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”

What Parents Need to be Productive Through the Pandemic

“… I’m physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I DON’T want my kid to remember very much from this year at all.”

“I feel torn between meeting my kids social and developmental needs and completing my work to the same level as (I would) in the office.”

In new research, over 750* surveyed parents, primarily Moms (95%) have shared how the pandemic has changed their lives and what they need to get to the other side. They are overwhelmingly working (85%) without childcare (70%) while doing more of everything.

The Desire for Productivity

Most surveyed parents expressed that productivity during Covid is unrealistic. But they are desperate for relief and time to maintain their work. Or search for jobs. And everyone has to manage household, health and family life with less support. So, trying to optimize the precious time they have is unavoidable.

When asked this question, ‘what do you need to be more productive right now?’ surveyed parents were candid.

They Mourn the Loss of Physical & Emotional Space

Many surveyed parents crave the impossible, “more hours in the day,” preferably “alone” somewhere, “quiet.”  Most are caring for their children while squeezing Continue reading “What Parents Need to be Productive Through the Pandemic”

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”

Is the Pandemic Your Portal Out of Corporate Life?

“Being a mother kind of makes you adept at juggling things. A lot of our clients are parents and are also in the situation where they’re juggling everything. So, it’s been, ‘oh you’re juggling? I’m juggling too. Alright, let’s juggle together,’” said Quiana Agbai former corporate marketer, turned Entrepreneur, Activist and Social Connector.

We had to fight to grow our careers long before the pandemic. Now, school, work and meals have tumbled into our homes without the supports that made it doable. Which makes the wealth and wage gaps that much harder to close. Professional flexibility, once a luxury, has become critical in quarantine. Millions have lost jobs and everything about how work gets done is shifting. But change, even when it’s crisis-driven, creates new opportunities. It may not follow the plan but it’s possible to Continue reading “Is the Pandemic Your Portal Out of Corporate Life?”

How to Make Quarantine Friendly Changes to Your Self-Care Routines

“Mom. Mommmmmmeeee! Look at this!” My son ran into the kitchen with his iPad and said, “Look, this is so funny.” My hands were wet, the dishwasher open and I tried to steer him with my elbow out of the kitchen. “Honey, can it wait until I’m done?” I asked.  Each time he discovered a new Star Wars® meme to share, I had to dry my hands and pause the book I was listening to. After the fourth time I was annoyed. Audiobooks, a welcome distraction from dish-washing-purgatory, require focus.

To be candid, I was already on edge. Housework is on the rise and self-care is down. Like many, I’ve also been worrying more and sleeping less. My son was thrilled with his screen time and didn’t notice my frustration. But I still felt guilty for wanting space to myself. I’ve always been the default parent so it’s normal for my kids to seek me out at home. But after weeks of sheltering-in-place with conflicting Zoom calls, homeschool projects and grocery-store-bingo, I craved time alone.

My self-care rituals were invisible to my family before quarantine. Me-time was usually squeezed into the early mornings and late nights. I had also started to reconnect with my friends and professional network during the workday.

Of course, with COVID19, everything’s different.

It may feel impossible to protect your mental and physical health but it’s essential to try. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. Socially distant self-care is possible but Continue reading “How to Make Quarantine Friendly Changes to Your Self-Care Routines”

Novel Ways to Enrich Your Family and Business at the Same Time

“My son and his friend came home from school and as we all do, I asked, ‘how was your day?’ as usual they quickly replied ‘good’ followed by ‘boring’ and then headed to the kitchen for a snack,” said Debbie Raisner Thompson. A serial entrepreneur, she shared the dilemma most Moms with school-aged children face, the dreaded one-word response.

Debbie had recently been certified to teach English and was home preparing to teach a class on opposites. She said, “I had just finished writing opposite words on colored popsicle sticks, when my son and his friend got home.” Inspired while cleaning the sticks, she asked them to tell a story from their day using one of the words on the sticks. Debbie said, “While they were eating their snack, my son’s friend said, ‘if my mom did this, I would tell her a story every day.’ My son agreed, adding, ‘you should try this with the girls when they get home.’” When Debbie’s daughters came home she said, “it was the same thing, the reaction was really great!” They kept a set of sticks on their table and made extra sets for friends to try. It sparked an ongoing conversation.

Enlist Family Support From the Start

Moms who are blessed with creative ideas rarely explore their commercial potential. The myriad of steps and costs, to move from fuzzy concept to Continue reading “Novel Ways to Enrich Your Family and Business at the Same Time”

Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?

That’s Right. There’s Upside to the Work/Life Juggle!

“I didn’t realize it would be psychologically painful. It surprised me, how it would all feel, going back to work when my child was 2 months old,” Said Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. 

The hard parts of working Motherhood are felt immediately. Within hours of returning to work, we fight to compartmentalize. We think about what our kids and our jobs need. All. Day. Long. Even if it were possible, just trying to quiet that inner dialogue, feels disloyal. As if we’re trying to make Motherhood’s messy emotions smaller. Less demanding. Work, once a refuge, begins to fragment us.

What about the sunny side? We rarely think about the Continue reading “Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?”

Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?

3 Quick Takeaways from Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, from
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Does self-doubt sabotage your creative projects? Would a mindset shift, from lamenting slow progress to celebrating all progress, boost your mood? Yes, you can restore your relationship with creativity. I view all of the advice I read about productivity and creativity through the “Mom-lens.” Whether you’re starting a business, changing careers or changing the world, creativity is an essential ingredient. If you worry that between drop-offs, pick-ups and carrying the mental load, creativity ‘just isn’t for you’ this book will help! Coincidentally, shortly after reading Big Magic, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert give an amazing keynote at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference. 

In the book she blends provocative thinking about the origins of creativity, and how to Continue reading “Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?”

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?”

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