WiLab Post: Does the American Culture Really Support Working Moms?

DOES THE AMERICAN CULTURE REALLY SUPPORT WORKING MOMS?

Photo from blog.spaoa.org

In the recent article written by Emily Peck, Congratulations America, You Support Working Moms! Just Not With Actual Policies, we are reminded just how far behind our American culture is on policies that help not only working moms, but working families. The research shows that as Americans, we deserve a sarcastic pat on the back for the baby steps we have finally taken in the majority support we have for working mothers;

After decades of judging and shaming mothers for “abandoning” their kids while they went off to work to commit the horrible and selfish act of providing for their families, Americans are now overwhelmingly OK with working mothers, according to a paper published in the latest edition of Psychology of Women quarterly.

The Family Medical Leave Act was signed in 1993 offering women job security without pay. There have been no advancements offering families more security or paid leave since then. The grim reality is that the majority of businesses don’t believe a paid leave policy is important to running a business, retaining employees or providing them with a benefit that will yield a return on investment;

One of the big objections to paid leave traditionally comes from businesses, which tend to argue that offering workers paid leave increases costs. But a mounting pile of evidence doesn’t support that theory. Nearly 90 percent of California businesses reported no cost increases due to the state’s now 10-year-old leave law, according to one survey. In fact, 43 percent of businesses in the state reported a cost savings, because they were able to hold on to more workers, (decreasing training costs), and reduce spending on benefits.

Other companies, like Google, have also increased employee retention by increasing paid leave.

Oh, and paid leave saves the government money and disproportionately helps lower-income women. In New Jersey, women who took paid leave were around 40 percent less likely to receive public benefits like food stamps or welfare, according to a Rutgers study cited by Claire Cain Miller in The New York Times.

The statistics have been beaten into the ground. America offers ZERO days compared to the rest of the world and is on a level playing field with Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea when it comes to not mandating paid maternity leave. The facts are staggering and actually, quite unbelievable.

Women become defined in business by their pregnancy. Unable to change the minds of others, we are left with a minimal (required) UNPAID leave. Our far reaching goal should continue and persist in the change of these weak and insufficient policies for working families. We need to actively speak out and bring this topic to the forefront of peoples minds. It needs to be on the agenda for the upcoming presidential election.

But the reality is, how do we prepare ourselves for the inevitable lack of support when we become mothers? If you are planning on growing your family, having a baby for the first time, adopting a baby, taking maternity/paternity/family leave etc…RIGHT NOW,  here are 3 quick tips on how to prepare yourself for the inevitable lack of support:

1. Understand your rights. Is your company a small organization? Does FMLA apply to them? FMLA protects workers of organizations over 50 employees. What are the actual policies in your organization? Talk to your HR.

2. Does your company offer short-term disability? This is a great work around if no paid leave is offered. It will provide you with 6-8 weeks of partial paid leave. Do you need to sign up before you are pregnant?

3. Savings. You have 9 months. Make a weekly contribution to save up 2-3 months of mortgage/rent payments so you can be at ease if you are offered nothing. Being a new mom is stressful enough, take the time to cut back and budget so you can be (somewhat) worry free about finances (easier said than done, I know…)

In the meantime,

Here are some thoughtful articles on how our current and future leaders view this issue;

Every Republican Running for President Votes Against Paid Family Leave

White House Makes Big Push for Paid Family Leave

Why Hillary Clinton Made Gender Such a Big Deal in Her Major Economic Speech

Voters Want Paid Leave, Paid Sick Days, Polls Show…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ERIN BOUTHIETTE

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I am a lover of nature and everything Boston! As a career driven mama, I am always looking to find ways to balance motherhood with professionalism without losing touch with my fun side. A true believer in “keeping it real”, I spend my free time snowboarding, kayaking and love to run on the daily. I am a mother of a 4 year old (with another on the baby on the way!) and have been with my husband (also a lover of mountains) for 15 years.

Professionally, I have been in the staffing industry for 12 years and currently serve as a Chief Operating Officer for an IT consulting firm, Relational IT. I uncovered my secret “geek” and passion for the sciences and information technology through helping people find new careers and have been instrumental in developing and cultivating business opportunities in the greater Boston area for my organization.

