What if the Professional Opportunity of a Lifetime Lands During the Pandemic?

“I don’t workout to lose weight or anything like that, it’s for the mental breather. I don’t go on my phone and I’m able to block everything out. I do that 5 five days a week, even if I have to stay up late or wake up early to fit it in. It’s the 30 or 40 minutes of the day where no one’s bothering me,” said Kayla Lebovits, Entrepeneur. She added, “I’ve done that for many years and did not miss a beat with the pandemic because without that time, I don’t think I’ll be able to perform as well or be there for my team and our clients.”

What happens when an amazing growth opportunity comes during a pandemic? Although many businesses have struggled, others, have experienced hypergrowth. But leaders, have a short window to channel that increased demand, into long-term stability. Although our culture praises self-sacrifice and most parents, have dropped self-care during Covid, the reality is self-care leads to success. And Kayla has found clever ways to maintain the energy to scale her business.

Covid Made the Big Childcare Problem, Bigger

Although she started her company 3 years ago, Kayla’s major pivot for the pandemic has led to rapid expansion. “We were primarily doing in-home care. When Covid happened, we took what we were doing in the home and made it virtual. And it took off.”

Kayla said, “I had worked in finance prior to starting Bundle. And I witnessed a lot of parents, specifically women, struggling as they were starting their families and also trying to excel in their careers. And I felt that employers had a unique opportunity to allow them to have peace of mind at work. So, I started Continue reading “What if the Professional Opportunity of a Lifetime Lands During the Pandemic?”

Why Won’t Parents Ask for Help When They Need it Most?

“I need some grace – from myself, my spouse, my child, but especially my job. The expectation that parents can manage to work a full-time schedule from home while also caring for children is absurd.”

“More time in the day so I can finish all of my tasks (work, child care, household chores) or more money so I could pay someone to take a task off my to-do list. I am being asked to do more at work for the same pay and have more to do at home now too.”

Over 1,200 parents, primarily Mothers (93%) have shared in our anonymous survey what they need to improve work and life through Covid. Most need help. In the form of childcare, household help, work flexibility, time and money to make the impossible — juggling too many roles at the same time — doable.

Last month there was a mass exodus of women from the workforce and perhaps worse, of those who remain, 1 in 4 are considering downshifting or leaving their careers.

Can we prevent this? What if it felt safe to ask for help at work?

The Always-On Intensity is Wearing Everyone Down

“…It’s impossible to maintain the 8-5 work hour schedule. The reality is that days just become longer for parents, waking up before dawn to get work done, so that when kids wake up, you’ve already put in hours. But during kids’ breakfast, you also have the daily morning meetings that interfere with child bonding, etc.”

“…I’m either working for my employer or keeping my household going. There’s just nothing left for me.”

Whether soothing babies, chasing toddlers, playing Continue reading “Why Won’t Parents Ask for Help When They Need it Most?”

How to Get a Stranger to Solve Your Problems

“The money can be great and it can have all the other perks but am I a part of this? In the long run, will my mental and emotional health survive? You have to be honest with yourself. It’s one thing to be included in the conversation but It’s another to have your thoughts and opinions taken into consideration at work,” said Marie Roker Jones, Entrepreneur and Diversity Advocate. Critical questions to ask when evaluating any professional situation. She added, “We all want to be part of something, right? And when we’re not, it feels like you’re making the effort but your heart’s not in it.” Exactly.

Countless studies show that diverse teams outperform their homogenous counterparts. But women and people of color remain underrepresented in leadership. Everywhere. And in technology, more than half of women leave before they turn 35.

Why? Layers of systemic biases have made tech unfriendly for women. And with everyone busier than ever, few choose to navigate differences. Which keeps the status quo and leaves the underrepresented out.

But what if there’s a diversity hack? An inspired short cut to the trust that bonds people from different backgrounds?

