Home » Opinion | Does Everyone Want to Be on the ‘Mommy Track’?

Opinion | Does Everyone Want to Be on the ‘Mommy Track’?

by Marko Florentino
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But while it may be more challenging for some moms to advance if they choose to work from an office less frequently (though I’m optimistic that will change over time as remote work is normalized), what I’m hearing these days from many mothers — and fathers — is that climbing the ladder is not top of mind. With those mommy-track headlines, it’s also worth remembering that working remotely isn’t just a corporate mom thing. While college-educated mothers of young children are more likely to work remotely than other college-educated women, “Looking narrowly at just college graduates, remote work patterns for women and men look more evenly distributed, with men slightly more likely to work remotely than women,” according to an analysis by my newsroom colleagues Ben Casselman, Emma Goldberg and Ella Koeze.

The idea of being “mommy tracked” also sets up and cements a false binary: You’re either going straight to the top as fast as possible or you’re going to stagnate forever. More and more, parents are rejecting the notion that this is the only way to think about their work-life balance, particularly while their kids are young. They’re more concerned about having jobs that allow them to both make ends meet and still have the time and energy to enjoy their families.

As Steven Newmark, who lives in New York, put it, “As a father I could never have imagined spending so much time with my kids. I’m fortunate in that I really like my children. I don’t mean that I love my kids — that really should be a given — but that I really, really like them and want to be with them as much as possible.”

Elizabeth K. from South Carolina, who asked to not be identified by her last name, wrote in to say:

Handling the pandemic as two working parents, with a toddler at the time, with no ‘village’ for support was enormously difficult. My husband was able to find a job that relocated us, while I was able to keep my job and transition to working 100 percent remotely. We are now an easy two-hour drive from family, but it is the closest we’ve ever lived to family. If it wasn’t for Covid, I don’t believe we would have made the decision to move. And, had we not ‘worked from home’ during the pandemic, there would be no way I’d be working remotely right now either.

Laura Labarre, who lives in Oregon, had a similar feeling about the advantages of remote work. She said, “Working remotely allowed me to nurse my second child when I’d otherwise had to stop with my first. I can get away quickly to volunteer for an hour in the middle of the day at their preschool. It’s easier for me to pick them up when they are (inevitably) sick. I desperately hope we hang on to these upgrades for working parents and push for new ones.”

Remote and hybrid work certainly won’t solve all the problems facing American families. Many jobs can’t be done remotely, and those that can are more likely to be done by an already privileged group of people.

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