Sheera Frenkel is a reporter with the NYT who had a story land on the front page this week. TV news outlets got all up in her dms instantly requesting her for their programs. In the 24/7/365 news cycle, the beast must be fed every second the clock. When news breaks it breaks now, happens now, and is covered now.

They wanted her, and Frenkel felt the pressure to say yes. She frantically juggled her work and family life to make the tv appearance, but then took to twitter in a rant about what life is like as a “working mom.”

I’ve got many problems with what happened and her reaction.

First, the twitter thread:

BEING IN THE NEWS CYCLE IS EXHAUSTING

I’ve gone viral with stories in the past. I know what it’s like to have your inbox filled with immediate request for comment. It’s intimidating, it’s suffocating, it’s stressful. You want to help, but the problem is everyone wants you NOW. It’s hard to do all the things.

I’m also in media, so I have been one of those people demanding time of people in the news cycle. We can be relentless and devoid of empathy in our requests. We know we have a 3 minute slot to fill, we know you’re in the news, we want you for our show. Media often treats viral guests as disposable; they get the story, and move on to the next shiny object.

It’s exhausting to be in the news cycle. It really is.

NEWS MEDIA NEEDS EMPATHY

The immediate demands made of Frenkel weren’t completely fair. In an era of Facebook Live and FaceTime, having a guest come on a show live from anywhere in the world is possible – and acceptable.

It’s 2018, sometimes kids crash interviews with experts over foreign policy.

Frenkel explained her scheduling issues and they should have let her come on remotely. We, as media, need to have empathy for our guests, appreciate how exhausting the news cycle is for them (not just for us) and make more efforts to make appearing on program easier for … working PARENTS!

IT’S NOT A WORKING MOM PROBLEM

Frenkel consistently genders her complaints by identifying what life is like for a working mom. She complains that networks aren’t accomodating to working moms, that being a working mom means waking up early with kids, and struggling to find care. Everything she talks about is through the lens of a “working mom.”

To be fair, that’s her reality: she’s a working mom. But it’s not a “working mom” problem, it’s a “working parent” problem.

I’m a dad with a career. My wife is a mom with a career. Together we juggle our schedules to accommodate the caregiving needs of our kids with the needs of our respective careers.

We BOTH do that. When she was out of town for a week on business, and I had to be at the office for 4am for my radio show, I called on a friend to come to our house and sit until the boys woke up and then take them to daycamp.

I’m a working parent, and balance is a struggle sometimes. It just is. When you’re a parent, things change. I’ve even had to drag the kids to work with me on occasion, because sometimes that’s what being a working parent means.

Today I was asked to host something important for my radio station but had to say no because it’s still summer vacation, the boys don’t have daycamp, we don’t have care, and I’m on duty to look after my sons this week.

Sometimes I can juggle. Sometimes I can drag them along with me. Sometimes I have to say no.

Working PARENTS have issues with work/life demands.

It’s not a mom thing, it’s not a dad thing. IT’S A PARENTING THING.

To underline her issues as a women’s issue perpetuates misandrist and misogynist stereotypes that dads work and moms look after kids – that’s not reality.

TREAT WORKING PARENTS EQUALLY BY ENDING STEREOTYPES

The only solution to all this is to treat working parents equally. Josh Levs, author of All In, is working to break down the myths about moms and dads. So many workplace policies only focus on women as caregivers.

Check out his remarks here:

It sucks that Sheera Frenkel felt so stressed out by her media appearance requests. The networks should have been more accommodating. But Frenkel needs to step outside her gender bias and appreciate the struggle she experiences is one that men and women both feel. Shouting out that working parents don’t have it easy moves the ball farther down the field that complaining about what it’s like for working moms.

Dads are parents too.

Working dads need just as much (or more) support to be accepted as involved parents who juggle all the things as working moms do.

 

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