Solve Problems With Strangers

Catalyst reports, “The few women who begin careers in STEM face male-dominated workplaces with high rates of discrimination. Their contributions are often ignored; they experience isolation caused by lack of access to women peers, role models, and mentors; and they are paid less than their male co-workers.”

Marie is on a mission to use Continue reading “How to Get a Stranger to Solve Your Problems”

Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care

“Self-care is taking care of my own energy level.” Said Leah Ruppanner, Author of Motherlands and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. It’s a powerful definition and rallying cry to disrupt how we think about it. She added, “I’m trying to resist how the wellness industry defines self-care, where I have to do yoga and become thin. I reject that model of self-care but sometimes, find it very seductive, because it’s simple solutions for complex problems.”

Audre Lorde, who coined the term described it as an “act of self-preservation.” So, it’s ironic that self-care has become a source of inner conflict. Because it’s often conflated with pampering, some feel pressured by it.

But what if we measure our downtime by how rested we are instead of how much we get done? We live busy and in the pandemic, it’s unrealistic not to be. But powering through without some form of self-care leads to burnout.

Time Is More Fragmented Than Ever

Sheltered with family 24/7 makes this more challenging. “What I have found in this pandemic, is that my work requires concentrated, uninterrupted time. And my child requires instruction and constant Continue reading “Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care”

This is Not the Time to Stop Investing In Your Career

Fast Track Job Security With a Professional Brand

“It’s hard to be the keynote speaker at breakfast if you’ve got to get somebody to school at 8:00 o’clock. Women are still more likely to be responsible for kids at home and that often stops them from speaking. They’re like, ‘I could go off and be a speaker at this event and seen as a visionary expert or I could be home for dinner.’ These are still some of the reasons that women turn down what are seen as extras.” Explained Bobbie Carlton, events pioneer and CEO of Innovation Women.

It’s a circular problem. Thought leadership hasn’t been diverse because leadership isn’t. And between intense schedules at work and home, adding anything, even career-boosting visibility may feel impossible.

But what if thought leadership is the rocket fuel your career needs for growth? A vehicle that creates more choice and gets you off of the hamster wheel? Having Continue reading “This is Not the Time to Stop Investing In Your Career”

Will the Pandemic Lead to a Better Childcare System?

“No matter how much money they had, no matter how much support they had and no matter where they lived in the US, everyone experienced childcare problems,” said Kayla Lebovits, CEO of Bundle Childcare, after speaking with dozens of parents. She added, “Every parent experienced gaps in childcare weekly, if not daily. It’s like this unanimous connector between all parents whether it’s long-term, short term or backup care.”

The childcare system was bad for everyone. The parents who use it, providers who work in it and organizations that benefit from it. Cost and complexity was high but outcomes were spotty at best.

And the numbers speak for themselves. Pre-Covid, most parents (72% of Mothers and 94% of Fathers) worked. And childcare breakdowns were estimated to cost US Employers over $4 Billion in lost productivity and working families over $8 Billion in lost wages annually.

Yet, somehow no one predicted the negative impact parents’ inability to work would have on the economy until schools and daycares closed. Suddenly, finding solutions to the childcare problem has become essential.

Childcare is a Patchwork of ‘Plan B’s’

When childcare failed, we blamed ourselves. Or sometimes, our kids or partners. Because the truth, that after years of education and training our careers rely on luck, after parenthood, is unsettling. Continue reading “Will the Pandemic Lead to a Better Childcare System?”

Care for the Caregivers: Work Flexibility in the Era of Covid

What Employers Need to Know

“…I am working 12 hour days right now remotely and barely have time to feed people let alone do a good job keeping the kids schedules organized.”

“Understanding from work that we need to reduce our hours to support homeschooling. And support our children.”

Since late March, over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have anonymously shared the pandemic’s impact to their work and lives. Most are working from home (71%) without childcare or on-site schools for their children (70%.) When asked, ‘what should their employer change’ overwhelmingly, they want variations of the same theme, flexibility.

They need discretion over how many hours and when they work. Ideally, in the form of: flextime and/or hours, sick leave, increased personal and/or paid time off.

