A few days ago, not long after my co-workers and I were banned from the office because of the coronavirus pandemic, I was in a faculty meeting on Zoom when one of my colleagues appeared on the screen holding their eight-month-old. They texted me later: “Sorry the baby was naked; diaper blowout right before the meeting.”
There was nothing to apologize for. Right now, all of us with kids are parenting out in the open like never before. And in the coming weeks and months, it’s something we’re going to be witnessing more and more.
Last year, I wrote a piece called “End the Plague of Secret Parenting,” which called on everyone to make their parenting more visible at work, to acknowledge their dual role as employee and parent. Put up kid pictures, sure, but also be honest about having to leave at 5 p.m. to see your kids, about sometimes needing to take them to the doctor, or go to a baseball game. I called on employers to acknowledge the schedule constraints parents face, and think about how to work around them.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this in my dual role as economics professor and mom, and here’s my argument: It makes economic sense for employers to support this kind of parenting. Keep reading