When I was young, I’d often wake up to the sounds of the washer and dryer whirring in the laundry room or pots and pans quietly being moved about in the kitchen. Before heading out at the crack of dawn for her job as a nurse in a hospital about 30 miles away, my mom would always make sure my siblings and I had clean clothes to wear to school and a home-cooked meal prepped for dinner.
She was accustomed to working hard, growing up on a farm in Ohio. And, due to social norms back then (in the 1960s), she knew that if she wanted a career, she could have one as long as she handled her domestic responsibilities, too. My dad was a high school football coach. I don’t have a single memory of him doing the laundry, cooking a meal, or even washing the dishes.
In recent years, we’ve seen some improvement in gender parity when it comes to household and parenting responsibilities, but women still carry the heaviest load. The situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic and caused hundreds of thousands of women to leave the workforce.
There is one noticeable exception to the norm in our office: D CEO’s Managing Editor Will Maddox. His wife, Katie, is a pediatrician who works in palliative care. Given Will’s less-essential job and flexible schedule, he manages many of the domestic responsibilities and stays home with sick toddlers (Ethan, 3, and Tucker, 2) when needed, although Katie definitely pulls her weight. He does this while keeping up with a beat (healthcare) that is experiencing an ongoing, once-in-a-generation news event.
In our latest edition, Will writes about the great balancing act that working moms (and, yes, some dads) must constantly perform—and five things businesses can do to provide support. Companies that want to hang on to valuable employees should take heed. You can read the story here.