You may have seen the Fast Company article making the rounds this Friday: The Post-Bedtime Ritual Of Successful Working Parent, with the subtitle “Almost half of high-earning working parents regularly burn the midnight oil to get to a full-time week. Is it sustainable?”
As usual, privileged, well-to-do yuppies have seized on to something that working class parents have been doing for eons, often just struggling to make ends meet. Where did Vanderkam get the notion that only high-earning, “successful” working parents do work after their children go to sleep?
This article is insulting on many levels. There is so much privilege inherent in being the type of person who can shuttle off in the middle of a work day to buy tires, attend Halloween parades, and take kids to play-dates. Many working class parents feel lucky to have the jobs that they do, and don’t have the luxury to stop working to do these types of things whenever they please. Does it mean that they work less hard? No. Does it mean that they love their kids any less? Absolutely not.
These parents also might work an actual second shift or second job, just to make ends meet. Perhaps they are single parents, perhaps they have minimum wage jobs, perhaps they’re finishing a GED or a college degree to get to a better place. Regardless, pawning this off as a discovery of the upper-middle class and saying that this is a “great tool in the work/life toolbox” is bullshit. The truth is that Vanderkam and her ilk wouldn’t really get penalized if they decided not to do their “split-shift”, whereas this is not an option, but rather, a necessity for so many people.