Stronger Couples | Strong Relationship | Mom’s Hierarchy Of Needs

Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids

“I had read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and the counter points by Anne-Marie Slaughter. So, there was this conversation happening,” said Donielle Buie, Human Resource Leader and Work/Life expert, “And I agree, we need to change policy. But I kept thinking to myself, there’s a woman right now who’s got two kids and is ready to quit her job! She can’t figure out how to make this all work. And I didn’t feel like people were talking about that enough. Or how to make these decisions related to career and family. So, that was my foray into the work/life space.”

Almost half of Mothers take time out of the workforce due to childcare. But Donielle has done what few have. She downshifted, opted out and then came back, professionally stronger. Millions of Moms are deciding to lean into, out of or back from, their careers through Covid. And historically, women don’t fare well when they opt out. But Donielle’s journey is a masterclass on how to navigate the care and career fit.

What About Parental Leave?

Donielle experienced the reality of navigating leave with her first child. “It was like, you had a baby? Here is a $5,000 stipend on top of disability. I worked at a small company so, they gave us dollars on top of short-term disability. But didn’t have a more formal extended leave policy. Even with that, I took unpaid leave because I wanted to be home for 6 months,” she said. “I thought, we should have parental leave because people had kids. Why don’t we have a better policy? Then as we started thinking about having a second, it was sort of like, okay how in the heck are Continue reading “Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids”

Free Yourself from the Soul Crushing Disputes About Who does What

How Gamification Can Save Your Marriage…And Your Sanity

“I love you and I don’t want to break up our life. I really want to stay married. But you have to start looking at my time as valuable,” said Eve Rodsky, Entrepreneur & New York Times Best Selling-Author, to her husband. That conversation changed her life. Eve, like many Moms, was overwhelmed managing a schedule with no room for error or downtime. She said, “It was the unfairness of watching him every night be able to just get into the bed and watch a documentary, finish a PowerPoint deck and workout, while I worked in service to our household until midnight.”

In the US, Moms partnered with Dads still choreograph and do most of the housework and childcare. In our pandemic study, although men are stepping up, only 30% of respondents cite their partners are helping out more. So, conflict between couples continues to rise. Without onsite school or childcare and the bulk of housework falling onto Moms, like caged tigers, we’re eviscerating anything that limits our sleep, sanity or solvency. But there aren’t many options. Adjusting expectations at work is difficult for most. So, sharing the household and childcare if partnered, is the most promising, albeit Continue reading “Free Yourself from the Soul Crushing Disputes About Who does What”

What Parents Enjoy About the Pandemic

Gifts? From Lockdown?

“I would love to continue a career where I worked from home. It simplifies things and I feel much calmer. I’m also so much closer with my children now!! I’m treasuring this time.”

“We have saved money. I found spirituality in meditation. I learned how to take care of my kids without access to entertainment activities.”

“…Spending more time in my local environment (which is beautiful) and we really got to know our neighbors.”

“More time for me and less time in the car taking kids to activities. More time to help kids focus on what they need to be doing. Our family has really benefitted from this situation.”

Over 1,300 parents, mostly Mothers (96%) have shared the pandemic’s impact on their lives anonymously since March. And Covid-living, often without childcare, mental healthcare or self-care, is overwhelming.

So, when they were asked about the pandemic’s surprising rewards, some parents were at a loss to find anything good from this time of grief. One surveyed parent responded, “Absolutely nothing. I liked my old life.” But for most, the crisis has come with some unexpected treasures.

More and better time with family continues to be the most frequently cited benefit of the new situation. As painful as it has been, Covid has forced some positive changes that surveyed parents want Continue reading “What Parents Enjoy About the Pandemic”

What Couples Do to Strengthen Relationships in Lockdown

The pandemic has forced impossible tradeoffs. As fragmented parents search for hidden bandwidth, the strain on couples has grown. Maintaining spark through the happy chaos of life with kids is difficult. But to completely revamp home life and face Covid as a team, often under the watchful gaze of children, is a herculean effort.

Over 1,200 parents shared their pandemic stories since March. The majority are Mothers (95%) who are either married (85%) or live with their partner (7%.) And lockdown continues to challenge relationships.

In the spring (March – June 6th) about a third (36%) felt they were doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ as a spouse or partner. By the summer, it jumped to almost half (48%) and by the fall (September – November 6) it climbed to 52%. Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Couples Therapist, shares strategies for the most commonly cited relationship trials of Covid.

Be Generous with Self-Compassion

Yael explained, “Self-compassion offers a raft through the roughest life waters and is available to each of us, even when nothing else is. It involves three Continue reading “What Couples Do to Strengthen Relationships in Lockdown”

Social Distance Does not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

Are Couples Closer or Farther Apart? It’s Both

“(I need) a more supportive spouse who understands that just because I’m working from home doesn’t mean I get to be responsible for all of the housework and childcare. My job still needs to get done.

