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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Beyonce: Lyrics for the Modern Mom.

Actress and singer Beyonce Knowles’ latest hit "If I Were a Boy [1]" is, naturally, a love song. The premise is that men would be more understanding lovers if each did a stint as a woman. The lyrics are haunting and wistful, filled with longing -- to be a boy, and to be better understood as a woman.

 

If I were a boy
Even just for a day
I’d put myself first
And make the rules as I go

 

 

Hearing the song over and over on the radio as I chauffeur my kids to school and sports and the supermarket made me think not about love – but about how juggling career and family would be easier if men and women had a chance to trade places, even just for a day. How would balancing work and family be different if we working mamas were all men?

 

This is how my lyrics would go (not quite as lyrical as Sasha Fierce, I admit):

 

 


If I were a man

Bosses would give sick days

When our kids were sick

School holidays would come

With good childcare plans

Our taxes would pay

For neighborhood childcare centers

(We’ve got fire and police stations – why not?)

Judges and politicians making family leave laws

Would have to spend one week alone

Taking care of three or more kids

All by themselves

Parents could bring babies to work

For six months at least

Lactation rooms would have views

As nice as corporate conference rooms

Paternity leave

Would be mandatory

Ditto for child support

Working parents would get annual awards

For best juggling acts

Instead of a baby shower when we leave work

We’d get a party when we came back

Economists would spend more time

On the gender pay gap

They’d find a formula -- like the consumer price index

To calculate a stay-at-home mom’s pay grade

My husband would consider laundry, groceries and diapers
Part of his job, not a favor for me

And on Mother’s Day

Instead of crumbs in my bed

I’d get a massage and pedicure

And dinner to eat while it’s still warm

 

 

However, despite the unique challenges I’ve faced as a working mom, I’ve never wanted to be a man. I’m with Golda Meir [2], former prime minister of Israel and mother of two, who famously said:

 

"It's the men who are discriminated against. They can't bear children. "

 

I’d never really trade places with my husband. I love being a mom, with all its complexities and frustrations. But Beyonce is right: our world would be better if we could be boys for a day and fix the challenges moms face juggling work and family. These problems are not big ones compared to, um, the mortgage crisis or the global economic meltdown. They can all be solved if our country gets motivated to help moms find true balance between work, family, and community responsibilities. My guess is Beyonce is also right that just a day is how long it would take.


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