work/life balance for parents Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

You Say Your Workplace is Family Friendly? Show Me

What Parents Desperately Need at Work Right Now

“Merit increases are somewhat flat while costs of living are rising (particularly the massive childcare costs we’ve undertaken this year…”

“(They’re) not allowing me to work from home when my job is doable from home.”

“(Work is) expecting me to be constantly logged on, still expecting quick turnaround, competing with male team members who have MORE time and push ahead with projects even faster than before and allowing that only to leave mom’s behind.”

Over 1,700 parents, mostly Mothers (98%) have shared their pandemic experiences since March of last year. In the most recent survey wave, parents cite that employer support is better. But most still struggle to manage work and uneven childcare. Over one million Moms fled the workforce despite how family friendly employers said they were. Like a litmus test, Covid has revealed the imposters. So, how can organizations plan for an inclusive post-pandemic return?

Family benefits don’t matter if you’re answering emails until midnight. It’s often the hidden rules, not stated policies, that lead to burnout. And there’s nothing family friendly about that. Donielle Buie, HR leader and Work/Life expert said, “Organizations have really had to look in the mirror and say, ‘we said Continue reading “You Say Your Workplace is Family Friendly? Show Me”

Managers, Here’s Why You Should Treat Working Parents Like Ferraris

“If the leaders among us, who get to choose what they do with their lives and are incredibly resourced are still trapped by the system, then something’s really broken. And we need to acknowledge that this matrix we’re all agreeing to, doesn’t work,” said Amy Henderson, Author and Entrepreneur. After hundreds of interviews, she learned working Mothers, believed that they were failing. Despite the positive shifts they felt.

Rebuilding routines, with each new child, is like unpacking after a move. Nothing fits in the same way. Babies learn how to walk and talk. And we learn new ways to manage life’s responsibilities, including work. The first year after a child is born, is often considered the hardest. But the adjustments come with significant upside, beyond the parental joy that sustains us.

Amy learned how this high-stress time, unlocks exponential growth for parents. And she became passionate about reframing working parenthood. Because the return to work is often where the love of parenting meets friction. But what if work was different? What if parents and their organizations could Continue reading “Managers, Here’s Why You Should Treat Working Parents Like Ferraris”

Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers

“I asked working Moms, who had good relationships with their kids and thriving careers, how could I have both. I was on maternity leave with 3 kids under the age of 4. So, I called them from a very raw, liminal place.” said Amy Henderson, Author & Entrepreneur. Those calls, to understand if successful working Motherhood was even possible, led her to 4 years of research. She said, “I learned that the things that break you, are also the things that can make you.”

The work and parenting fit was always hard. Moms are blindsided by how difficult it is to get into leadership. Then we’re gaslighted into feeling inept once we’re there. So, we end up taking our superpowers for granted. But like elite athletes, the intense training of parenthood, makes you stronger. And the collaboration, decision making, empathy, presence and efficiency skills that you’ve honed, make you a more agile leader.

Working Motherhood is Harder in the US Than Anywhere Else

In her new book. Tending: Parenthood & the Future of Work, Amy cites research that many of us have experienced. “Mommy bias is the greatest trigger for workplace discrimination. And found that mothers are 79% less likely to get hired or promoted when compared to an equally qualified woman without a child.” And in a culture where career progress equals success, it’s not surprising that being diminished at work leads to self-doubt. Worse, most mothers have sole, co or primary breadwinning responsibilities, which elevates the penalties from inconvenience to financial liability. And it’s an economic double-bind that most women don’t escape. She added, “The US has one of the largest Continue reading “Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers”

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”

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?”

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”

What Working Parents Want Their Managers to Know

Over 1,000* surveyed parents, primarily Moms (94%) were open about what they need from work for their productivity, wellbeing and happiness. Most (70%) have had their childcare disrupted by the pandemic and crave understanding. And yes, that includes more flexibility and control over their time so they can care for their children and themselves.

“Less check-in meetings. Just trust the job will get done.”

“…I still have the same 35-hour workload of meetings and manage staff and my husband is having to take over care for our one-year-old on top of his project-based work.”

“…In many ways I feel for my employer and understand that you can’t make exceptions for those with or without kids. However, I do think less meetings would be helpful and give parents flexibility on time. A four-day work week would also be great!”

“Lower expectations with lowered staff (had layoffs but same expectations). Offer more flexibility, (there’s) no need for 9 am to 5 pm in the digital world.”

Most parents can’t maintain the habits of overwork that are common in our culture. And non-stop work, wasn’t healthy or effective for peak performance anyway. But as the recession deepens, many choose to quietly endure Continue reading “What Working Parents Want Their Managers to Know”

How to Restore Work/Life Boundaries Working From Home

“Today is different from yesterday and this week is different from last week. You can have some kids in school but if the County is on a watch list for Covid, then you can’t be in school. And, if there’s anyone in the community that gets Covid, then everything has to shut down and go virtual for two weeks. I get what they’re trying to do but it’s very fluid and not super helpful,” said Alexis Haselberger.

A lot of us are in the midst of or planning for back-to-school pandemic-style. Hybrid schedules. On and off days, lunch at home and no transportation. Back to school was always a high-stakes time of transition. But this year’s lack of consistency and threat of Covid-19, is a recipe for mental load stress. And productivity, for even the most seasoned work-from-home parents, has been flipped upside down by having the kids at home. I asked Alexis a productivity expert, for smart strategies to set this season of work-and-school-from-home, up for success.

Where Are You Right Now? Start There.

Although it’s true, it was hard before and it’s become harder, Alexis suggests starting with today. The current conditions do not resemble what once was. She said, “The mental framework I’ve been using is to ask, ‘what is working and not working right Continue reading “How to Restore Work/Life Boundaries Working From Home”

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”

You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t

“They said that they were losing themselves. Losing who they were. And didn’t know if they would be able to resolve it until their kids went off to college and I wasn’t okay with that idea. I wanted to find a solution to that problem,” said Melissa Mueller-Douglas, Founder of MYRetreat and Licensed Social Worker.

We spin ourselves in blurry, hyper-productive circles while our families rest. If we get a chance to sit down, guilt shows up to steal our joy. If you’ve fantasized about a retreat, someplace sacred to regroup, you are not alone. Personal space in lockdown is rare. Before Covid, there was growing acceptance that we need breaks, from doing everything for everyone else. Momcations were on the rise. But the idea that caring for our wellbeing needs to be extravagant or even ‘secluded’ is dangerous. It’s true, most Moms crave self-care alone, but that desire can be self-destructive when conditions make time ‘alone’ infrequent or impossible. Like in a global pandemic.

Bliss is the 90 Minute Reset

Melissa has elevated the concept of retreat to Continue reading “You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t”

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