Working Families Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids

“I had read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and the counter points by Anne-Marie Slaughter. So, there was this conversation happening,” said Donielle Buie, Human Resource Leader and Work/Life expert, “And I agree, we need to change policy. But I kept thinking to myself, there’s a woman right now who’s got two kids and is ready to quit her job! She can’t figure out how to make this all work. And I didn’t feel like people were talking about that enough. Or how to make these decisions related to career and family. So, that was my foray into the work/life space.”

Almost half of Mothers take time out of the workforce due to childcare. But Donielle has done what few have. She downshifted, opted out and then came back, professionally stronger. Millions of Moms are deciding to lean into, out of or back from, their careers through Covid. And historically, women don’t fare well when they opt out. But Donielle’s journey is a masterclass on how to navigate the care and career fit.

What About Parental Leave?

Donielle experienced the reality of navigating leave with her first child. “It was like, you had a baby? Here is a $5,000 stipend on top of disability. I worked at a small company so, they gave us dollars on top of short-term disability. But didn’t have a more formal extended leave policy. Even with that, I took unpaid leave because I wanted to be home for 6 months,” she said. “I thought, we should have parental leave because people had kids. Why don’t we have a better policy? Then as we started thinking about having a second, it was sort of like, okay how in the heck are Continue reading “Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids”

Are You Weighing Your Childcare Options Right Now?

It’s Time for Upgrades to the Tired Systems we Work in

“(I need) safe childcare so I can work well to ensure our financial security and then to be able to better enjoy the time I have with my kids. …I’m always trying to work while always trying to parent and take care of my children and our home. And I’m never actually able to do any of it well.

“(I need) close, reliable, Covid-friendly, affordable childcare and a boss that has realistic expectations from a freshly finished breastfeeding new mom.”

“It is impossible to achieve any semblance of balance between work and family responsibilities. I am able to work from home 1 day/week, but that is challenging while trying to help kids with their school work. On top of everything, I’m going through a divorce and navigating a complete upheaval of my identity…”

Over 1,500 parents have shared their stories in our pandemic survey since March. They’re primarily Moms (95%) working from home (73%) without childcare (80%.) And almost one year into lockdown, they’re trying valiantly to hold onto their jobs and sanity.

Pre-pandemic, most parents worked and relied on the income. But now, if you want to keep your career afloat, there are 3 options. And they’re not great. You can either work around-the-clock, find childcare – which is harder than winning the lottery right now — or Continue reading “Are You Weighing Your Childcare Options Right Now?”

How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted

Over 2 million women have already left the workforce in the pandemic. And without childcare, eldercare or the ability to take a paid leave, many more plan to downshift, resign or switch professions altogether.

Before deciding what to do next, you need clarity about what you need. But pivots require strategy. And strategic thinking, requires mental energy. And Covid’s mental load, Zoom-school and housework, have drained most parents dry.

Peggy Foster, an HR Consultant, Executive Coach and Artist, spent more than 2 decades in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She’s an expert in professional transitions and navigated her own exit from corporate life.

It may feel impossible to make the space. But Peggy’s process highlights how self-care and reflection, even in small doses, can lead to big breakthroughs.

Don’t ‘Empty’ Yourself for Others

Peggy explained, “When we take space for ourselves, it feels like we’ve gone against society and how we’ve been trained as women, to put everybody else first. Feed the kids, clean the house, make sure everybody is happy, get that job done at work and the truth is, you Continue reading “How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted”

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”

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?”

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”

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”

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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