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Is Office Flextime Just a Women’s Issue?


I just can’t shake (and giggling at) Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment from Tuesday’s debate, and thanks to Facebook, Tumblr, and even Amazon, I’m sure you can’t either.

But The Salt over at NPR today brought up a lesser-latched-onto quote from the former Massachusetts governor:           

"My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can't be here until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. I need to be able to get home at 5:00 so I can be there for — making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said, fine, let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you."

Critics are calling Romney’s comment blatantly sexist, implying that women are the only gender that makes home life a priority and that life/work balance is a “women’s issue.” I love that Romney is cool with the idea of flex time—more people should be. The problem with Romney’s statement is that he perpetuated two things: 1) the working-mom stereotype—that is, we’re less dedicated employees, and 2) flex time is for sissies.

Plus: Study Says Moms Who Work Full-Time Are Healthier

Honestly, it’s not just Mitt Romney. The majority of corporate America shares the same viewpoint. At my old workplace, these flex workers were dubbed “the mommy pool,” even though the majority of the women worked harder in their reduced hours than most full-timers did in eight hours. There wasn’t a dad in the bunch. But it makes me wonder how many dads out there dream of leaving work to pick up their kids at school but are afraid to speak up for flex time for fear of falling into the slacker stereotype and saying sayonara to golf games, perks and promotions. C’mon, Marissa Mayer didn’t get to be CEO of Yahoo! by rushing home to cook a casserole.

So, tell us, how’s your life/work balance working out for you? Does dad work flexible hours to accommodate family life? Leave a comment.

(And if you just can’t make it home for dinner, keep this is mind: a new study that says family dinners may not be all they’re cracked up to be.)