We were supposed to have it all.
When I grew up, they told us it would be easy for a woman to be a mother and still have a dynamic, fulfilling career. They just forgot to mention the two things she would need first. A husband. And a wife.
Back in the ’70s, they told us we didn’t have to grow up to be June Cleaver, Leave It To Beaver’s mother. But they left out a few things. Sure, June could put on Ward’s pants and head off to work all day. But then somebody would still have to come home, put on an apron, and wash the pants.
“No problem,” we said. “June and Ward will divide all household tasks evenly and approach them as equals.” And although Ward’s half of the tasks never involve anything requiring him to get his hands wet, things seem to work for a few years. But eventually a little Wally comes along, and then little Beaver, if June’s maternity benefits hold out. So June and Ward head off to Lamaze class and divide up the tasks ahead. June gets to push an object the size of a basketball through an opening the size of a marble, plus gets an episiotomy and stretch marks. Ward gets to tell her to breathe, doles out the ice chips like they were diamonds, and takes videos of that special moment when June screams, “If you’re filming that, you impregnating testosterone-poisoned Y-chromosome, I’ll geld you with a forceps.”
Six weeks later June’s maternity leave is running out, so she starts looking for daycare. She doesn’t ask much—just the three M’s: Mary Poppins, Minimal housekeeping, and Minimum wage. Soon she’ll settle for the three A’s: Affordable (if she and Ward give up luxuries like food and clothing), Available, and Alive. Eventually, June and Ward hire an undocumented immigrant as nanny, and Wally and the Beaver grow up speaking Swahili. Everything works out well until June is tapped for a high government position, and the press finds out they haven’t paid taxes on the nanny. Before it’s over, June’s career is in a nose dive. Wally is in therapy. The Beaver has retained an attorney and is suing for divorce from his parents on the grounds that calling your child “The Beaver” constitutes child abuse. The nanny files a #MeToo claim against Ward, who leaves to become an activist for the mens movement.
But one day as June is sitting in her lawyer’s office waiting to discuss custody arrangements for Wally and the Beaver, she happens to pick up an old copy of Business Horizons. She reads an article about the Japanese system of keiretsu, where top executives form alliances in which each has a financial stake in the others’ companies. The keiretsu has two main advantages: long-range planning is encouraged on a broad scale, and the members get rich.
June decides to form the Mom’s Keiretsu, dedicated to every mother’s inalienable right to the occasional night’s sleep, liberal credit limits, and the pursuit of a runless $1.99 pantyhose. MK starts small, with representatives of essential industries: Mom’s SUVs, Mom’s Pediatric Antibiotics, and Mom’s Daycare.
For example of how this works:
- Pediatric antibiotics are expensive in the USA due to all the research and development investment in designing those childproof caps, tamper-resistant packaging, and
free flashlights imprinted with the product logo and first class tickets to beachfront seminars in the Bahamaseducational materials for physicians.
- SUVs are expensive because they try to appeal to male drivers by adding frills like sporty styling and sunroofs.
- Daycare is expensive because it’s daycare.
- SO MK offers the suppliers of Mom’s SUVs guaranteed discounts on pediatric antibiotics and daycare in exchange for price breaks on parts.
- Next Mom’s SUVs redesigns its product to appeal to mothers. By scrapping features moms don’t care about—salesmen, cruise control, spare tire, engine—they’re able to add essential features: the baby-changing station, in-seat potty, and cappuccino-maker. Even with the optional backseat video system & french fry dispenser, the new Mom’s SUV still costs less than $3000 and you can buy it on lay-away at WalMart.
When Mom’s Keiretsu can get medicated kids to daycare in cheap SUVs, they’ll look around for ways to expand their operations. First they’ll assign all available scientists to solving world problems: inventing a cure for cancer, ending world hunger, designing a bathing suit that covers stretch marks without making your stomach look like it’s made of cheese curds.
Once Mom’s Keiretsu has reorganized the economy, its next task will be the government. First MK would have a garage sale to get rid of all that stuff that’s just been sitting around gathering dust, like the Smithsonian, the Senate, North Dakota…
Then MK would tell the Pentagon,
If you want to conduct operations off somewhere else, you’ll have to organize carpools. And as far as we can tell, there’s plenty of wear left in your old weapon systems. So if you want to buy new ones, you’ll have to have a magazine drive or a bake sale.
Yes, Moms are going to make a brave new world out there. And in the meantime, just remember the Moms’ Keiretsu motto: The hand that rocks the cradle doesn’t need to rule the world—it would be happy just to have a diversified stock portfolio and a well-funded retirement plan.