Childcare Never Quite Worked Before. It’s Time for Something Better

Let’s not conflate childcare and school. Working parents need both and always have. It’s true, most Americans with children over the age of 5 have relied on school as their primary childcare. But, the frequent holidays and mid-afternoon pickup, meant it was a partial solution at best for most workers. And having a credentialed expert, to expand your child’s mind, is not the same as keeping them fed and entertained.

Covid-19 has disrupted childcare arrangements for the overwhelming majority of over 900 surveyed parents* (71%.) Despite their need to continue working (84%) mostly from home (72%) with their kids.

“Non-stop days of homeschool followed by long evenings/weekends of work and making sure kids eat healthy, learn, get outside and feel ok while balancing a very demanding job.”

“It’s the unknown. Will the kids go back in the fall? How to balance their work and mine…”

“The expectation that work output should not be impacted despite having to care for my child full time. I stay up really late every night now to fit in the work hours.”

“Not being able to send my child to school or activities while I work. I must keep my child home to protect the family from COVID, sacrificing my ability to Continue reading “Childcare Never Quite Worked Before. It’s Time for Something Better”

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”

Have You Taken Time Out of The Workforce?

The surprising little statistic about working motherhood

“No one in my local community had kids yet. My Mom, and Mother-in-Law, were Stay-At-Home-Moms. I worked for an investment bank. The childcare options in my area would have added an hour to my commute and taken a huge percentage of my take home pay. We weren’t necessarily in the financial position to do it, but I said (to my husband,) I can’t leave this baby,” explained Claudia Reuter, my former colleague and Founder of The 43% Podcast. “I stepped out,” she said. Claudia didn’t return to work until nearly 3 years later. Did you know, nearly half of Mothers make this decision?

Build Your Own Flexibility

Claudia said, “After my second child, 23 months later, I realized Continue reading “Have You Taken Time Out of The Workforce?”

How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!

Gratitude for our families doesn’t mean we’re always happy. Moms routinely give up self-care (yes including sleep) for the perceived greater good. We break so many promises to ourselves, that the excuses sound hollow, even inside our minds.  The consuming baby years, soon give way to demanding school-and-sport logistics. Finding free time feels like trying to breathe underwater. We grow distant from the passions that shaped our personalities. Over time, we forget how to have fun without our kids.

Most of us dwell in the land of never-done, a purgatory filled with managing email, picking up toys and cleaning the counters for the fifth time. It’s not surprising when, in most families, Moms are still responsible for all-things-children-and-household. Although it’s tempting to try to outsmart the to-do list, there’s a better way! I had the pleasure of speaking with KJ Dell’Antonia, Author and former Editor of the New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode.

After writing about parenting, while raising four children of her own, she’s distilled practical wisdom about ‘How to Be a Happier Parent’ in her new book. Spoiler alert, carving out your happy is Continue reading “How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!”

4 Things You Need For Work/Life Integration from Mom’s Who Hustle

Notes From Attending ‘Moms Who Hustle’ A Practical Work/Life Discussion hosted by General Assembly Boston May 19th.

After rushing in to grab a front row seat, I took a few deep breaths to center myself just as the moderator began introductions.   A surprisingly diverse group looked expectantly at the panelists.

I later learned the eclectic mix of Moms, Pre-moms, Grandmothers and Dads braved the rainy commute and early start, eager to discuss the Mom work-life juggle, for different reasons.

Women feel more empowered (and compelled) than ever to hustle and Moms are no exception.

The artful choreography, to reduce clashes between the work and life schedules, becomes its own demanding project.  Last month, on the sidelines of my son’s soccer match, I watched a Mom spend the better part of an hour crouched over her computer color coding and reconciling activities  Continue reading “4 Things You Need For Work/Life Integration from Mom’s Who Hustle”

How & Why Mom’s Prioritize Their Time

#MomsSelfCare #MomsQuestForTime #MomsHealth

About two years ago, shortly after maternity leave for my youngest, I ran (frazzled) through the parking garage to reach the nursing room at work before my first meeting after spending the past hour driving in heavy traffic. I then realized, that in my sleep-deprived state, I left my pumping bag at home.

Has this ever happened to you? I barely remembered driving to work in the first place and then the hard reality, that I needed to reschedule my morning to drive back home, set in.

I’d already been thinking (ok, obsessing) about my own prioritization and ability to balance a demanding yet engaging career with motherhood.  Despite following a path that seemed ‘natural’ — breastfeed, form deep bond with new baby, return to being a rock star at work, pay thoughtful attention to my older child, continue with navigating playgrounds and museums on the weekends as if nothing had changed — I felt tremendous stress and fatigue most days.

Cumulatively, that stress eroded my goodwill, patience, sense of humor, creativity… Everything that made me ‘me’ was gradually slipping away under what felt like constant pressure from an invisible, yet impossibly tight, schedule every waking moment.   I was depleted and longed for practical solutions.

Did all moms with young children feel this? Did all working moms feel this?  Continue reading “How & Why Mom’s Prioritize Their Time”

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