Pointer to a Forbes article by Mary Beth Ferrante
Yesterday Forbes published a great article called How To Survive A Two Breadwinner Household. We love the article because it promotes many of the same ideas we promote and aligns with many of the topics we've covered recently including the following (and many more):
Thank you, MaryBeth Ferrante, for helping other dual income couples recognize the challenges so we can be sure our families thrive and we contribute to a brighter future in so many ways.
Pointer to HBO's new Docu-Series Being Serena
Working moms on Reddit brought our attention to the new five-part Docu-Series on HBO* called Being Serena. The series chronicals the most recent events in Serena Williams' life; from winning the Australian Open while pregnant in April 2017 right up to attending the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
But it's the stuff in-between those events that is most interesting ... and inspiring ... and thought provoking ... and relatable.
For those who don't know, Serena is married to Alexis Ohanian, one of the co-founders of Reddit, so it's especially interesting that Reddit led us to this program. Talk about a synergistic relationship!
Working parents (both moms and dads) are likely to appreciate Serena's story and find themselves relating, thinking, and being inspired as they watch.
* It appears that Being Serena is also available via On Demand until early July. More info.
Pointer to research results published by ScienceDaily
When our kids were in school, we knew a couple who were highly respected parents. Imagine my thrill when I learned that they limited their very smart and very talented son to two (or was it three?) extracurricular activities at a time. While other parents were bragging about the hours they spent shuttling their kids from activity to activity, these parents confidently let people know that they thought some reasonable limits were best for their son.
Their confidence set the example I needed to let go of any concern I had that my own kids might be falling behind because they weren't overbooked and in constant motion. It was really helpful and comforting information during a time that I needed more help and comfort!
If you would appreciate knowing that your kids don't need to be booked 24/7, look no further than this article published by ScienceDaily: Are your children overdoing it? Too many extracurricular activities can do more harm than good. It summarizes results from a small study in England and points out that "a busy organized activity schedule can ... potentially harm children's development and wellbeing." It may provide the info working parents need to better manage their time and protect their sanity.
Originally Published: May16, 2018 | Last Updated: Jun 11, 2018
Submitted by the 40 daddy
While it’s common to discuss the merits of the Family/Career balance, I actually feel healthier when I focus on the Family/Career/Passion balance.
At a high level I define these as follows:
-- Family time is spent with my children and spouse; all of us together as well as time alone with my spouse.
-- Career provides my source of income…obviously.
-- Passion The collection of activities and hobbies that bring me joy.
Family obviously consumes the greatest share of time, as it should. Kids wake up and need to be coaxed back to sleep, they need food (so needy ;), want to play, and get sick. (And those little germ factories will get you sick!) We all know the drill. It takes a lot of time to raise kids.
But it’s easy to forget what I consider to be a critical component of family time: I call this “spousing”. (Is spousing a word? I’m not sure, but it wasn’t autocorrected so let’s add it to the lexicon.) And while Netflix is technically shared time together, it’s not really enough. We make time to talk for at least 10-15 minutes before Netflix. (We have so much free time!) We take walks together (e.g. we go down to the basement to look at what needs to be repaired or walk over to the garage to discuss the strange pool of liquid under the car). We try to go out for dinner together every few weeks too. (At least when our parents are in town, and there are plenty of diapers and breastmilk on hand. And the emergency numbers are up-to-date on the fridge. And you’ve conveyed which snacks are okay and which stuffed animals should always be near which blankies. And … ok fine we’ve only done this twice in three years.) It might end up only being 10-15 minutes, but we try to have “non-child-based" conversations …
Career takes almost as much time as family. We all know you gotta pay the bills.
Many employers will say they respect the demands of parenting, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Some of my previous co-workers (and managers) didn’t have children and didn’t truly understand the demands they present. To be fair, how could they possibly understand? I know that I didn’t fully understand them until I took the plunge.
I’ve always been open about my family obligations. I try to manage expectations about my work through clear communication. I’m also careful about the spacing of large projects that require a lot of time and attention (e.g. long days, weekend work, fast responses times). One trick I use is to be sure to include often overlooked tasks within my full-time schedule. (i.e. I schedule blocks of time for mundane activities like administrative work and supporting teammates.) This provides me with a bit of a buffer so when I’m not in the middle of a critical project I can often arrive a little later, or go home a little earlier, and shut off my phone for the weekend.
When I strike that clear, well-defined balance, it helps with my morale at home and at work, it enables me to spend plenty of time with my family and on my career, and feels like I’m contributing in both roles.
For me, it’s crucial that I also make some time to pursue my passions. Sometimes it’s guitar, sometimes it’s writing, sometimes it’s carpentry, or rehearsing a theater piece.
I find it hardest to make time for these things. Several nights of broken sleep aren’t great motivators for waking up early to write the next Game of Thrones. If we don’t get all the kids asleep until 9:30 pm, I don’t have enough energy left to break out the guitar or get the table saw running. Standard home maintenance tasks like sweeping, dishes, groceries, and laundry can easily consume all of our time during a weekend … That makes a beer and Hulu feel like the most peaceful way to spend my cherished down time.