I Co-Founded Blissfulmamas,a project created in order to shed some light on the positive aspects of being a working mama. Blissfulmamas is a networking community for working mamas with a positive outlook, looking to collaborate with each other on career advancements, job opportunities, managing and organizing family life, without forgetting about the long overdue personal “me” time. Our goal is to act as a positive outreach for working mamas and be a place where working mamas can collaborate, find resources & inspiration all available on the go!

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WiLab Post: Finding Opportunity in the Turning Point

Please check out the release of this story on WiLab!

FINDING OPPORTUNITY IN THE TURNING POINT

I recently had a fantastic opportunity to speak to a group of young women at Hult International Business School in Boston, MA for the “Women in Business Series: Walk in Her Heels” hosted by the Women in Business Club.

Hult

I discussed my background and my perspective on how it took me time to realize that the work I am doing today is in conjunction with my original goals as a fresh grad. 12 years in business has afforded me an understanding that fulfillment is much more complicated and you should not expect to gain a fulfilled life from your job alone. We are complex human beings. Take an honest look at yourself, your goals and aspirations to build the right opportunities for yourself. In addition, timing is not everything. Everyone talks about “having it all” which seems absolutely impossible when you are attempting this feat. It is also unfair to put that type of pressure on yourself. I am a successful business woman, wife, mother of a 4 yr. old with another baby on the way. Being everything to everyone has its ups and downs.

It was important to me to discuss a topic that I find interesting and something that has helped me in my own career which has been “Finding Opportunity in the Turning Point” When faced with a challenge or turning point in your life on the cusp of change. How can you make the best move, create the best opportunity and successfully position yourself to achieve your goals?

Recognizing the Turning Point, The Need for Change?

When you realize its time to take on a new challenge; graduating from college, changing jobs, career paths, or a major life event,  it is important to recognize the turning point and prepare yourself for a change. I am a list maker by nature and planning the next opportunity takes time to map out. Preparing to dive in takes practice, but when do you dive in the deep end and take a risk? I suggest to start by aligning your personal goals with professional goals. Does your next move incorporate your overall aspirations and mission? If your job path does not, that’s OK. We can’t all make our favorite hobby a job and sometimes reality sinks in. I often find balance between my career and interests by tying in extracurricular activities. Be dynamic.

Diving in the Deep End, Preparing for Change & Diving in

One of my most embarrassing moments was at a 6 grade party. I stood on the diving board (a chubby 10 year old girl), my crush was swimming in the pool, and for some odd reason I decided to announce that I was not only going to dive in, I would up my game and do a back flip. I proceeded to do a back flop in front of my entire class. It was at that moment I decided not to give a f**k and laugh with others (who were laughing at me) and not take everything so seriously. I use this analogy now 20 years later. You are inevitability going to dive in and potentially fail, big time. But that is the first step. Understanding your strengths, disposition and capabilities will help maximize your potential for success. Create a portfolio of your greatest strengths, where do you excel? Figure out what angle you are making the decision from, what is important to you, right now? When seeking a new opportunity, explore all options.

When you dive in the deep end to seek change in your career, do your research and know your audience. This will help you position yourself appropriately to communicate effectively with your audience. If you promote yourself to change, you will create new opportunities. Get out there!

Marketing Yourself, Tools for Engaging in Change

Some quick tips for marketing yourself; preparing your qualifications to engage in change, ask yourself; how are you presenting yourself to the world? Be your own advocate, find advocates. Who do you know that can introduce you to a new career, potential employer, advocate for change? Get comfortable with networking and the only way to do this is to practice.

Taking Chances, When to Take Risks?

It is important to consider timing when taking chances with your career. It might make sense to take a risk at this point in your life, for others stability might be at the top of the list. Ask yourself, can you really live with this decision every day? Do a walk through of your daily activities and make sure you are happy with your decision. How do you connect with the team, the mission?

Finding fulfillment is much more dynamic than landing a job. It is a combination of many things. Finding opportunity at the turning point is lead by your passion, understanding and disposition for the need for change. Capture your interests in both your job and through extra curricular projects to keep a sharp edge on your resume and credential building exercises. At the end of the day, its only a job and true happiness, fulfillment and change is initiated from within.

A New Step for Pregnant Women in the Work Place via WiLab!

Please see the release of this story on WiLab!

