A couple of days ago a friend of mine posted an article titled “Why women still can’t have it all.” It should have said, “Why rich women who have it all want more.” I read it and just rolled my eyes. At the beginning of the article she says, “EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTO my job as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, a foreign-policy dream job that traces its origins back to George Kennan, I found myself in New York, at the United Nations’ annual assemblage of every foreign minister and head of state in the world. On a Wednesday evening, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a glamorous reception at the American Museum of Natural History. I sipped champagne, greeted foreign dignitaries, and mingled. But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him.” It amazes me that someone who can name drop in the first line four lines of her article, who is guaranteed food on the table, has a place to live and has her lights on was complaining about juggling family life and a career. The child doesn’t realize that she is blessed.
“The Brookings Institute study examined the percentage change of suburban poor populations between 2000 and 2010 in the 95 largest metro areas in the US. It found that in 16 of them the suburban poor population more than doubled during that time.” ~ In suburban America, middle class begins to confront poverty, MSN
Instead of wondering if you can’t have it all between dinners at the White House or theorizing policy in the ivory towers of academia try asking the folks whose lives won’t be featured in the Atlantic. You know the nannies that take care of your friends kids for sixty hours a week instead of their own. You ever wonder how their kids are doing in school while they are gone. How about the janitor who works 50 hours a week with little to no benefits to take care of his or her family? Try asking the person who cooks your food or makes your latte in the morning. Try looking in the eyes of a mother who refuses to go on welfare and works a double shift just to get by.
“Since 1975, two-parent families have been earning more, but not because they’re being paid more. Instead, they’re just working longer hours…”
“Single-parent families, which now make up over one-third of American families with children, have it even worse. The time they clock at work has jumped 53% since 1975. Their earnings have risen more, by 69%, but that’s mostly because most single-parent families are run by women, many of whom didn’t used to work.” Working More, But For Less Pay? Time Magazine
Ask the couple who lost their job and can’t pay their mortgage how they are doing while looking for a job. You complain about coming home late at night but ask that police officer who comes home at 4:30 in the morning how they are balancing their work and family life. How about the solider that has been deployed for over a year? I can’t tell you how many times as a mother in the military I was told that “a baby doesn’t come with a sea bag.”
Over 15% of the American population lives below the poverty level and 15 million of those in poverty are children. ~ Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months US. Census 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimate, table S1701
You would be surprised to know that millions of Americans are not like you. They come in every color. They live in the cities, suburbs and in rural areas. They don’t have your connections and don’t get to sip champagne with the Obama’s. But these are the kind of folks who raised me. They are the salt of the earth. They are the ones who are seen and not heard. They are people who understand humility, being grateful and taking pride in what they do. They are not the jet set crowd. They are the ones who clean up the jet once your parties are over. They are the ones who sweep your halls of power.
“In the United States, more than one out of six children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16.2 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition.“ Impact of Hunger Feeding America
Ask these people how they do it in a society where the chances of upper ward mobility have decreased and the cost of living has increased. They are making a dollar out of fifteen cents while spending little time with their families. So instead of telling everyone in the world how you can’t have it all try being grateful that you have so much.