“… I wish I had a support system. Dealing with everything on my own and walking on eggshells around my husband is hard emotionally.”

”…I love that I am working less and bringing in less money, and my spouse isn’t complaining about it.”

“Spending more time with my daughter and spouse. Bonding with spouse over how to relax.”

Over 1,200 parents shared their pandemic stories since March. The majority (92%) are Mothers (95%) and either married (85%) or live with their partner (7%.) As they continue to work without childcare, breaks or diversions, most crave more “time,” “sleep” and “quiet,” preferably “alone” for their wellbeing. And with their villages at a social distance, they expect hands-on solidarity from their partners.

Every marriage has its fault lines. And with the pressure of home becoming the default office, school and play space, it can feel like a sanctuary or cage. Overall, surveyed parents report more conflict and resentment. Yet, surprisingly, some couples are thriving in Continue reading “Social Distance Does not Make the Heart Grow Fonder”

The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick

A Book Review For Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander

I read and listen to books about everything from bravery and acceptance to productivity and leadership. I’ve been in the slow but intentional process of self-renewal for years. Recently, I discovered Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander. It’s the companion to one of my favorite books, The Art of Possibility that she co-authored with her husband, Benjamin Zander.

The best of cognitive science teaches that our thoughts affect our feelings. And ultimately, our happiness. Self-help can be heavy on the ‘why’ but light on the ‘how.’ It’s rare to find details about internalizing big ideas. Adopting new routines is not the same as resetting one’s internal Continue reading “The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick”

Self-Care Is the First Thing to Go in a Crisis

Nearly 400* parents shared anonymously how the pandemic is affecting their lives. This is the first in a series of updates with results.

“With the lack of childcare, I have no time to work or take care of our apartment. I earn a lot less than my husband and work for myself in an industry that has slowed down, so I have taken on the vast majority of the extra childcare and schooling. With only one kid and a small apartment with no yard, this feels like a full-time job! I love parts of it but would enjoy it more if I got breaks. The timeline is overwhelming.”

“My son is 3 and he DESPERATELY misses school and doing things with us. Both my husband and I work full time and cannot take shifts. We feel like terrible parents and terrible employees. For 14 hours a day. Every day. There is no break, nothing to look forward to, no sanity.”

We’re responding to epic change while doing more of everything. There’s more housework, childcare and involvement in activities for our kids. And more required to stabilize our work, families and communities. When the pandemic disrupted life, we didn’t know how long it would last. So, we eliminated self-care to make space for the added responsibilities. Unfortunately, COVID19 is just one of many threats to our wellbeing.

Establishing habits that support our mental and physical health can take years! In this crisis, it’s hard to even think about self-care but it’s critical to manage the stress that also harms our health. Most (61%) surveyed Moms report doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ caring for themselves.

The Pressure is Unforgiving

When asked ‘what’s been the hardest?’ in this pandemic the list of concerns is long and varied. Moms worry about everything from their own Continue reading “Self-Care Is the First Thing to Go in a Crisis”

It’s Okay to Let Go of the Old Normal and Build Something Better

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.
Continue reading “It’s Okay to Let Go of the Old Normal and Build Something Better”

The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic

Moms are heroic. Yes, you are a hero.

We set up the meal chains, sewing circles and food drives. We do the essential or remote work and make it look seamless, even though we juggle. Struggle. Zooming kids, looming deadlines and grocery-bingo fade in and out of days without edges. We manage our fears and just keep on soothing. We remain available and reliable to the people in our lives. Being at home has always meant being busy.

The next great act for Moms may just be learning to self-care ‘in place.’

Together, Forward

You may have found your footing emotionally, financially or professionally before the pandemic. Or you were about to unravel and needed a serious reset.

Continue reading “The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic”

How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine

I gave my son the same math homework twice, started my daughter’s Zoom call late and forgot to pull chicken from the freezer. That was yesterday. Because it hasn’t felt holiday-like, I forgot to buy jelly beans. Between debates about ‘carrying the one’ with my oldest and playing musical-rooms for video calls, I’ve been working at half-speed. When I spoke with my attorney, a mother of 3, to apologize for ignoring her emails, I admitted to fighting mental fog. She agreed and said, “I feel like I did when my kids were babies!” Exactly.

The mental load for Moms, from the to-do list in our heads, isn’t new. It starts when our kids are in diapers but it’s increased with COVID19. Big time. We’re relearning how to work, live and parent all at once, which strains our cognitive capacity. When the routines dissolve, school’s at home and housework multiplies, what are our options? Although we have to approach it differently, we can lighten the mental load during this surreal time.

Why we Can’t Concentrate

In most families, Moms remember the haircuts, permission slips and camp deadlines. This invisible choreography is at the heart of overdo and never-done. We tend to forget our brains have limits and it helps to understand what they are. I spoke with Dr. April Seifert, Psychologist and Co-founder of Peak Mind and she explained, “Any time we’ve got way too much on our mind that we’re trying Continue reading “How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine”

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