Michael Brochstein / ZUMA Press / Splash News
For as long as there have been mothers who have worked to bring home the bacon (and then, been responsible for frying it up in the pan, serving it, and cleaning that pan after dinner), society has thrown hurdles in the paths of the women who juggle career and motherhood. So, when Kellyanne Conway showed up on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend, it was almost refreshing to hear her serving up some actual facts instead of the alternative flavor she seems to prefer.
Conway says she's having a tough time being both mother of four young kids and the highest ranking female on the president's staff, to which working moms all across the nation said, "Gee, ya think?"
"They're great kids, but they're really the worst ages for a mom to be here and away from them: 12, 12, 8, and 7," Conway told CBS, later adding, "They're struggling, because it's just different to not have a mom there as much as they're used to, even though I've always worked. This is an entirely different level."
It's really and truly sad to hear that the Conway kids are having a rough time. No matter the issues at hand in this divisive political climate, we're talking about four little people right here. They didn't ask for any of this, nor do they deserve to suffer.
But let's talk facts for just a second ... the pesky, real kind again.
Not only did she see this coming -- last year Conway denied that she'd be taking a job in the West Wing precisely because she said she was worried about her kids -- but this is less personal anecdote and more the way of the world for women in the workplace who have children at home.
Conway's a working mom in a society that ranks working moms just slightly higher than "paying taxes" and decidedly lower than "hate-watching celebrities and tweeting nasty things at them."
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This is America, after all, where moms in households with two working parents still do the lion's share of household chores, where a woman's pay decreases an average of 4 percent per child (while men see a pay boost as they spawn), where moms are more likely to be regarded by employers as less competent and poorly motivated to succeed than non-moms, regardless of actual experience.
This is America, home of the worst parental leave coverage in the industrialized world.
This is America, where 71 percent of moms with children at home work in some fashion, and 40 percent of mothers are either the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, but still face the omnipresent wage gap separating women from men.
This is America, where the highest ranking woman in the White House staff is on a leave of absence from a Koch Brothers–linked organization called the Independent Women's Forum, a group that warns against the "disruptive consequences" of paid leave on its homepage and boasts YouTube videos that blame women for their bosses not paying them the same as someone with a penis.
This is America, where the aforementioned highest ranking White House staffer will help a man become president, even after he's called pregnancy an "inconvenience for a business" in a televised Dateline interview and told MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski he understands why employers pay mothers less than men with the same job.
This is America, where the aforementioned president has just proposed a childcare program that tax experts say will be wholly unhelpful to the majority of low income and middle class families, who don't earn enough to take advantage of its proposed tax benefits.
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And all of this is just working mother–specific. We'd be remiss to ignore the rapid erosion of women's rights in general going on in this country at the moment -- from the movement to defund Planned Parenthood to the personhood bills popping up in state legislatures across the nation -- that hurt all women, including mothers in the workforce, or the troubles for their kids, including the attack on public education at hand with Betsy DeVos at the helm of the Department of Education.
Kellyanne Conway is right. Working motherhood sucks.
If only there were someone working side-by-side with the president of the United States who could talk to him about that.