I think my ideal utopian world, though, would have part-time work as well-regarded and appropriately compensated (i.e. not only available for shitty by-the-hour jobs but also for professional work, perhaps as a job share). I think a hardworking, skilled/trained person should be able to support their family (adequate food and shelter, not private school and tropical holidays) on one salary, or on two part-time salaries, and that should be normal and widely available. I think it would be great if everyone could work part-time - I think we'd all be a lot happier. I think it's partly that as a society we teach children to take pride in their career, not to take pride in their family or in doing things for themselves or in their hobbies which don't earn them money. I just wish people could say when they work because they need some time to be an adult rather than a parent and not be accused of basically hating their children, rather than having to pretend it's for other reasons. It would be so nice too if fathers could feel equally free to cut back on their hours or even give up work in order to look after their children without being "less of a man".
Preaching to the choir here. The best time of my life has been working part time. I felt like I had the best of both worlds.
It didn't really matter that I needed to pay for full time childcare.
I would work 6 hours a day, but needed about 7 hours of childcare, which is the same price as 8 or 9 hours. So 75% of the pay for full time child care.
The advantages: wiggle room for those 30 hours a week. I used MUCH less vacation time. If I needed time off for the doctor, dentist, sick time, school program (me or the kids), I could take it. No biggie. If it was 2 hours, I had 2 whole weeks to make up those hours whenever. Heck, I could skip lunch 2 days, and there you go.
I could have a leisurely morning with the kid/ kids, AND then get off at 3. Pick them up at child care/ school, take them to the park, play, do homework, and STILL have time to cook dinner!
At 30 hours, I still got vacation (just less of it) and health insurance. I was a lot more focused at work because I wasn't exhausted, and got almost as much done.
Unfortunately, *most* tech jobs aren't set up that way, and for no good reason. Over the last couple of decades, I've just seen companies increase the work load. The assumption is 50 hours a week. If you aren't interested in doing that, then you simply aren't dedicated. You aren't worth whatever your title is, because obviously you don't care enough. Nevermind that you still have the skills to do the job, and you just only want to do the job for 30 hours.
My husband told me a couple of weeks ago "I can tell I'm middle aged". I asked "how". He said "well, despite getting paid a decent amount, I really don't care to work overtime." (and he works in a rare company that pays engineers by the hour - not 1.5x, but if he works 50 hrs, he gets paid for it.) So his company is super busy with a lot of contracts right now. He said "I just want to work my 40 and come home and hang out with my family."
We're going to be experimenting for one week this summer - we are skipping a week of summer camp for the older child (10 yo). We are going to split the work day and do a little bit of work from home. We do that occasionally when someone is sick, but there is always the pressure to work more. I think that's the hardest part - the pressure to do more, the guilt that you aren't doing more. You know, I've come to realize that unrealistic expectations really aren't my problem. Sorry, I have a baseball game to get to. Yes, I will do that project, after these other 5.
And as far as admitting what we want. I can afford to stay at home. I admit it all the time. I do not want to stay at home. I would *love* to work PT again, but my company and boss will not allow it. However, I have a very flexible schedule now. So I work late on the 2x a week that I need to be here for meetings. And I leave early whenever I want on the other days.