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The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two

And Why it May Not be Time for a Drastic Career Change

“Every form of employee appreciation has been cancelled. There are no raises or bonuses. Work is being packed onto skeleton departments because all of the ‘fat’ has been trimmed. Employees are burning out.”

“I hate putting my son in front of the TV just so I can work.”

“Trying to give 100% to my job during work hours and 100% to my kids for their school work has been impossible. Both my work and my kids’ education have suffered from that.”

“I’m working full time in a hospital while my husband is working full time at home trying to take care of our 5 and 3 year old boys. No one is getting the time and attention that we need from each other right now.”

Almost half (44%) of surveyed parents (1,300) in our pandemic study say they’re doing ‘not as well as usual’ or terribly’ as workers. And although the majority (60%) feel they’re doing ‘as well’ or ‘better than usual’ as parents, 40% do not. They’re exhausted from months of housework, work-work and childcare, without any self-care.

Many feel trapped by untenable schedules. And distanced from their core values. So, after months of life-or-death decisions, it’s not surprising  that parents want Continue reading “The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two”

Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?

A few weeks ago, awe-inspiring female leaders like Alicia Keys, Admiral Michelle Howard, Awkwafina and Doris Kearns Goodwin, took the virtual stage for the annual Massachusetts Women’s Conference. They’ve leapt past obstacles in a culture that often mutes our voices.

How? With self-care, self-love and self-confidence. Enjoy their wisdom on how to honor your needs in the days and months ahead. And enter this new chapter with restored faith in your gifts, community and power to change the systems we live, work and play in.

Pause and Reflect

Awkwafina, Award-winning Actress, Writer & Rapper, “Playing those little shows, were the best times of my life, because I was waiting for something to happen. But when things started to pick up, and it was objectively the best time of my life, I found myself losing my sense of identity. So, today, I want to be in a mental place where I can handle this career, in a healthy way, and I’m not worrying all the time.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “If you’re not motivated in your life, you’re not playing a big enough game. Get very quiet and tune into what you long for.”

Iyanla Vanzant, Best-selling Author & Producer, “If you’re here, you’re alive. Our scars are being transformed into sacred knowledge.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “…What have you learned in 2020? Everything that is happening in your life, is preparing you for what’s next.”

Take Back Your Routines

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “When you wake up what’s the first thing that you see? It had Continue reading “Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?”

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”

The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins

“The challenge right now is focus and motivation. You may think, ‘why can’t I just tune it out?’ But it’s not you. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s very difficult to focus on things that matter,” said Mel Robbins, Author and personal development expert, at the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

The pandemic has pushed us past our cognitive limits. And she shared three simple rules to help us regain some control. She went onto explain one of the reasons we’re struggling to concentrate and practical steps we can take, “You’re experiencing something right now that psychologists call, moral fatigue.”

Moral Fatigue Zaps Energy (and Motivation)

Moral fatigue, is like the mental load’s evil cousin. Our brains are not comfortable with having every decision, including small ones, carry life threatening consequences. And in Covid-19, when ‘normal’ activities bring the risk of illness or death, it’s draining. Mel said, “If you’ve got parents or relatives that you’re worried about living through this pandemic, while working from home and doing everything that you’ve been doing, it requires more mental fuel for your brain to get through the day.” Right. Why aren’t we used to this by now?

When Getting Milk, Got Complicated

Mel explained why, “So, Continue reading “The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins”

Do More Than Talk About Mental Health at Work

Leaders are you Listening?

When over 1,200 surveyed parents, mostly Moms (95%) were asked, what they need to improve wellbeing or productivity, the answer was often the same. Mental healthcare, either for themselves, their partners or children. It’s among the most requested needs, along with greater work flexibility and childcare.

Covid, a health crisis with a twist of recession, has leveled entire industries. And employers are scrambling to respond. Everyone craves clarity and focus in light of the new professional challenges. Which only increases pressure for working parents when burnout is high and resilience is low. What can compassionate leaders do?

Employers Can Jump into the Void

Mental health has always been tricky. We celebrate exercise, yet rarely champion the ongoing effort for emotional wellbeing. And before the pandemic, most employers were reactive about the whole topic.