A NEW STEP FOR PREGNANT WOMEN IN THE WORK PLACE

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Sometimes when you become pregnant you feel a little nervous about how to break the news to your boss and coworkers. Imagine for a moment that you are in a job that requires you to be in the public eye. Now imagine that because of how you looked and dressed while pregnant, the public began heckling you. Sounds fake right? WRONG!

Kristi Gordon of Global News in Canada, has lived this twice over. During her first pregnancy she received comments and criticism like this: “Nowhere on North America TV have we seen a weather reader so gross as you,”

After receiving numerous insults like this during her first pregnancy, she actually had to ask the public to be kind during her second. Anyone else completely appalled yet?

Watch the video below:

Despite her admitted worry that by commenting on these ridiculous letters she was providing satisfaction to her haters, I believe it only further proved her confidence as a woman and a professional. She not only gave pregnant women a voice, but her coworkers backed her 100% in this venture.

“To all viewers, thanks for all your feedback. We’ve read them all. We support Kristi, her wardrobe choices and all women who work while pregnant.” -Global BC

It’s very easy to be angry and feel that these types of occurrences are yet another setback for working mothers, but at Blissfulmamas, believe that this is a step forward!

Kristi is an incredible model of strength and perseverance and the support she has received from coworkers and Global BC, proves that working mothers are taking another step forward!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BLISSFULMAMAS

dsc_0013Blissfulmamas is inspired by living in the moment, embracing the chaos and enjoying the crazy wonderful ride of motherhood. As working professionals, we really do have it all! Come as you are and embrace it. Families are like snowflakes, each different and unique, no two the same. The antiquated idea of the perfect roadmap to raising a family, balancing a professional job, and everything else in and between is long overdue for a make over! Blissfulmamasis a networking community for working mamas with a positive outlook, looking to collaborate with each other on career advancements, job opportunities, managing and organizing family life, without forgetting about the long overdue personal “me” time. Our goal is to act as a positive outreach for working mamas and be a place where workingmamas can collaborate & find resources, all available on the go!

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Read more about and from the author: BlissfulMama’s WiLab Profile

 

 

7 Tips for Working Moms

See the release of this story on WiLab!

7 TIPS FOR WORKING MOMS

From Huffingtonpost.com

For working mothers, trying to squeeze everything into 24/7 can be exhausting. After dealing with this exhaustion myself, I decided to come up with a list of tried and true ways to combat it. Below are a few tips and tricks that I suggest will help you balance family, work, and all the craziness that pops up in between

1. Learn to Let Go:

Just when you think you have a grip on your schedule, someone gets sick or the car breaks down. The only thing we can do in these moments is take a breath and keep moving forward.

2. Make Lists:

Lists for you, lists for hubby, lists for whomever. Get things off your plate, delegate. You can text or use an old fashioned notebook. Getting your ideas out of your head and onto a concrete piece of paper helps to clear your head and keep you organized.

3. Stand Up for Your Rights at Work:

If you put in 100% effort, expect the same respect in return. When you are at work, keep focused and work hard. It’s easy to get distracted, but don’t let yourself. This attitude might help you move up in ladder.

4. Be Offline from 6-9:

Set aside these hours for precious family time that your kids need. Turn off your devices until the kids go to sleep so you can relax and enjoy their company.

5. Learn to Say No:

Having a schedule too full of activities will push you over the edge. This includes work activities and your kid’s extracurricular ones. I am not saying to cancel every event, but be mindful of how much you are squeezing in to a small amount of time during the week and on your precious weekends.

6. Make the Weekends About Family:

Everyone works hard during the week at work or school. The weekends should have some relaxation time built in so you can start the next work week fresh and stress free. My family tries to set aside one day with no obligations…Not even setting an alarm!

7. Breathe. Repeat. Breathe. Repeat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BLISSFULMAMAS

dsc_0013Blissfulmamas is inspired by living in the moment, embracing the chaos and enjoying the crazy wonderful ride of motherhood. As working professionals, we really do have it all! Come as you are and embrace it. Families are like snowflakes, each different and unique, no two the same. The antiquated idea of the perfect roadmap to raising a family, balancing a professional job, and everything else in and between is long overdue for a make over! Blissfulmamasis a networking community for working mamas with a positive outlook, looking to collaborate with each other on career advancements, job opportunities, managing and organizing family life, without forgetting about the long overdue personal “me” time. Our goal is to act as a positive outreach for working mamas and be a place where working mamas can collaborate & find resources, all available on the go!