Submitted by "Human Rights Mama"
As a lawyer specializing in policy advocacy for refugee rights and the mother of a 3-year-old and 10-week-old, I've had a number of experiences that only seem "funny" in hindsight. I share them in an effort to encourage other working parents because it isn't always easy, but we get the job done (at work and at home)!
When my son, our first child, was 3.5 months old, I took a required work trip to a conference in Europe. It was my second week back from maternity leave and my employer was very supportive, encouraging me to bring my spouse and baby along. Having them close enabled me to more easily focus on my work; leading a staff retreat and attending human rights hearings at the UN all week. My husband was extremely supportive and happy to come along to help, but the universe kept throwing obstacles in our way. At the time I was exclusively breastfeeding and quickly discovered that I did not have the right electrical adapters to enable me to pump. Plus there weren't many electrical outlets in the city restrooms anyway.
As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, it was 100F degrees outside, and it was humid too. But we made it work.
Instead of seeing some sights as he'd planned, my husband brought the baby to me every three hours for feedings. The thing was, my husband rarely had the right badges to get into the buildings, so he had to wait for me out in the heat. Or sometimes we met in an air-conditioned grocery store to pass the baby back and forth. Then he would pack our little boy up and try to get him somewhere cool for a nap. He must have logged 50 miles of walking that week!
In one of my favorite moments, the UN refused to let the baby through security because he didn't have an official badge from an accredited organization. That meant that I missed an entire afternoon of hearings at the Human Rights Council. I believe they were talking about women’s rights in that session ...
The irony was not lost on me.
Pointer to the recent CNN interview with Mark Zuckerberg
Last night, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was interviewed by CNN in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. While the entire interview was interesting, we couldn't help but appreciate Mark's brief comments near the very end about how being a father has changed his "guiding philosophy". You can hear his thoughts for yourself starting at the 14:00 min mark of this video.
Link to a video posted on Twitter
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Often we encourage our kids to persevere when they struggle. And sometimes we learn by watching them. Check out the tenatious child in this video (<1 min) that was recently posted on Twitter.
Being a working parent can be like this, but if you keep at it, and get some good advice, you're likely to have a great sense of accomplishment at the end!
A book review
Pointer to a Yahoo! Lifestyle video featuring Anne McClain
Some working parents fret about the need to travel for business. Astronaut Anne McClain, who will be be heading to the International Space Station in November, offers a balanced perspective shared by many. Some of her thoughts have been included in a short Yahoo! Lifestylevideo (<2 min). Enjoy!
Submitted by The Mama Politic
My husband and I both work. I'm an academic researcher. He's a sociologist. We have a daughter who recently turned one and older children from my husband's previous marriage.
For now we're prioritizing my career, although neither of us is slacking on the job. His strong support is enabling me to advance in my dream job as an applied research faculty member at a large university. I feel lucky to have his backing along with somewhat flexibile work hours. We also have great daycare which we appreciate. Our caregiver is wonderful, and our daughter appears to be thriving. Lots of things are going really well.
Still, it isn't easy. One of the things I find hardest about being a working parent is balancing career objectives with this feeling that I need to "do it all". And look fantastic doing it! As the sole cook in our family (long story), I need to get dinner ready each evening. Given my food allergies, this takes some extra effort. And to make things extra challenging, my daughter just started becoming incredibly fussy when we get home at the end of the day. Trying to make dinner and keep her happy is starting to feel like a losing battle. Between my Type A personality that has me wanting to make a great dinner and her unabated screaming, feelings of frustration and uselessness often take over. Hopefully this is a temporary phase.
One way I am staying motivated is by training myself to say, "Screw that!" to a lot of things. I didn't puree my daughter's food when she was younger, I don't make bento boxes, and right now I just feed my daughter everything we eat - spices and all. She has slept in her own crib since day one, and I never breastfed because post partum depression required me to take a mood stabilizer. Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly be "enough" at home. Interestingly, many things seem to come more naturally to my husband than they do to me. Maybe it's because he has older children and has done this before. Still, I feel like I need to do it all, or at least I want to do it all. These feelings and challenges are helping me learn the value of prioritization.
