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An evolution of feelings about Clinton becoming the ultimate executive mom

I’m sorting out how I feel about Hillary Clinton being the presumptive Democratic nominee. After all, if she wins the general election, she will be the Executive Mom.

I supported her with my whole heart in 2008. I cried when she lost the nomination then. I still voted for Obama, but a part of me – along with many other women at the time – felt a loss so deep, so crushing, that there were no words of comfort. We simply had to process our grief in order to move on.

Move on, I did. Over the past eight years, my priorities shifted. Back in 2008, I felt strongly that a there was value in a milestone for the sake of it being a milestone. Someone has to be the first so that it’s no longer “a thing” – even if Clinton did a terrible job in the Oval, we’ve got to get to a place in this country where a woman in the Oval is not a novelty. Get past the oohs and ahhs, for good or for bad, so that the next woman running can have the luxury of her sex being a non-issue. Hillary Clinton was my milestone-for-the-sake-of-being-a-milestone. And I felt she would actually be a good President, not terrible at all.

Now, eight years later, I don’t see the Presidency as a framework for gender politics. There is something that matters to me more, and that is the dwindling middle class, and the unobstructed finance policies allowing corporations to take advantage of Americans. Over the last eight years, both Hillary Clinton and President Obama have sorely disappointed me – no, failed me. I have little confidence that President Obama will take anything but a continued cowardly stance against Wall Street in the golden years of his Presidency, and I have little confidence a President Clinton will do any differently.

As a business woman, I feel that their their weak regulations (weak regulations at best, complete inaction at worst) is short sighted and not in the best interest of my daughter over the course of her lifetime – which is to say, is not in the best interest of the longer- term future of this country. And I am really concerned about how hawkish she seems. Will she so readily decide to send in troops to wherever there is some conflict? Isn’t that how we got into our current mess in the first place?

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren spoke to me, and continue to speak to me, about this all-important issue. They hear me; I hear them. And that, as I’ve learned, is communication.

It doesn’t escape my notice that perhaps it is precisely because Clinton got as far as she did in 2008, and is now the presumptive nominee in 2016, that I even have the luxury of dissecting the issues to the point that I can say, “I wanted Sanders instead,” that she was, in effect, my desired milestone after all.

I am a tumult of emotion because so much is viewed through the lens of motherhood now. It was enough to want better for other people’s children, or just on principle alone, but I can no longer escape the call of every decision I make being one for the good and betterment of my own kid’s life.

I chose Sanders in the primary, I did. But I reconcile my mixed feelings about Clinton by voting for her in November – a powerful thing that I’ll be able to tell my daughter someday – and working tirelessly to hold Clinton, a fellow mom, a fellow executive, accountable to all of our democratic ideals.

Update 06/17/16: I read a very interesting and provocative piece that sheds different light, which can be found here https://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/everybody-talking-bout-heaven-aint-going-there/

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Breadwinner Moms | Pew Social & Demographic Trends

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/29/breadwinner-moms/

I’m at home with a 7 week old infant, and I head back to work in a little over a month.

Talking with other moms, I realize that I’m very blessed to have a job I love to go back to and to make enough that my husband can stay home with our daughter.

Who are these breadwinner moms?

Interestingly, many of my female friends are in a similar position in which, if faced with the choice of who would stay home, their partners would be the ones to stay home since my female friends often make more than their male partners. As it stands, most of these couples are two income households, but there are a few in which the woman is sole working professional.

They are not just people I know in my industry. In fact, most of them are not in health care or consulting at all, though I have examples there too. One friend is a geologist, another a statistician/ epidemiologist, one is in real estate, two others are public and private radio producers; the list goes on. But all of these friends are women, and all are the primary income earners for their households. Only some of these households have kids, but some will expand their families with children in the coming years, and it’s likely that the women will continue to be primary income earners.

Setting it up so that breadwinning and mothering are compatible

The study found that:

“The total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner. In 2011, the median family income was nearly $80,000 for couples in which wife is the primary breadwinner, about $2,000 more than it was for couples in which husband is the primary breadwinner, and $10,000 more than for couples in which spouses’ income is the same.”

Even with higher education and an increase in opportunities for women in industry, men still make up a disproportionate share of executive level positions given the gender make up of the work force, and women still earn less than men on average which means overall, family income averages are declining.

Certainly this trend of Mommy Main Money Makers will continue, but in life, something’s got to give. The idea – the reality – of being Supermom is very much a part of our lives, and it will continue to (and increasingly) weigh heavily on the shoulders of women if industry doesn’t increase flexibility and maneuverability for female executives and indeed for all female members of the work force. Without this, both our families and our work is negatively impacted.

Ensuring adequate parental leave on small businesses, allowing a flex schedule and equipping workers with the technology to work from home, and partnering or sharing work duties can help make that flexibility and maneuverability within reach.