Work-Life Balance Elusive at 'Family-Friendly' White House

Long hours thwart efforts to make life easier for White House's working parents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2009 10:08 AM CDT
Rahm Emanuel is juggling the raising of three children with his job as White House chief of staff.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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(Newser) – President Obama says he wants to make the White House a family-friendly place for his staffers, but he can't change the simple reality: It's just not a great place to work if you've got kids. The New York Times takes a look at the struggles of Obama aides, from Rahm Emanuel to Christina Romer to Robert Gibbs, to balance their crushing workloads with family life. Among the tales: school visits at 10pm, waking the kids up at 5am for swims, conference calls on the way to day care.

“No matter how much the president tries—and he and Michelle try, they do—the White House is brutal on family life,” says Emanuel, who has three kids. The White House has given staffers with kids laptops so they can work at home, encourages parents to bring children to work, sets up movie screenings, and so on. But it seems to be a losing battle. Sometimes, "it all comes crashing down,” said budget director Peter Orszag, a divorced father of two.
(Read more White House stories.)