Let’s face it: being a working parent in the U.S. is much more difficult than it is in other industrialized countries. We’re denied not only the basic guarantee of paid maternity leave*, but also childcare, healthcare, and higher education are extremely expensive. Consider the following:
Being a working mother or father is stressful, and with dual-income families increasingly the norm in this country, many people are feeling the strain. From scripts to help working parents negotiate more flexible work arrangements to blueprints from countries which offer policy solutions, these resources are designed with working parents in mind.
*According to the International Labour Organization, there are two countries out of 170 studied that provide no cash benefits to women during maternity leave: New Guinea and the United States.
Celebrating National Working Parents Day can be an excellent time to recognize parents working hard professionally and at home. There are lots of ways to get involved with this day. A great place to start is simply by reaching out to any working parents you may know and offering them an encouraging text or post on social media acknowledging how hard they work.
For most American children, summer marks a reprieve from books and tests. However, for many working parents, it epitomizes the widespread shortage of affordable childcare. There are a lot of local, private, and donor-funded programs designed to help families send their kids to day schools and summer camps at little to no cost.
The era of single-earner families is waning. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly two-thirds of married-couple families with children under 18 are dual-income homes, and if numbers over the last decade are any indication, the trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon.
Working from home can seem like a dream come true. Standard work attire can include pajamas, there is no more commuting, and lunch and snacks are only as far away as the kitchen. However, this dream can quickly become a nightmare for working parents who have to juggle kids at home.
The Department of Labor reports that 63 percent of families have both parents in the workforce. Not surprisingly, striking a balance between work and family life can be hard. However, there are some employers who are making it a priority to support their parent employees.
Through the uncertainty of school closures in the COVID-19 era, many parents like myself are struggling with their new role as teacher. With school closures likely to continue through the summer, parents and teachers worry that children will fall behind academically.
As our work-life balance continues to evolve and parents opt for careers that embrace family life and flexibility, childcare options are becoming more and more focused and specific, keeping kids busy with activities they love that are geared towards summer play.
The U.S. lags behind other countries in supporting parents who work. This is true not just in terms of equitable pay for women, but also for paid maternity and paternity leave, family benefits (e.g., flexible scheduling, on-site daycare), and other assistance for workers raising families.
Historically, most American families could subsist on a single income. Those days are long gone as modern parents are forced to juggle their professional and familial responsibilities. According to The Washington Post, decades of falling or stagnant earnings and rising costs make two-paycheck homes a necessity.