Maybe it’s because so many factors effect mental health. But pre-Covid, 65% of US employees cited work as a significant source of stress. So, positive work Continue reading “Do More Than Talk About Mental Health at Work”

What Happens When You Break All the Work Rules?

“I could see that work wasn’t working for people,” said Eva Dienel, Journalist and sustainable work expert. She added, “So, when I met (my husband) Adam, we started talking very early in our relationship about building work around our lives rather than letting work determine the lives that we were stuck with.”

Although burnout damages health and productivity, our culture rewards the behavior that drives it. And careers, woven with identity, become full of emotional landmines. It’s hard to untangle our real desires, from how we’re conditioned to think. And post-kids when we need reliable income, schedules and benefits, the work choices narrow.

Modern careers leave little space for caregiving or passion pursuits. And Eva knew she wanted meaningful work without the confines of corporate life. But leaving a traditional job is a counter culture move that’s often met with Continue reading “What Happens When You Break All the Work Rules?”

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”

It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison

That’s right. Prison. I said it.

If you used to derive joy at the intersection of helpfulness and productivity, like I did, then anything else feels bad. And let’s face it, working at home with kids during a pandemic is the opposite of that.  So, unless we rethink productivity, we end up in a race against our pre-pandemic selves, we can’t win.

And It’s Uncomfortable

I prided myself on getting a LOT done each day pre-kids. And the thrill of moving through a mountain of to-dos sustained me. I used to believe that good days were productive days.

Organizations now hire me to help their employees, usually caregivers, cope through Covid. And during live sessions, the most frequent question parents ask, is how to reclaim productivity under Covid conditions.

We Need to Redefine What Productive Means

I relate, because I still struggle with this. No one wants to be ‘pandemic-productive.’ When the days feel edgeless and uncertain, they want something tangible from their time. They want to measure themselves against Continue reading “It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison”

Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now

Protect Your Mental Health Through the Pandemic

Over 1,200 parents, primarily Mothers (95%) have participated in the pandemic study since March 30th. They’ve shared how the prolonged lockdown has strained everything, including their mental health.

“(I need) some time to myself without kids or chores. For my mental health.”

“I just started taking Lexapro and that was a life saver…”

“Marijuana/cbd oil. I have ptsd, depression, and anxiety. These things help my mood.”

“I’m with my family 24/7. We could all use a break from each other.”

Without support, basic self-care like sleep and continuity of thought, are almost impossible for parents. And with the increased mental load, monotony and erosion of work/life boundaries, anxiety and depression continue to rise. It’s maddening to be needed all the time. Or to work without breaks. Although stress continues to peak, there are strategies we can employ to support our mental health through Covid.

Routines to Manage Stress Are Gone

“(I need) breaks. Naps. Dates with my husband. Play dates with friends. To see someone during the day that isn’t my child. To be able to go somewhere that isn’t my house.”

“… We have no outlets anymore. No long drives or dinners or lunches or adventures with the baby at a playplace or park. The tension only builds…”

Dr. Nicole C. Brathwaite, Psychiatrist, Activist and Entrepreneur said, “Many of the things that used to be easier are now complex. And there’s been an increase in complaints about Continue reading “Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now”

Your Colorful, Messy and Perfect Life

“I didn’t realize at the time, how much anxiety or stress I was carrying, because I was just trying to make it through the day.” said Kyra Peralte, Entrepreneur and Author. When the pandemic hit, like many of us, she slipped into crisis mode. “We immediately started reorganizing our days to accommodate having the kids at home 24/7. Because we don’t know when this is going to be over, my husband and I made a pact, to pull together and be creative.”

What happens when stress moves from the mind into the body? When the weight of worry became a physical sensation, it terrified Kyra. But it also opened a deep curiosity. She wanted to know how Covid stress was affecting other women. And she didn’t want the polished version, she craved candid connection. This moved her to lift herself and others, from suffering in isolation, through the magic of story.

When Stress Takes Hold

“I felt a drop of cold water on my neck. I looked up and thought we had a leak. I was sitting in what I call my Corona-bunker.” Kyra continued to feel the cold water. “It kept happening in different parts of the house. I was taking a hot shower when all of a sudden, I felt the ice cold water and I thought, okay something is going on.” Scary! “So, I looked into it and discovered that it was a Continue reading “Your Colorful, Messy and Perfect Life”

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