Mothers Work

Today's column featured a group of accomplished working mothers weighing in on the new movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It." As is often the case, I had three times as much material as I could fit in my allotted space in print.

So behold, a few gems that wound up on the editing floor:

* Jill Brook, a teacher from Media, shared what may be the most embarrassing working Mom story ever: She got her daughter fired from day care.

Brook had just finished a long day when she arrived at her sitter's house. She knocked and entered as usual, only to hear her 17-month-old howling from afar. The panicked mother ran toward the sobs, which seemed to be coming from behind a closed door.

"I barged in on my sitter in the bathroom," Brook confessed. The little girl was safe, but the Mom-caregiver relationship soured by the too-intimate encounter.

* Farha Ghannam, the Swarthmore anthropology professor originally from Jordan, noted that with no family in the area and a husband with a demanding career of his own, she had to line up a team of babysitters after the birth of her daughter.

"The first year, I had 10 babysitters doing 3-hour shifts," she shared. All were college students. One was a young man, providing the scholar with insight into American views on gender and caregiving.

"Nobody ever noticed the female sitters," she said. "They only noticed John."

* Tax lawyer and blogger Kelly Phillips Erb eliminated some work-life dilemmas by operating a firm with her husband, but as a business-owner she couldn't afford to take maternity leave. She still works crazy hours, but finds time to volunteer at her children's school. And prospective employees are advised of the three wee ones who often hang around but bill no hours.

"My kids have business cards that say, Office Kid," she informed. "That's how we live our life."

-- Monica Yant Kinney

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