Working mothers hear it from everyone — their colleagues when they have to leave on time to pick up their kids, and even other moms who share their unsolicited, shaming opinions about how mothers should really choose working or parenting. Working moms face a lot of discrimination and obstacles and, for celebrity moms, the mom-shaming is on a whole new level because everything they do is in the limelight.
In a recent interview with People, Mindy Kaling, known for her work on The Office and role as writer, producer and star of The Mindy Project, spoke on the stereotypes about working moms. Kaling stars in A Wrinkle in Time, as well, which was released in 2018 just shortly after she welcomed her daughter, Katherine Swati, into the world on Dec. 15, 2017. In her interview, the actress opened up about how she's adjusting to her life as both an actress and a new mom.
“My baby comes to work a couple times a week, and I live 15 minutes away from [work], and I create our schedule, so if I need to take her to the doctor I can,” she told People. “I know that’s not the case for everybody else, and I feel really lucky, but yeah, that’s my life right now."
Though Kaling admitted that she's had a "rarified" experience because she gets to create her own opportunities, she does add that, in any case, "people are worried that because you have kids, you won’t be able to pay more attention.
“Any mother will tell you it makes you so razor-sharp focused on your career because you’re so worried about money," she explained in her interview.
Kaling makes a point. Studies show that mothers are often subjected to the "motherhood penalty," the assumption that women with children are less interested in advancement opportunities. In fact, Cornell researchers conducted a study in which they sent fake résumés to hundreds of employers, and they found that mothers were half as likely to be called back by prospective employers. Another study found that, while men’s salaries increased more than six percent when they had children, women’s decreased four percent for each child they had.
That decrease in pay is cuts deep because, as Kaling said, anyone raising children does have money on their mind, perhaps especially working parents who are also considering the cost of daycare. According to CNN Money, it costs $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015 alone. Throw in the cost of daycare, which averages $11,666 per year (or $972 a month) in the United States, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, and that's a pretty penny.
Kaling believes that, because there are "more mature people working on shows," she thinks the next big push will be to "[make] places so you can be a mom, have your kids, bring your kids to work if you need to."
At least that’s what she and Tracey Wigfield are aiming for on the set of The Mindy Project, Kaling told People. Here's to hoping others will follow suit.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.