As I ponder the way we negotiate this life, I think about my need for my husband to support my career goals and understand my need to go to work every day. We are far from perfect, but he definitely has my back professionally. This may be difficult for some couples to understand. Maybe the fact that we both had working moms is why it feels right to us.
Some friends who don't get it give me flak. They warn me that I'll regret not putting our daughter to bed every single night, and they're concerned that I've never cried when I've taken her to daycare. When our daughter was six months old, I changed jobs so I could spend more time with her, but some still seem concerned for me.
My husband and I take this all in. We also know that our daughter is healthy, happy, and developmentally on track. She clearly loves us. Because we need our work to feel fulfilled, we truly believe that we're making choices that are best for her, our marriage and our family. It just feels right.
Link to a short video clip from Good Morning America
Many working parents are constantly assessing the way they spend their time. Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, is no different. He recently told Michael Strahan on Good Morning America that he thinks about the tradeoffs related to many of his decisions. You can view Brady's comments about family starting at 3:14 in this short video.
When our kids were little, every single time my husband announced, "I'm going for a run", our son would ask, "Daddy come back?" We thought this was hilarious; mostly because life was really hectic at the time, and while the thought of not returning when we left the house had never occurred to us, it did contain a certain level of appeal on some days.
Interestingly, I don't remember either child being upset when we left the house or left them somewhere. They just wanted to understand when we'd be back. Maybe we were lucky. Or maybe they reflected our attitudes that outtings like daycare, school, and trips were fun. It was probably a combination of luck and attitudes. And while I wish we could take full credit for the ease with which they handled transitions, I realize in hindsight that both kids seemed innately eager to "get out there" and experience the activitites we described to them and they read about in books.
Some working parents describe sad scenes when it comes to business travel and daycare. They tell stories that include tears and angst. It has me wondering if the kids might be reflecting their parents' feelings. It's possible that my own kids may have looked forward to having one of us leave on a business trip since it usually meant a change in routine that could be fun; like pancakes for dinner or a little less attention (and more freedom) as the "single parent" left behind struggled to "survive".
Either way, it may be worth asking yourself if your child's tears and fears stem from your own behavior. I don't remember my own dad traveling for work very often, but when he did, it was exciting for all of us. Not only did he return with stories of faraway places, but he brought gifts; tiny bars of soup and teeny weeny bottles of shampoo. At some point in my childhood I vowed to go to college so that I could get a job that allowed me to travel and collect these prizes for myself. I learned early on that business travel is exciting, and if I worked hard, I'd be able to experience it for myself one day.
Yesterday I heard a parent on the radio explain that she left her career because her employer wouldn't give her the flexibility she needed as a parent. Given that I had the radio on for about 90 seconds, I didn't hear what she said before she made that comment, and I heard very little afterward, but it left me wondering; did her spouse also need to leave his career? And if not, why not? Is it possible that her spouse wasn't helping to provide the flexibility she needed to continue her career? Or maybe she didn't want to truly share parental responsiblities with him.
Sometimes it seems like people are looking for reasons to avoid pursuing a career instead of ways to make it work.
If you sincerely want to pursue a career and parenthood, you may find the stories we publish helpful.
Inspired by an interview published on Forbes.com
Founder and editor of the web site mater mea (which means "my mother" in Latin), Anthonia Akitunde, was recently featured by Forbes.com. The article, which is based on an interview conducted by Stephanie Newman, highlighted some "hidden joys of working mothers". These joys will be familiar to many working parents.
Here is a sampling of them.
Some parents aren't encouraged to share stories about the joy they get from their work. Thanks for talking about it, Anthonia and Stephanie!
organized by publication date and category