While my Italian husband is open-minded and adopts more of an "international" than "traditional Italian" mentality, there is an underlying belief in Latin culture that men should not be expected to help with family responsibilities -- even when both parents work. Last week my husband was called mammo (a vernacular expression for a dad doing a mum's job) by a work colleague.
A funny thing happened while I was on my way to success, I realized that no one would ever be able to do EXACTLY what I do and vice-versa. That idea was a game-changer. I no longer had to be afraid of anyone in my industry and in-fact, making them allies was going to grow my network a thousand fold now that I was clear on WHO I was in business.
Cultural and social messaging constantly reinforce that no matter how hard women work, they will not achieve the same status in the workplace as their male counterparts. When we are passionate at work we are emotional, when we are assertive it is either "that time of the month" or we are just a ball buster.
There comes a time, no matter what industry you're in, whether you have a steady and ready desk job, whether you live the exciting life of a traveling food show host, or whether you stay at home, you make a choice. You feel as if you are prepared to do more. You can stay where you are and do more there or you can do more in another separate arena.
Our opponents refer to paid sick days as "fringe benefits," an "extra" handed out by employers when they can afford it. But the reality is, sick time should be a basic part of compensation, a minimum standard that keeps employers from docking workers' pay or kicking them out of a job for being a good parent or following doctor's orders.
Maria's message was clear. She was totally overwhelmed, exhausted, and felt like she just wasn't good enough... good enough at anything. Being anything less than superwoman felt like failure. The more I listened to Maria, the more I knew the time had come... the time for Maria to put down her super cape.
For a lot of women in this country, the status quo means trying to earn enough for your family while spending less and less time with them. It means living paycheck to paycheck while praying you don't get sick. The political classes of both parties have failed women and working families in this country.