival a professional case manager.
  • Negotiating with your local school board for services or placements.
  • Educating friends and family on what autism means for your child, your family, and for the wider community.
  • Making this all happen on a single salary (what we do in our family) because one parent drops out of the labor force to deal with the above. Make that a single 70% salary given the gendered deflation of women's salary that the video goes after. (And we count ourselves lucky because Fathersvox shares the case management load, which is not the situation for single moms or dads taking care of kids on the spectrum.)
  • Working hard every day to raise autism awareness and acceptance for all of our kids on the spectrum.
  • Loving your child or children on the spectrum more than anything or anyone else in the world, never quite knowing where any of this will take you. It's never been more clear that love doesn't come with an unlimited 100%-satisfaction guaranteed warranty.
Labor of love is what you'd call it all.

But what would make it easier for all of us -- moms and dads alike -- would be if women were not still earning the measly 70 cents for the dollar that their male counterparts earn for the same work.

That's why I posted the video from instead of telling you about the adorable breakfast that our girl conspired with her father to make for me.

Wage inequality hurts us all. It means that women more often than their male counterparts drop out of the paid labor force to manage the needs of their kids, on the spectrum or not. It means that when the man drops out to do that case management work, you wind up with not a 50% loss of wages, but a 59% loss of wages (hypothetical numbers here: but let's say dad earns 100K and mom earns 70K, but dad drops out of the labor force, then the lost wages are 59% of the family's income.)

Wage inequality locks us into gendered roles because it significantly penalizes those who step out of them.

We've made progress. When I first entered the labor force the gender penalty was 40 cents on the dollar. In 25 years we've gotten about 10 cents more on the dollar. That's progress. But consider our girl's progress: last year the toast and eggs were both sort of burnt. This year the toast and eggs were perfection. If she can do that much better, we can do better too. Much, much better.

So this Mother's Day I'm standing with Mom's Rising to say let's solve the economic inequalities that discount women's labor — solve it 100% — and get our breakfast in bed too.

Happy Mother's Day. This video is for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thank you. I've found through a daughter with autism, that mother's day means something different now. I haven't quite figured it out yet...