I’ve managed to carve out some time for these activities in several ways. I hustle the kids out a little earlier than normal so I’m at my desk 30-45 minutes before I’m needed. Or I pack food, kill the Internet, and put on head phones during my lunch break. My wife and I will swap out time on the weekends so she can take a yoga class on Saturday and I can go for a run on Sunday.
Time for ourselves and our passions does wonders for my wife and me.
I feel lucky in many ways. I started a family later than many; just after I turned 40. That gave me 20 years to play around, screw up, try and reject jobs, learn to live without much money, and then land a career that I enjoy and really establish myself. By the time my kids were born I’d developed a strong reputation, a large industry network, and marketable skillsets. This stability means that my career enables me to spend a reasonable amount of time with my family.
I also have a strong partner with a career and passions of her own that I actively support, and on occasion I make sacrifices to help her accomplish her goals. We have each focused on each other’s careers and needs as much as, if not more, than our own. For us this is hugely valuable; doing everything we can to support each other’s careers. At different times, one career or the other takes precedence. Sometimes only one of us is intensely pursuing a passion or career, and if a balance isn’t struck it can lead to stresses in the relationship.
Just recently I reached a point where I am able to trim back my career, which I love, to make a bit more time for family as well as passions that could lead to a secondary career. It’s taken 20 years to reach this point, and it still feels like a risk. We’ll see what happens.
I feel strongly that my deathbed memories will not be focused on my careers and hours worked, but instead will focus on our family and the passions we pursued. I’m working on making sure I have lots of great deathbed memories. (As morbid as that sounds as I write it.)
Submiteed by Ibinye Osibodu-Onyali
After becoming a mom for the first time, I had very high expectations for myself and my children. I wanted to be the perfect mom who would raise perfect kids. Parents won't be surprised to learn that my expectations quickly produced anxiety and lots of hair pulling. I needed to get real.
So I sat down and created a vision for myself. I actually wrote it down. It included spending quality time with my family and quality time with myself. It included helping others too. The vision helped me find balance in my life, and I'm happy to report that my vision is being realized.
Recently I was able to show my kids where I grew up in Nigeria and we were also able to show them London on the trip. The vacation was amazing! I had time to rejuvenate, eat tons of food, hang out with friends and family, and I was spoiled by my parents 😊.
I am determined to help other busy moms achieve fulfillment in their lives via my work as a therapist and life coach. I know that it's possible to be a working mom who has a happy personal life because I'm doing it!
Submitted by Chatón Turner
I'm a "Working mom on a quest for balance in stilettos". My children are 7 and 3-years-old, and we have another one on the way. I'm a wife to Andre Smith. And I'm also an attorney for a healthcare system, an adjunct professor, and a public speaker. In my "spare time" I maintain a social media presence via my chatonsworld.com web site, @Chatonsworld account on Twitter, and @chatonsworld account on Instagram. Obviously I like to write and communicate.
Balancing all of my roles is my biggest challenge. Indeed, Corporate America is still not very accommodating to working parents, and many organizations do not have formal flexible work policies. The culture and lack of flexibility makes balance incredibly hard. Still, I'm driven by high standards and a vision for the lifestyle I want to provide for my kids. My income matters to my family, and my family matters to me, so I try to do it all. I also hope that my example -- trying, working hard, and persevering despite these challenges -- will serve to teach my children what is possible.
Luckily I have good role models at work, and my mom worked the whole time I was growing up so I know it can be done. Maybe being a working parent is like childbirth. After powering through my own drug-free child birth experience, just like my mom had done, I asked her why she hadn't told me about the pain. It seemed like it might have been worth mentioning! She said "Nobody talks about it because if we did nobody would do it." So, like I said, maybe it's the same for working parents.
People tell me that I need to power through the working parent struggles to get to the glory, and I'm in it for the glory of my kids. Hopefully these people are right!
Submitted by Patrick Hickey, Jr
The other day I was thinking about the fact that my dad had 12-year-old twin boys at my age. My parents spent their 20s working to provide for our family and raising my brother and me, while I spent my 20s going to college and establishing my career. Now in my early thirties, Josie Ann, my first child, is only five months old. My parents taught me so many valuable lessons, and I hope that I am able to teach my daughter a lot of them too. As my wife and I raise our little girl, we want to try to give her as many opportunities as we can while instilling some strong values. We want her to know that ...
A funny thing happened after I fell in love with my wife, Linda, while we were both attending Michigan State University: 7 kids, 31 years at HP Inc in various global roles, Linda's day care, volunteering, work at Colorado State University... whew!
We married and then moved away from our families in Michigan to pursue my career at Hewlett-Packard in Colorado. That was back in 1985, so our journey as a couple and as a family has been one of self-reliance from the beginning. It's been an always evolving partnership as our lives unfolded.
Early in our marriage, the stress of it all was a challenge at times. There were deadlines, new jobs, finances, and a young family. It was a challenge to find energy for each other, and I could sense that I wasn't as intuitively grounded as I wanted to be. So i decided I needed to create an explicit framework for myself. I needed to write down not only "what" I wanted to stand for and pursue, but "how" I would hold myself accountable and recognize progress. (Yes, I'm a bit goal-driven.) While this was designed to help me get my personal 'act together', I shared it with Linda during one of our weekly "dates".