I have a response that is completely unscientific and based solely on my personal experience and observations. I have worked more than 30 years in legal offices where 100 % of the support staff, from receptionists to secretaries to paralegals, were female and approximately 40% of the attorneys were female. In every instance, the females, no matter what their positions, who were in the midst of having families were also in charge of all or nearly all of the childcare and household duties in their homes. Even those who could afford to hire help were in charge of the hiring and scheduling of said help and took over the duties of housekeepers and nannies when the hired help called in sick, had emergencies, or took vacations. These family-building women opted for flexible work schedules and lighter workloads when available and if they could afford any accompanying adjustments in pay. Not necessarily because they wanted to but because they HAD to. And, in every case, once the woman was no longer having children and once existing children were older, the woman resumed full workloads and schedules, as well as accepting overtime and increased responsibilities, many moving into new and more demanding positions.

The law firms that successfully sailed through these work-life adjustments were those who accommodated the fluctuating needs of their female staff and those who had staff of varying ages. The younger or older women or others not engaged in having families picked up the extra work for those who needed fewer hours or lighter workloads. And, when the tables turned, those who already had older children picked up the slack for the new mothers. It was women supporting woman who kept the offices and homes running smoothly.

The same held true as female employees aged and assumed elder-care responsibilities for their own parents and often their husband’s parents. Definitely not duties they wanted but which were foisted upon them.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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