Tuesday, May 05, 2015

More on the baby bust among the "better off"; employers get creative with paid maternity leave

Catherine Rampelll weighs in in the Washington Post on Tuesday May 5, 2015, “The specter of a new baby bust”, p. A15,   but online it seems directed at retirees (for whom I have a separate blog, where I talk about the Social Security and pension issues a lot), “Bad news for older folks: Millennials are having fewer babies”, link here.
People (especially minorities) are having fewer babies out of wedlock, and teen pregnancy is down.  All of this sounds good. But young adults, saddled with college debt, are waiting to have children. Many young couples say they want larger families but can’t afford them and so won’t have them.  The gay marriage debate becomes relevant. A few gay couples may say they want to try surrogate parenting, which is problematic, and others may say they are ready to adopt unwanted children, which is necessary.
The consider this New York Times story, Sunday Business, by Noam Scheiber, “A law firm that lets parents be parents”, talking about the Geller Law Group, a six-woman law firm in northern Virginia. The firm uses a “virtual office” concept and encourages telecommuting and working from home, and is trying to use short term disability insurance creatively to offer paid maternity leave when it becomes necessary.  The article really does lay out the challenges for professionals – especially women – who don’t want to have to “outsource” all of their parental responsibilities. The link is here 

In the 1990s, I began to notice in my own career the tension between those who had “chosen” parenthood and all of its responsibilities, and the childless, with disposable income.  At the time, “gay” was still a proxy for “single and childless”, a notion that has since evaporated.  But in earlier decades (especially during the Reagan years, with all the threats of hostile takeovers), there had been less tension.  Employers had simply expected everyone to do his or her own job, all the time. 

Update: May 10

The New York Times has an article in "The Upshot", "demographic divide", titled "Single motherhood, in decline over all, rises for women 35 and older", link here

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