I got a summons for jury service last fall.I know that some people think jury duty offers a fascinating glimpse into the court system; they feel all civic-minded (and revel in the “hey can’t make that meeting because I’m on jury duty” excuse).
So you can imagine my joy when a friend told me that full-time caregivers with children under the age of 12 can request exemptions from jury service.
I got myself down to Centre Street, wandered around from building to building trying to figure out where I should stand in line, finally found the right line, stood there, stood there, stood there. Realized that I was nervous – as if I were about to be arrested for crimes I didn’t even know I’d committed.
When it was my turn, some very friendly fellow looked at the birth certificates for Liam and Caleb, looked at the form I’d filled out, made a few notes on a piece of paper, and said I’d be removed from the list until Caleb was old enough to be in kindergarten full time.
Et voila! No jury for me, for at least two years.
But my exemption presents me with a very modern math problem: how is it that I can be a full-time caregiver AND have a full-time job?
I’m lucky: my job has the strange rhythms of the college school year, but lots of other parents don’t have that luxury and they still confront the same math problem: full-time worker, full-time caretaker, one one-hundred-and-sixty-eight-hour week.
So while a jury duty exemption helps a teeny bit, it doesn’t help when you’re supposed to be giving a power-point talk about human resource development at the same time as you’re supposed to be applauding your son’s fourth grade dance recital.
Clearly, until our society figures out how to solve this particular math problem, we should all give birth to Hermione Granger time-turners at the same time as our children slide into the world.