The Alternator has Died
“Oh, just to let you know, I have a meeting at 0730 tomorrow.”
It’s Friday night and we are at the dinner table. Both children are screaming – at each other, at me, at the unfairness of Mommy making them eat real food. My husband has just dropped the proverbial “meeting bomb” on me. I belong to another subset of mom called Military Spouse and his role with this unit takes up a lot of our family time.
Weekend mornings are my time to sleep in because my husband is a morning person. And in my salty, tired mood, I felt robbed. “Good. Great. GRAND,” I say as I grab plates to clear the table.
By now, you may have seen the outpouring of articles from magazine and newspaper outlets about how moms are struggling during this pandemic and we may never recover. We have been forced out of the workforce and are assumed to take on the role of teacher/parent/chef/end-all-be-all.
You already know this. I already know this. If you are reading this you are likely a mom or fellow caregiver on the brink of sanity every single day, just trying to get yourself and your family through the day-to-day shenanigans.
And what seems to be missing from these articles are any action. What are we actually doing to help?
This is a trick question but follow along anyway.
Aviators know what happens when your alternator fails – you have to shed the unnecessary power drains to save all the battery power you can. And that’s what we are doing now – dishes can wait. Laundry doesn’t need to be folded. Takeout food is a lifesaver. But where is the lifeboat? How long is this sustainable? Am I going to make it to the alternate airport?
The truth is, change takes time. I’m not typically a woman of rainbows and positivity but if this sucker-punch of a situation has anything we can take from it, it is that it has made us stare the inequality of the workplace in the fangs.
People can no longer pretend that they didn’t know because it is screaming in their face.
When Jess started Hera, she knew she had something big and important to do. But she also knew it would take time. Our work has just started but it comes with the confirmation that it’s the right thing to do-
Every potential partner who immediately “gets” it.
Every inquiry about scholarships.
Every offer from a volunteer because they feel this mission in their soul.
Every shared story and the screech emitted when you, too, have experienced that same b-s situation.
I remember Dr. Phillips as a professor from undergrad and I thought it was SO COOL that she flew the Airbus. And then I read her blogs (here, here, and here) …and I was furious. How DARE they treat her this way?! The women reading this know it all too well.
And before you think we don’t care about men, we do. I have plenty of dad friends who are working like crazy, dealing with schedules that never settle, and are burned out. We see you. But the sad truth is that moms will always have a different experience and set of expectations. If you are a woman of color and a mom it’s even more dire. All caregivers deserve to have a career and be able to care for their families if they want but sometimes we need to push harder for one group in order to get the changes to benefit everyone.
So, we need your help. We want you to reach out to your employers and check the temperature on the true level of desire to change and balance the field. We need you to share your stories and experiences with us so we can help. Do you need a mentor? Would you like to BE a mentor? Can’t seem to find funding for your next rating? Hera is working in three different spheres to change the culture within aviation: Industry, Organization, and Individual.
If I’ve learned one thing about parents and moms, it’s that, while time is incredibly limited, we can swiftly and efficiently make things happen. Hera has put the wheels in motion. We just need to help each other with the alternator.
Kate Zaranek is the Director of Communications for Hera Aviation Group. She has a bunch of paper on her office wall that allows her to work in aviation and communications. Mother to two sweet but wild Goons, she lives with them and her husband wherever the U.S. Army feels like sending them.