The Juggle at the WSJ, A Doormat Rebellion and The Today Show

I really love the WSJ

It’s true, I do. I love that you can get so many story summaries on the front page, I love Marketplace and pretty much, the news is not of the “if it bleeds, it leads” variety…unless we are talking cash – then that does lead. So I turned on the television this morning (which I never do) and The Today Show was running a piece about At-Home parents that are feeling pressed by “favors” from other working parents. So how does this tie in to the WSJ? Patience, people, patience. Part of the clip was an interview with Jeffrey Zaslow from the WSJ about an article (the idea for the piece) that he wrote At Home Workers Say Enough is Enough. Harriette Cole (author and lifestylist) was also interviewed as well and spoke about people needing to communicate better.  The link above is to her website but her Wikipedia entry is more interesting.

Tell me what you think? Are you a person who is put-upon or are you the person asking for too many favors? Are your go-to people feeling good or cranky?

The Juggle

I like that it makes me think Jungle…get it, Wall Street Jungle? Too obscure or too random?

At-Home Workers Say Enough is Enough

By Jeffrey Zaslow

Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal
Diane Fitzpatrick has learned to put her own errands first.

The pool of people who are at home today – because they’re unemployed, retired, have telecommuting jobs or are stay-at-home parents or caregivers – keeps getting larger. That’s been welcome news for those who leave their neighborhoods to go to work. They consider stay-at-homers to be easy marks for carpooling, errand-running, church-volunteering, school-committee-leading, and being the go-to neighbor for every UPS delivery.

Many of those at home are now saying they’ve had enough, and the Internet is allowing them to mount “just say no” campaigns, or to visit online chat-rooms at Web sites such as momlogic.com and babycenter.com to pour out their resentments. Many feel like they are being taken advantage of.  I wrote about this issue in my column today, Moving On.

A lot of at-homers who commiserate online are torn between their willingness to help and their resentment about the way their help is sought. As one poster wrote: “I get calls from my daughter’s school to pick up sick kids. Many parents put me on the emergency contact card at school without telling me… Yes, a lot of it is my fault because I feel sorry for the kids and can’t say no. But I have quit going to play groups since this is how most of the parents zone in on me.”

One mother of three, Diana Fitzpatrick, was one of the few at-home parents in her Springfield, Va., townhouse community. On Monday afternoons, when the school district had half days, she often ended up watching a dozen kids or more.

“It put me in a position where I felt obligated to look after all these kids of these working parents,” she says. Some parents asked for her help. Others just assumed she’d be on call. Ms. Fitzpatrick often felt like “the doormat of the neighborhood.”

Well now, thanks in part to the Internet, a Doormat Rebellion is underway.

If you’re an at-homer, have you coped with neighbors and friends seeking babysitting, errand-running or other favors? If you need a favor, how have you learned to ask so that at-homers are more willing to help?

About The Juggle

The Juggle examines the choices and tradeoffs people make as they juggle work and family. The site provides readers with news, insight and tips on parenting, workplace issues, commuting, caregiving and other issues busy readers with families face. It is also a place for readers to share and compare their own work-and-family experiences and to seek advice and recommendations. The Juggle is edited and co-written by Rachel Emma Silverman, a mother of a 2-year-old and an infant in Austin, Texas, and co-written by Sue Shellenbarger, the Wall Street Journal’s “Work and Family” columnist in Portland, Ore., and a mother of two children and stepmother of three. The Juggle also includes regular contributions from other staffers at the Journal. Contact the Juggle with ideas or suggestions at thejuggle@wsj.com

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3 Comments

Filed under Feed your head, soul, self, Volunteer

3 responses to “The Juggle at the WSJ, A Doormat Rebellion and The Today Show

  1. I think it’s all about reciprocity … there needs to be some semblance of fairness or it doesn’t work. It doesn’t have to be tit for tat, but it can’t be all take, take, take because the stay-at-home mom is busy too!!

    Pragmatic Mom

  2. Oh I got many many favors as a working mother, but just as Pragmatic Mom said, there was reciprocity! I was always happy to take children when I could and I did. Now I am home, and its the same. I think working mothers can fall into a habit of thinking, “she doesn’t even have a job! what could be more pressing that a work deadline!” and they don’t respect the commitments and obligations of a mother at home. I know I was guilty of feeling miffed when I was working and my SAHM sister-in-law couldn’t fill in as back of childcare because of some commitment that didn’t seem as important to me at the time. Now of course I get it.

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