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Define “full time”

There was this article in the Chron business section earlier this week about how more women with children are saying they want to work part-time these days. I don’t know a whole lot about that, but it seems to me we could short-circuit a lot of the discussion that’s sure to follow this if we take note of one fairly significant fact that went otherwise unremarked upon:

For Erica Rubach, a 32-year-old mother of two, the findings weren’t a surprise. A year ago she felt she couldn’t keep her head above water, though to others her life might have seemed ideal: two young kids and a job she loved as director of marketing and business development at a television station.

“But I knew there just wasn’t room for both in my life,” she says. “It was killing me.”

So she left her job, with its 60-70 hour weeks, and with fellow mother Joani Reisen founded MomSpace, a networking site devoted to matching mothers with services in their communities. The two now work on their own schedules.

Well, there’s your problem right there! Sixty to seventy hours a week isn’t a fulltime job, it’s a fulltime job plus a parttime job. You cannot work 60-70 hours a week and be a primary caretaker for a child, at least not without being under enormous pressure, the kind of pressure that makes most people break. I couldn’t have done that – I’d never see my kids if I worked those kinds of hours. Maybe if her job had entailed only 40 hours a week of work – which, let’s be honest, is all they were paying her for; people with titles like “director of marketing” don’t get overtime – she could have handled this.

The irony is that she’s probably working about 40 hours a week at MomSpace now. And that probably feels like a part time job to her. I’d say that’s a pretty significant part of the problem here, wouldn’t you?

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