No, meetings after 5 p.m. should not be a thing we do.
Last week litigator and dad Jeremy Opolsky tweeted his frustration after being met with skepticism for suggesting that evening professional events are difficult for parents, especially for those with young kids. Working from home has blurred the lines of when work ends and how late meetings can go for, and that is just not feasible for working parents.
On a call today I suggested that 6/630 PM professional events are difficult for parents with young kids. I was met… https://t.co/25ZJWRpPpo— Jeremy Opolsky (@Jeremy Opolsky)1612388255.0
Honestly, I feel this in my bones. As a mom of three under 3 anything after 5 p.m. is impossible for me to attend because that's when the dinner, bath, bedtime ritual begins and doesn't end until 8ish when all kids are snoozing. The replies to Opolsky's tweets show that he (and I) are not alone in this sentiment.
"Five o'clock to eight o'clock are absolutely out of the question. Leaving aside the pressure on us, you're not getting what you're paying for if you're relying on our judgment during all that chaos," said one of the replies, which sheds light on another problem: we can't parent AND work at the same time. One is going to give and it's absolutely unfair to expect a working parent to not be present during the chaotic hours at night.
By the way, the witching hour is pre-programmed in children and we can't escape from it.
Even with all the support the tweet has received, there is a huge elephant in the room that needs to be addressed: it takes men pointing out the problem for it to be addressed, whereas women are just expected to juggle everything and keep going. And maybe that is what has caused more women to exit the workforce more than ever: because we can't do everything. We cannot be expected to do everything and employers need to understand that.
Beyond the chaos, evenings are also for a lot of parents the only time we have with our children. So go ahead and protect that time with your little ones. Because if we don't, no one else will. Block off your calendar so no one can book you, leave the phone in a different room, and if need be, come back to your inbox after everyone has gone to bed. COVID or not, working from home or not, it's time for parents to demand that the time with children during the week is respected. Now and forever.