This video, posted on TakePart and tagged with #HowWeDoIt, should be mandatory viewing for every grown-up who would give their last nickel for a nap. It’s a funny take on an issue that’s anything but funny: Why is it getting so hard to raise a family in America today?
The message of this video is an important reminder that no matter how “together” we try to appear, every single grown person with a workaday job, bills and responsibilities is barely keeping the whole thing together. Like a one-armed plate spinner riding a razor scooter, it’s damn near impossible just to keep it all going these days.
Why has raising a family, holding down a job and knocking out the bills become such herculean tasks that practically no one can do without sacrificing just about everything from their health and well-being to the basics like sleep and a day off every once in a while.
It shouldn’t be this hard. And that’s the point Monica, played by the wildly talented Adrienne C. Moore from Orange Is the New Black, is trying to make in this video. We’re killing ourselves, and it’s going to take all of us to stand up and say we’ve had enough before anything will change, and that’s the message of the video and the corresponding “Make It Work” campaign.
“We can’t all be screwing up, right?” Monica asks in the video. We’ve got to stop pretending like everything is fine and we’ve got it all under control, because you don’t — none of us do. It’s gotten all but impossible for working families to get ahead. Wait, forget that. Who dares to dream about getting ahead? How about just keeping up?
Child care is a huge expense for families, and two-thirds of American households rely on women to earn. And yet women are still making less than men, an average of 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to Make It Work. Women of color make even less. African-American women make 64 cents for every dollar a man makes, and Latina women earn a shocking 54 cents for every dollar.
How is this fair?
And let’s be clear: No one is looking for a free mansion and a butler here. In the video, Monica just wants affordable child care, the occasional sick day and a nap. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot to ask.
But there’s just no time. The average work week for full-time American employees is 47 hours, not 40, and almost 20 percent of the American workforce works more than 60 hours each week. How can there be any time left to do anything but work, sleep and try to function the very best we can?
That’s the problem.
The next time I’m sitting at the kids’ school and looking around, wondering how all these other parents seem so together, so in charge of their own destinies, I’m going to remember Monica and how much I hope she finally got that nap she deserved.
If you have your own hero story about how you and your family do it, share it on social media with the tag #HowWeDoIt. Because it’s going to take all of us to make things even a tiny bit easier.
By the way, you deserve a nap and a day off too.