Nothing better illustrates the challenge working parents face than the personal stories and experiences of working parents themselves. Moms, dads, grandparents, guardians, adoptive parents — we want to hear from you.
Read the stories of working parents across Ohio
As a parent, I raised my 5 children during the 70's and eighties. The laws were so unfair, I decided to run my own business and hired staff so I could be an active parent when school plays, teacher conferences, etc. were necessary. My husband also switched to 2nd shift when I went back to corporate work. It was challenging and in those days, I had to go on Disability and it only covered 6 weeks. I was breastfeeding. My husband would bring my daughter to me during lunch and we had to go to a nearby park to feed her!
I was also a Certified Child birth Educator, teaching pregnant couples how to also advocate for fathers in the delivery room. We made a lot of progress but there is still a long way to go for equality in parental leave. The U.S. is so behind!
I was a new mother working at University Hospitals. In order to get maternity leave, I filed for FMLA (which guaranteed 12 weeks unpaid leave) and Short Term Disability. Short Term Disability requires using accrued time off for the first week, and then it covers 60% for 5 weeks. The other 40% is covered through accrued time off or unpaid time off (if not enough PTO is accrued).
Knowing this arrangement, I started saving my time off the moment I found out I was pregnant and only took days when absolutely necessary. I was able to save enough to take a total of 7 weeks off after my daughter was born. I could not take any more than that because I could not afford to take any unpaid time. The department I worked for at University Hospitals was extremely generous and allowed me to work part-time from home and part-time from the office for the remaining 5 weeks of my FMLA to make the transition back to work easier. At 12 weeks, my daughter started at daycare and I went back to work full-time.
Once I returned to work, a few superiors remarked on my returning and seeing it as an accomplishment, which I found to be an odd statement.
UH accommodated my desire to feed my child breast milk, and allowed my to pump when necessary without having to use time off. They also provided the pumps for us in the designated pumping rooms.
Overall, even though I returned to work at just 7 weeks, I would say it was a pretty positive experience.
I am a 66 year old grandmother. Being divorced, I was the only support for my two girls. I worked for one of the largest companies in the world. I was in a traditionally male role which only compounded my experience. I suffered discrimination that was flagrant and frightening. Forced to work nights, I was in a constant state of worry about my children. Sexual harassment was the norm. Salaries were considered "personal and confidential" to hide the serious difference in pay with my male counterparts. This company added insult to injury and stripped salaried employees of all benefits, even reducing my life insurance from 250k to a flat 10k. I feel used and abused by them and hope that they've learned how to treat women in the workplace but I doubt it.
Each time I enrolled in school (required for promotion) they changed my shift just long enough to ensure I would never finish. I missed my eldest child's eighth grade graduation because of the threat of dismissal. The nightmare I survived at the hands of that organization has left me scarred. I am now a licensed realtor and have a job that I love. I'm grateful for my former employer, they provided me the means to raise my children, but kept me in a state of anguish the entire time I worked there.
I tried to get work while pregnant with my first son. I got the answer, "Well can you work? I'm not concerned about you being a mother."
During my 6-week FMLA for the birth of my first child, my female manager at a Fortune 500 company (Progressive Insurance) made an internal hire for someone to do 50% of my job. Prior to my leave, I trained a temporary replacement for my work, completed a large project and documented my work. I expected to return to work to take on new responsibilities due to the legal protection of FMLA. I believed my manager was supportive of my leave since they were also a working parent themselves. A month before I was due to have the baby, my spouse was laid off from their company due to downsizing. We needed FMLA and my insurance coverage while they looked for work.
Upon returning to work after 6-weeks, I had a performance review and was given a minimal standard salary increase and positive reviews for the project I finished before I went out. Then I learned that half my job would go to someone who had been hired during my 6-week leave. With a new baby and no other insurance it was clear my FMLA leave wasn’t upheld and my job was threatened. Then within months, my manager started pressuring me about splitting responsibilities and sent us both to a HR to discuss dividing the work. I began to look for another job and then transferred to another position in the company. While, I was eager for the new job and new direction in my career, my former manager than began to say negative things about me to my new manager as part of the transfer from one department to another.
I went to HR for help with a difficult project assignment because I no longer felt I could navigate my workload with these managers. Despite the companies open door policy that protects these conversations from retaliation, my manager than questioned me about talking with HR . The retaliation continued. Management then cornered a peer on my project team who lied about my work. When I asked the peer why they lied, they confessed to me they were scared for their own job within the IT organization. As a breastfeeding mother, the stress compounded from workplace retaliation. Despite written advice from my doctor that I submitted to management, my manager continued to retaliate against me and I was forced out of the company.
I am a single parent working full time job while driving a hour to work, having to pay for daycare. I get up everyday at 5:00am, get my son up for daycare and out the door by 6am. I work till 5 then pick him up, cook dinner, do homework, take baths, household chores and still have to manage to keep myself clean. Everyday is a struggle and hardly no time with my child. Weekends free arent spent " free", their playing catch up or attending parties etc. Its a loving but yet never ending struggle to maintain.
Learn More About Your Rights as a Working Parent
- Ohio Revised Code 124.136: Parental leave and benefits.
- Read the ACLU blog Why Trump’s Newest Parental Leave Proposal Still Doesn’t Cut It
- Read our client's blog, I Want to Be My Child’s Primary Caregiver...
- Read about our lawsuit; charge of discrimination
Visit Our Women's Rights and Reproductive Freedom Issue Pages.