When we talk about the challenge for today’s workers in finding balance between work and family, many may think of the need to telecommute, change work hours, or take a little time out of the workforce to be with children. Translated into pop culture, they think of movies like I Don’t Know How She Does It, where Sarah Jessica Parker plays a finance executive breadwinner, or the upcoming movie version of Lean In, which is sure to to center around the story of a professional woman like the book’s author Sheryl Sandberg and her fight for better parking and maternity leave when women get pregnant.
HBO’s Paycheck to Paycheck shows us a portrayal of women’s lives that’s less about work/life balance and more about work/life survival.
The movie is produced in association with the Shriver Report, a project that focuses on providing women a path to success. According to the group, one in three women –- 42 million total –- live in poverty or just on the brink, and 13 million are mothers of young children. Paycheck to Paycheck gives us a rare glimpse into one such woman’s life: Katrina Gilbert, a single mother of three children under the age of seven trying to make life balance while earning $9.49 an hour as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home.
“Balance,” for her, looks like a constant string of impossible choices.