Categories
Personal

In Defense of the Menlo Park Mom

Last week a job posting for a household manager/cook/nanny went viral.  The poster is a single mom of twin boys and CEO of a San Francisco-area company.  You can see the post for yourself here.  The job description was incredibly detailed.  The right applicant should be able to, among other things, do the following:

  • Plan vacations based on interests and ages of the family, including recommending appropriate vacation destinations, booking vacations (while understanding how to use credit card points vs. cash), and tracking expenses;
  • Track purchases, administer allowance, and make returns on time;
  • Manage the Google calendar;
  • Meal plan for the family, taking into account various dietary restrictions;
  • Cook meals for the family according to certain criteria/said dietary restrictions;
  • Physically active and able to play with the two boys (10);
  • Arrange play dates and manage social calendar for boys;
  • Travel with the family.

The backlash was swift.  My mom’s groups blew up on Facebook and Reddit, and a common refrain was that we women already do this work and we aren’t paid for it!

But isn’t that the point?

Slate found the mom, who agreed to an anonymous interview. You should read it. In it, she says, facetiously, that she’s looking for a wife. But that’s not totally right. She’s looking for another her. The tasks she outlined? I can do those. I currently do those. And no, I’m not paid for it. And yes, the job description is incredibly detailed because this is an attempt at outlining all the parameters this woman can think of to replicate the things she’s already doing.

I don’t blame her! I too would pay good money to no longer have to meal plan, prep, and grocery shop. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be able to focus on my work all day and come home and have dinner already on the table, with the next day’s snacks and meals already planned. (Side note: is this how husbands have it because if so I will scream. No, right??)

Anyway, I applaud the effort in trying to craft a list of tasks that could show, rather than tell, what it is this woman wants. She wants someone to care about her kids as much as she does, to proactively look for ways to make their lives better, just as she does. She wants someone willing to spend the mental energy to meal prep, set up play dates, find the “right” flag football team, and manage the damn Google calendar.

She wants another her. The problem is, it’s impossible to replicate yourself. The things parents do for their families, the mental load of running a household while staying present when you’re with your kid(s), while crushing it at work? What we do is unique. And it will be hard to find a person who fits this criteria and is willing to work for the amount this woman is willing to pay, which is $35-40 an hour.

There was a time in my life when I would have accepted a job like this, with all the benefits, and saved for college or law school. In fact, that time in my life came to pass when I was 18 and nannied for a summer, complete with a vehicle I could use all day long. The problem is, my 18-year old self would have been total shit at this job. The amount of emotional intelligence she’s looking for is almost certainly reserved for those of us who have been through it before and understand the importance of caring about these things and getting it right.

Now, as a lawyer who is also a mom, I’m perfectly qualified for the position, but would never take it. If anything, this posting attempts to quantify the unpaid labor that moms do every single day for years on end. And what I’ve learned is that while you may be able to pay to outsource some things, the value moms add is priceless (or, at the very least, worth more than $35-40 an hour).

Apologies for any typos. I wrote this on my commute home, as I had to leave early from work to prepare our family dinner of organic salmon and root vegetables before my toddler gets hangry at 5:45.

Categories
Bachelorette Personal

A Tribute

This week’s Bachelorette was bittersweet for me.  As some of you may know, a dear friend of mine passed away a little over a week ago.  She was a main part of my Bachelorette experience when I lived in Seattle, and it was hard to watch knowing she wasn’t following along.

I’ve known my friend, Jenni, since middle school.  She went by Jen when we got older, but I’ll always think if her as Jenni with an “I”, and sometimes with a heart instead of a dot.  Jenni was such a good person.  She sparkled, she drew people to her, and she had a joy for life that was infectious.  When we were in high school we lived a few minutes away from each other and were together almost every weekend.

After high school, we solidified our Bachelor/Bachelorette watching habits.  We’d come home to Seattle for the summer just in time for the Bachelorette season to start.  Every Monday, I’d bring over the wine (always Chardonnay, Jenni’s favorite), we’d paint our nails, and discuss the episode.  I had watched the show before then, but I looked forward to these Mondays and will always remember them as a starting point for my true appreciation for the franchise.

Jenni actually auditioned for the show one summer.  A friend and I accompanied her to an outdoor mall about 40 minutes away from home for an open casting call (you know, the ones they advertise during the commercial breaks of the show).  We sat forever, coached her on her answers, and waited while she went in there and interviewed.  I didn’t know if she was going to get on the show.  She was pretty young at the time (only 23), we had been out on her boat the day before so she had a vicious sunburn, and had just chopped her hair off into the cutest bob (see my post on what makes a winner – mermaid hair is a constant theme).  She ended up not getting called back, but I’m pretty sure we saw Chantal O’Brien auditioning (she got second place on Brad Womack’s second season).

It’s hard for me to separate the experience of watching the show from my memories of Jenni.  My friends in Seattle continued that tradition and would spend every Monday watching the show together, Jenni included.  It’s also hard for me to describe the deep sorrow I feel now that Jenni’s gone.  So, for this week, a tribute.

jmo13When we went wine tasting for a joint birthday celebration and planned on riding bikes to the wineries.  Jenni didn’t have a bike so we bought her one at WalMart.  We popped all our tires.  Jenni’s WalMart bike was the only bike to survive.

jmo16

Triple birthday celebration (we were all born within weeks of each other).  Jenni let me borrow her dress for dinner.  We owned Yakima that night.

jmo11

Surprise engagement party for Jenni.  She was the first of our friends to get engaged.  I made cupcakes from scratch.  She asked me to be her bridesmaid that night.

jmo8

Wine tasting in Napa for Jenni’s bachelorette.  White wine only, of course.

jmo rehearsal

Bridesmaid picture with Jenni the night before her wedding.

jmo3

The night before my wedding.

jmo liz

My last picture of just the two of us.  Bend, Oregon, May 2017, at a friend’s bachelorette party.

I recently stumbled across our class senior picture from high school.  It’s at trip.

class pic

Jenni’s right in the front, with a big shining star on her shirt.  I’m right behind her.  Jenni was always a star and I am honored to have been close to her until the end.  Love you always, JMo.

***

No recap this week, but I’ll leave you with my top guys.  This week’s episode was gloriously drama free, and I think it’s a testament to the caliber of men Rachel kept for her top 6.  They were all mature and thoughtful.  Usually at this point I’m thinking, HOW has the lead not figured out that X contestant is there for the wrong reasons?!  Not so with Rachel.

  1. Bryan/Peter.  It’s between these two for me.  I think she has strong feelings for both, but Bryan has given her a ton of affirmation and Peter seems to still be a question mark.  I find Peter’s honesty very refreshing, but I can see how it would be scary at this point.  I don’t know who she’ll pick but I think it’s down to these two.
  2. Eric.  He has totally stepped it up since he went on his one-on-one.  He’s still the same analytical guy, but some of that anxiety is gone and he’s been able to be joyful and positive.
  3. Dean.  I love Dean.  He’s a really great guy.  His interactions with the men in the house have been very mature and he just seems like a good person.  I thought his one-on-one with Rachel this week was a little disjointed, and I think that speaks to his age.  Dean’s references to his eccentric family also point to the very classic hometown date disaster awaiting us next week.  I think Rachel and Dean are very sweet together, but I don’t see the long term potential for them in the same way I see it with the other guys.

Next week back to regular programming.  Until then, xoxo.