At first I thought: Wow-CEO of Yahoo and pregnant! We’ve come a long way. Now I’m having a lot of mixed thoughts. I’m not worried about Marissa Mayer—she will have “hot and cold running nannies” as Anne-Marie Slaughter put it. She can afford help out the wazoo. She certainly isn’t every mom. But she also hasn’t experienced being 8 ½ months pregnant yet. She’s never had a baby to know how that’s going to feel. She just knows that she can do it. She will power through. I have no doubt that she will, and I wish her the best.
Sharon Lerner in her July 22,Washington Post article “Why do we obsess over the plight of rich moms?” isn’t worried one bit either. I think she’s ticked off that so much time is being spent discussing Anne-Marie Slaughter and Marissa Mayer—the rich and successful moms who have plenty of resources and options. Why are we talking about them, the uber successful moms (to-be) and not the huge elephant in the room—the lack of a national child care policy? We definitely have bigger fish to fry. But voyeurism is much more fun.
Of course, what we need to be doing is focusing on policy to help every working mom especially those who don’t have vast resources. I don’t ever expect us to replicate the nationally subsidized French childcare system. When do those people work? On the other hand, we need to have a national dialogue about paid leave and childcare. As Lerner mentions in her article, we haven’t heard a peep about this critical issue during this election year. No one is talking about more and better affordable childcare. Why not? The Child Care Aware of America study just released this past week shows that childcare costs for two children under the age of five exceeded the average annual cost of housing in more than 36 states in 2011. And much of the available childcare is substandard.
In this election year, we are bombarded with discussions of balanced budgets, healthcare policy, and the future of Medicare. How about a little focus on a really big issue—affordable, quality childcare?