I asked Corey directly what the impact of listening to The Double Shift had on his perspectives. He follows the news and had seen various articles about the disproportionate impact the pandemic was having on moms, but what really drove it home was to actually hear the real human stories of the impact we often featured on the show. “The stories stuck out to me and made me more comfortable talking to my friends about it. [Listening to the show] made it so I had the vocabulary and the talking points to be able to have informed discussions.” He recalls one member episode in particular, when Angela and I used an invisible labor calculator to tally what we’d earn if we were paid a fair market rate for all of our household and caregiving duties. Corey listened and thought, “the amount of inequity here is just kind of incredible. And it's not something a lot of men have to think about and a lot of fathers have to think about.”
Learning more about care issues has also led Corey to want to expand the conversation even further, beyond just his progressive friends. He’s been thinking about, “how do I get my relatively centrist/conservative family where I grew up to talk about it? I was talking about parental leave with my sister when she realized how little parental leave she actually had. We started talking about what companies in more progressives states were offering, and she was realizing, ‘oh, well, that would have been amazing if I had that.’ And it made me think that there’s a way we can start having a conversation about the repercussions of political leanings or how you vote or who you vote for, or the news that you consume, [and how that impacts something like how much parental leave you get.]”
I have no idea how “typical” Corey is. I'm not writing about him because he’s particularly heroic or influential, but there’s something grassroots-y about his story. I love the impact storytelling has had on him, and his interest in talking about care realities as a way to cut across traditional political divides. I am as guilty as anyone in assuming my non-parent friends aren’t interested in the political or daily lived realities of raising small kids, but this conversation has really inspired me to want to better include non-parents and people of different generations more in these discussions, and not to immediately write them off as “not getting it.” Corey emphasized to me over and over that just because he didn’t have kids didn’t mean he didn’t care about what his friends were going through. Maybe the people in our lives without small children aren’t interested in discussing diaper creams, but if they care about us, they should care about our political, economic and social marginalization. We shouldn’t be shy about sharing it.
So I want to know: do you have any success stories in talking to non-moms about the experience of motherhood in meaningful ways? Have you tried to engage people like Corey (friends, relatives, coworkers) in your care realities? Was it successful? What had an impact? I’d love to hear your stories about this as I continue to write about how to get non-moms to care about care. Reply to this email and tell me about it.
What I’m reading: Three Theories about Why You Have No Time. A few years old, but still relevant.
Will you be at the IWPR’s Power+ Summit in SF next week? Me too. Let me know and maybe I can see ya there!
BTW: We are ramping up our members-only hangouts, the best place to meet like-minded moms who refuse to accept the status quo, IN PERSON at outdoor venues, while keeping up monthly zoom hangouts attended by members worldwide.
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