One of the things that the comments on my last post made clear–as should reading anything about parenting and work–is that no one work situation works for everyone. Some people thrive working at home. Others need the activity and external motivation of an office setting. Some need a combination of both. Some people would be happy working part-time. Others want a strict full time schedule of exactly 40 hours. Others are willing to work much more. And all of those people have different preferences for the specific hours they’d like to work. And yet, most work places and certainly the general culture still wants to squeeze everyone into the 9-5, M-F box.
In one of the many conversations I’ve read on this topic lately, I recall someone saying that the reason jobs like teaching and nursing are primarily female is that their schedules are more flexible and conducive to a family schedule where children are in school. And of course, many people try to wrangle a flexible schedule no matter what field they’re in. Some are successful, but many more are not and are often not just unable to get the schedule they want but see their careers suffer just for having asked. We need to get past this. We’re a country that supposedly prides itself on some concept of individualism and yet, we continue to punish people who seek to be individuals.