Captivity is Officially Over

“Longer lunch break since I’m not only catering to myself for lunch.”

“Flexibility for kid wrangling times.”

Work has always revolved around captive time. Usually in an office or building. And pre-Covid, we were paid for hours of Continue reading “Care for the Caregivers: Work Flexibility in the Era of Covid”

The States with the Most Childcare Sanity Will Surprise You

A book review and conversation with Motherland’s Author Leah Ruppanner

Covid has forced Mothers everywhere to reevaluate work/life tradeoffs. And without access to childcare or school, millions have left their jobs, despite the global recession. Because trying to work and care for kids full-time does not set anyone up to thrive. And like all living things, we need the right conditions to flourish. Leah Ruppanner, Author and Co-Director of the Policy Lab at the University of Melbourne, went in search of the ‘Motherlands’ for her new book. Those idyllic places with childcare sanity where Motherhood and work can coexist. What she found was surprising.

Mothers Are Opting Out in Record Numbers

Pre-Covid, life fit around the work calendar. And caregiving often fell into the hours before and after. Kind of. Work hours in most careers have increased in the past decade. Which makes finding space to care for our kids, parents or selves, a constant source of conflict.

Leah explained, “People believe, ‘I personally failed because I couldn’t make work and family work. And everyone else seems to be doing this great job’ but the truth of the matter is, that it’s a structural issue. If a woman working in Massachusetts or California, where childcare is $4,000 a month, was told Continue reading “The States with the Most Childcare Sanity Will Surprise You”

Loneliness When You’re Not Alone

Over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have shared their experiences with the pandemic since late March. Five months in, time spent caring for mental and physical health, continues to erode. And over 2/3 admit spending less time maintaining relationships with other adults that keep them anchored. Parents have increasingly shared loneliness has been the hardest part of social distance.

“Not being able to be with people I care about. Now everyone is just a phone friend.”

“I’m low on incidental socialization (i.e. chatting with parents while kids are at activities, socializing with people at the gym, getting together with friends who don’t live on my street.)”

“Not being able to see friends and family and/or needing to limit the amount of interaction with them.”

Isolation…With Family?

We love our families. Their persistent presence has been the greatest source of conflict and joy in lockdown, for most surveyed parents. But being ‘always on’ whether for work or kids, is wearing. The bonds we have with other adults — friends, family and colleagues – often provide  Continue reading “Loneliness When You’re Not Alone”

This is not About Self-Care. This is About Your Sanity

Mental health was precarious for parents pre-Covid. And as the crisis continues, over 1,000* surveyed parents, mostly Moms (94%) admit they’ve eliminated time spent on their own wellness to cope with the added workload.

They’re overwhelmingly working from home (71%) without childcare (70%) and report doing ‘terribly’ or ‘worse than usual’ as caregivers to themselves (72%.) They’ve paused exercise, hobbies and date nights. And many refuse to take vacation time out of concern for job security.

Many achieve career success by ignoring well intentioned advice about balance. We’re incented to run, not rest, in most industries. Pre-Covid, more than half of Americans didn’t take all of their paid vacation time. But everything is different now and breaks have become critical.

When asked, ‘what’s been the hardest?’ many cite increased challenges with emotional and mental wellbeing.

“Keeping up with mental health.”

“Maintaining routines even when feeling depressed and unmotivated.”

“Not having a ‘finish line.’ We truly don’t know when this will end, and it makes it hard to keep going and do the right thing.’’

Self-Care Is Essential

For parents, faced with an uneven back-to-school and wobbly job market, self-care may seem frivolous. Yet, like the masks and the other health protocols we follow, it’s vital. Dr. Charmain Jackman, Clinical Psychologist & Founder of InnoPsych said, “It starts with your mindset. You really need to understand that self-care is important. It’s not about pampering, like getting a pedicure. Self-care is about giving your mind and Continue reading “This is not About Self-Care. This is About Your Sanity”

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