In Today's Day, We All Gotta Work

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Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett’s patient DaNayah and her parents walk toward the exam room; Dr. Boynton-Jarrett chats with parents. DaNayah looks at her father’s iPhone.

Erica Burks-Cummings, mother:

I work 40 hours a week. Leroy works sometimes 60 hours a week. He works a split-shift, so like 2:00 in the afternoon to about 1:00, 2:00 in the morning.

NARRATOR: Leroy is a driver and mechanic. Erica a nurse. Combined they work more than 100 hours a week. In fact, Americans work more hours annually than most all of our peer nations.

Leroy Campbell, father:

In today’s day, we all gotta work. I can remember back in like my grandfather’s days, you know, the men work, the ladies, the woman stay home and take care of the house and, you know, family things like that. In today’s day, it surely can’t happen. Everybody’s gotta go and work and, you know what I’m saying, bring it in.

NAR: A growing percentage of Americans work unreliable, precarious schedules, which can change from week to week depending on employers’ demands.

Erica Burks-Cummings:

In society today, it’s hard. I do rotating nights, so I’m on nights this week, so then next week though I’ll be on days. So it kind of balances out that way…

DaNayah, child:

Da da!

Renee Boynton-Jarrett, Pediatrician and Epidemiologist, Boston Medical Center:

Parents are juggling, shifting, trying to balance a variety of competing demands that there just don’t seem like there are easy or reasonable solutions. It leads to a level of tension and stress. Is this what we’ve decided as society, that this degree of tension, these complex trade-offs are the norm, to be expected, just a part of raising a child?