Newsdesk

If you don't have time to watch the news or read the paper every day, don't worry, we are keeping up with current events for you. Our Newsdesk editor, longtime journalist and mother of three, Meredith O'Brien, is the author of A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum, writes the parenting/lifestyle blog Picket Fence Post and pens our popular Moms in Pop Culture & Politics column. Follow Meredith on Twitter: @MeredithOBrien

Dads Want Work-Life Balance Too

A survey of working fathers by Monster.com found that 68 percent of dads would consider becoming an at-home parent "if money were no object." Fifty-three percent of dads said of the family-friendly policies they "appreciate most" a flexible work schedule topped the list, followed by 24 percent identifying a telecommuting option and 12 percent singling out on-site child care. (June 2007) more

‘Opt-Out’ and ‘Opt-In’ Myths

Heather Boushey, a senior economist for the Center for Economic Policy and Research, said in an AlterNet essay that despite the media’s highlighting stories of "highly educated mothers ‘opting out’ of employment . . . These stories are not only wrong" but the reality is that most moms don’t leave the workforce voluntarily; they leave because they have no viable options. Boushey also takes issue with those who say that it’s easy to re-join the workforce – "opting in" -- after taking a leave. ". . . [L]ike the opt-out myth itself, the ‘opt-in’ storylines are far removed from what we know about women returning to work after taking time off to have children," she wrote. (June 2007) more

Where the Working Moms Are

A Washington, D.C.-based think tank has been crunching numbers to find out which U.S. metropolitan areas have the largest and the smallest concentrations of working moms, whose children are under the age of 18.

According to the Creative Class Group, among the U.S. metro areas with a million+ population, the metro areas with the largest groups of working moms are: Minneapolis with 73 percent of moms working, Buffalo (NY) with 70.7 percent and St. Louis with 70.6 percent. The three large metro areas with the lowest concentration of working moms: Riverside (CA) with 56.5 percent, San Jose with 57.7 percent and Los Angeles with 57.8 percent. For a detailed breakdown, go to the web site. (June 2007) more

Some Kids Hide Sickness So Mom Doesn’t Lose Job

A new essay by Ellen Bravo, former director of 9to5, in The Nation says that in situations where mothers would be penalized for taking time off from work to care for a sick child, some children who are aware of the situation hide their illness so Mom won’t get into trouble. Bravo quoted an 18-year-old -- whose mother had no paid sick days and lost her job because of her daughter’s illnesses – as saying, "After my mother was fired, I always tried to go to school no matter how I felt. I didn’t want her to be fired again." Bravo and 9to5, an advocacy group for working women, are lobbying lawmakers to pass the Healthy Families Act which would mandate paid sick days for employees. (June 2007)
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Study: Longer Maternity Leave = More Breastfeeding

A Canadian study has found that if mothers are given longer maternity leaves, they’ll breastfeed longer. "As maternity leaves for Canadian women have increased, more mothers have met the six-month breastfeeding target recommended by public health officials," according to CBC news. (June 2007) more

Over 100,000 Federal Employees Telecommute

Almost 7 percent of the federal workforce – that’s 119,248 employees – telecommutes, according to a recent Washington Post story. "Congress has supported the idea of allowing government employees to work from home to ease rush-hour congestion and give agencies a way of continuing basic operations in the event of a catastrophe, such as pandemic flu," the Post reported. However 30 percent of federal employees – such as doctors, forest rangers and those handling "sensitive or classified information" – are ineligible for telecommuting programs, the paper said. (June 2007) more

Motherhood Mellowed Flockhart

Actress Calista Flockhart, star of ABC’s "Brothers & Sisters" and popularly known for playing the character Ally McBeal, told the London’s Daily Telegraph that becoming a mother and taking five years off from acting changed her perspective on life. "I want to do my work, and then I just want to go home and be with my family," she told the paper. Flockhart was able to negotiate a two- to three-day work schedule for "Brothers & Sisters." "I can’t imagine anything better than the situation I have at this very moment," she said. (June 2007) more

Tennis Player Strives To Be First Mom Since 1980 to Win Major Championship

Sybille Bammer, a 27-year-old Austrian tennis player and mother of a soon-to-be 6-year-old daughter, was profiled in the New York Times recently, highlighting her quest to become the first mother to win a major tennis championship since 1980. How does she do it? Her boyfriend, who is also her daughter’s father, left his job to be an at-home dad, the paper reported. (July 2007)
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Medical Board Tells Nursing Mom No Special Breaks

The mother of a newborn who said she needs to express her breastmilk every two to three hours, has been told that she will not be afforded time during a nine-hour medical residency test to express her milk because breastfeeding doesn’t qualify as a disability, according to the Boston Globe. The National Board of Medical Examiners’ manager of disability services told the newspaper that: “Since the general testing room is shared by multiple examinees, the use of a breast pump inside the testing room during the examination would be disruptive to other examinees and is not permitted. Furthermore, the testing rooms do not provide privacy since they are visually monitored.” The chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ breastfeeding division called the decision “possibly letter-accurate, but totally inhumane and insensitive.” (July 2007) more

Australian Working Moms Feel the Stress

A survey conducted by the University of South Australia’s Centre for Work & Life of 1,435 Australians found that while three-quarters of those polled said they were satisfied with their work-life balances, 72.5 percent of women with children reported often or always feeling rushed, according to The Australian. Professor Barbara Pocock, head of the Centre, told the newspaper that women who work part-time reported feeling tremendous pressures. “Australian women have . . . used part-time work as their mechanism of choice,” Pocock said. “I suspect this leads to them having the worst of both worlds in terms of career advancement and time with their families.” (July 2007) more

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