Takeaways from ‘The Working Mom’s Playbook to Quarantine’ Panel Discussion
We learned how to compartmentalize work for sanity, presence and productivity but the separation is part of what makes it hard. Hiding the messiness of child-rearing from work and the appetite of work from our families, was tiring.
Now we’re trying to work, find work or start businesses during a pandemic and cultural revolution. Samantha Skey moderated a thoughtful discussion during last month’s BlogHer event with Super Mamas Karolina Kurkova, Eve Rodsky and Dara Tresseder.
They shared what they’ve embraced amidst the chaos and the need to change our systems at home. Now is a tumultuous yet perfect time to reexamine everything we’re doing. Remember, most of us were not emotionally or physically well before COVID19.
Please enjoy the key takeaways.
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
“I’ve learned during this time how important it is to bring your full self to whatever it is you’re doing. It’s been interesting that for first time we’re seeing each other’s homes. We’re getting to meet each other’s kids, spouses and pets sometimes because they just unintentionally walk into meetings. There’s an intimacy that comes with that. It’s weird because we’re physically apart but we’re connecting more with our full lives. I was in an important meeting and my son was like, ‘Mommy I need to go potty’ and that’s real life. Bringing that fullness of our experience isimportant and I hope that intimacy and connection is something that we don’t lose. “She added, “I was always sort of out working so whenever I was at home, I could be completely present with my kids. My kids didn’t really have insight into my working life and now they do.” Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon, Board Member & Investor
You Have Permission to be Unavailable
“…It’s having that permission to be unavailable. Fair Play started eight years ago from a text my husband sent me that said ‘I’m surprised you didn’t get blueberries’ and it was a day very similar to now where I had a breast pump in a diaper bag in the passenger seat of my car, a client contract in my lap, because I thought starting a business was going to be easier than being in the corporate workforce and I was racing to pick up my older son from his toddler transition program. …When I thought my husband was treating me like the fulfiller of his smoothie needs, I realized I did not have the career or marriage I thought I would have. So that led me on an 8-year quest to realize that having it all does not mean doing it all.” Eve Rodsky, NYT Best Selling Author of Fair Play
Share the ‘Dirty Dozen’ With Your Partner at Home
“I’ve found that the smallest details are creating the biggest problems. I had a COO tell me that the greatest problem in her life is getting her husband to remember to take out the kitty litter, not running her publicly traded company. What I’m seeing in quarantine is that the dirty dozen of laundry, groceries, meals, home supplies — who’s buying those masks — tidying up, cleaning, dishes, garbage, discipline, screen time for kids, homework which has now become homeschool, watching of children and social interactions for kids, are falling on women and that is unsustainable.” Eve Rodsky, NYT Best Selling Author of Fair Play
Involve The Kids Too
“I think for the first time our kids are seeing a lot of the ‘normal things’ at home because we’re usually at work. …Even at home a lot of us are learning we have to work together. It’s not all on mommy or one person. We’re a family and we need to work together as a team. If we want to do fun things together then we also need to do the not so fun things. There’s the vacuuming, laundry and picking up toys.” Karolina Kurkova, Entrepreneur & Co-Founder Grph & Ivy Rose and Masks for All.
Communicate When Emotions are Low
“So many very powerful women say that they use their voice everywhere else except for in the home. We can create these practices of communication that start with this idea, that when emotion is high, cognition is low. If you’re working Mom right now emotion is high. It’s a communication shift not to give feedback in the moment and recognize it’s toxic when emotion is high. Invest in a practice of communication (with your partner) for 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes a night has saved our lives, for my husband and I, we set a timer so we’re not long winded. We invest in our communication like we’re investing in toilet paper! It’s more effective than meditation, use that 10 minutes instead to connect with your partner.” Eve Rodsky, NYT Best Selling Author of Fair Play
Avoid the Time Traps
“We view men’s time as finite, like diamonds and we view and value women’s time as infinite, like sand. And we know this from the workplace, because we have not gotten there yet with equal pay. And if you’re a woman of color, you earn sixty cents versus one dollar for a white man. What I wasn’t prepared for, was watching the most powerful women guard men’s time like diamonds and treat their own time like sand by believing things like, ‘in the time it takes me to tell him what to do, I might as well do it myself’ and ‘I’m a better multitasker.’ All of these things I call toxic time messages are profoundly untrue, but we do them because we’re conditioned to guard men’s time.” Eve Rodsky, NYT Best Selling Author of Fair Play
Yes, You Still Need a Schedule in Lockdown
“Usually, I’m a spontaneous person but during this time I’ve tried to build a routine and schedule. We’re all stuck at home not doing the things we usually do or the things we love to do — that bring us peace or enable us to channel our energy in the right direction. It’s actually important to schedule time for creativity. Or (choose) ‘this is time I’m going to use to think.’ Or ‘this is time I’m going to use to read.’ Or (decide) ‘I’m going to use this time to write, I’m tired right now but I committed to myself to start to put something out there and I’m going to make the most of it.’ When you schedule it, then you can be more intentional.” Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon, Board Member & Investor
We were already awash in broken systems in our homes, careers and culture before the pandemic. Although the future is fuzzy don’t worry about restoring what was. What we had sucked. Progress towards valuing all people and work as ‘essential’ was abysmal. We felt exhausted by the climb and lacked adequate supplies to ever reach the top.
Modern work wasn’t really working for the modern workforce – not caregivers or people of color. So, let’s take deep breaths through the disruption and create better structures that promote real wellbeing.
Share your experiences of how life has changed during social distance, it’s quick and the results from this study will be used to advocate better support for parents.
Employers, let us help you transform your workplace into an environment where caregivers thrive. Learn about Allies @ Work.