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The Challenges New Moms Face in the Beverage Industry

Maternity struggles, the casual new follow-up to Meadowood, and other news in this weekly roundup from the editor

bartender Barry Brecheisen

This post originally appeared in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of her favorite food and restaurant stories — both on and off Eater — each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

This Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Paris for the P(our) Symposium, speaking about the challenges new moms face in the beverage industry. To prepare, I’ve been chatting with a lot of female bartenders and brand ambassadors over the last month to get a sense of their struggles.

The issues surrounding a lack of paid leave in the United States are fairly commonplace (as I learned covering the restaurant industry side of it last year). The majority of mothers in the hospitality industry barely qualify for unpaid leave, and few get leave that’s paid. Pregnancy can be more of a struggle when you’re working on your feet and living shift to shift. And then there’s the stigma of being pregnant and working around alcohol. Customers made inappropriate comments to bartenders, sommeliers, even wait staff that I spoke with, implying they were irresponsible mothers because of their profession.

I had already suspected all of that. What I hadn’t thought much about was how hard it is to arrange childcare while working nighttime hours and operating on a different schedule from your child. With some exceptions, daycares don’t operate at night. One-on-one care is almost twice as expensive and can become exorbitant if you’re trying to find someone willing to work unusual hours (nannies often have families of their own to take care of, after all). On top of that, kids wake up really early. Every. Day. They don’t care if you just got home from a long shift at 3 a.m.

There are upsides, though. The bar world is flexible; you can organize your days to spend more time with your children than a typical 9-5 worker can. And there seems to be a real sense of community in that sphere.

Anyway, wish me luck. I’ll send around a link to the video of the talk once it’s live.

charter oak
Charter Oak
Kelly Puleio

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