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.
Submitted by Kathy Haselmaier
Work required me to travel internationally on occasion. I usually viewed these trips as sacrifices since they took me away from my family along with being tiring, if not exhausting. Once I made it to the airport, I usually appreciated the change in routine, and once I made it to the hotel, I usually appreciated the opportunities to meet new people, see new things, and discuss new ideas.
But I rarely took any extra time to explore the area on my own after the business was complete. Instead, I felt compelled to get back to my family and "be there" for them ASAP. (It occurs to me that this sounds downright crazy as I write it so many years later.) Thankfully, there was one time when a colleague and I decided to take an extra day to explore Rome on our own.
Thanks to this fun, flexible and very accommodating colleague, I had a great day as we explored the city. In fact, it was so great that I vowed to return "soon" with my husband and kids (14 and 9) so that they could explore these wonders too.
Thirteen months later, the four of us were sitting on a plane heading to Rome where we experienced, what later became known as, "the best vacation".
Work experiences often make us better parents. And sometimes we need to indulge ourselves in order to understand how to leverage those experiences so that they benefit the whole family.
Submitted by "Human Rights Mama"
Note: This is not a sponsored story. Neither the author nor Working Parent Stories have received any form of compensation from the businesses and services mentioned below.
As a lawyer specializing in policy advocacy for refugee rights and the mother of two, I've found myself pumping in a wide variety of places including New York City, Geneva, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, and Brussels. (Not to mention on airplanes to said destinations.) I have also purchased pump replacement parts in nearly all of these cities, as I seem to forget one key part on every single trip. Target stores are a blessing to all women who need quick pumping solutions!
Figuring out where to pump can be a challenge. On many trips I need to walk or take transit between multiple meetings in a single day. It's often hard to find places to pump or nurse when I'm away from home and on the go; especially in big cities. Thankfully there are some apps and websites that crowsdsource good places to pump, including momspumphere.com. When in doubt, I’ve found it helps to ask the Internet.
Hotels have been the most accommodating in my experience. They usually offer me an empty room or an office, even if I'm not a guest. And like many, I've had to settle for the gross public restroom on occasion.
Airports often have lactation or baby rooms now, which is in credibly helpful. San Francisco International Airport has a great room on the new pier in Terminal 3; it has become one of my favorite stops before boarding a plane.
My favorite ad hoc location was a Nordstrom dressing room near Washington, DC. It was quite comfortable, though I am sure the other patrons were a bit confused by the mechanical sounds coming from my room :)
And what to do with all that milk? Thankfully there are services available to ship it home in a chilled container. I’ve used Milk Stork, and FedEx has options as well.
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 a Yahoo! Lifestyle video featuring Anne McClain
Some working parents fret about the need to travel for business. Astronaut Anne McClain, who will 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! Lifestyle video (<2 min). Enjoy!
Pointer to a TODAY show video
When our kids were little I worried when I had to take long business trips because I feared that it wasn't good for them to have me gone for more than a few days. Now that they're grown, I know that those fears were silly, and I can see that there were many ways that those trips actually made me a better parent.
Those thoughts recently re-surfaced as I watched a short video from NBC's TODAY show recently. It highlighted the anchors' two-week separations from their families, espeically kids, while they were in South Korea covering the Olympics, and it showed their homecomings too.
Working parents whose jobs require them to travel will probably be able to relate to the stories they tell. (And older working parents will be able to relate to the differences between returning to babies and toddlers vs. teenagers :)
Submitted by Jim Haselmaier
My wife and I both worked full-time while raising our two kids. It never occurred to me that I might give up my career after our kids came along. It seemed like everyone I knew expected me to support my family financially, and I never questioned that expectation. Before our daughter was born, my wife told me that she thought she might be a better mother if she continued working, and I agreed with her. So even when things got hectic and stressful (and trust me they did), it never entered my mind to give up my career.
In hindsight, I think the process of managing careers and kids worked for both of us because we were determined to make it work. Most of the time it was just that simple. We also developed a level of flexibility that enabled us to manage and cope with the unexpected demands presented by our kids and our jobs. We got really good at supporting each other and communicating clearly. It's worth pointing out to younger parents that we weren't great at any of this in the beginning. It took years of trial and error, failures and successes, and a lot of laughter (and a few tears) to work into a rhythm. We were lucky to have friends with similar lifestyles who would listen to our stories and laugh (rather than gasp) and then tell their own similar stories. Even though our kids have been on their own for a while now, we still feel like we're catching up on lost sleep and quiet time.
We each had standing "household assignments"; mine were cooking, grocery shopping and keeping up with the cars. My wife's focus was laundry, paying bills, and "logistics". Over time I added investing and she took on some volunteer work. We recognized that the demands of our careers ebbed and flowed. When one of us was particularly busy at work, the other might need to step in and do more around the house for a while. The fact that we both had demanding full-time careers made us extra sensitive to situations where work was particularly hectic for the other. It caused us to develop a lot of empathy for each other too.
One thing that worked for us was an agreement that we would never commit to a business trip without talking with each other to be sure our trips didn't overlap. That ensured we were always able to honor our commitments. And once my in-laws came to the rescue when we both really did need to travel the same week.
One night, while I was out-of-town and having dinner with colleagues, my cell phone rang. My wife was calling to ask about a logistical issue at home. The call was quick and efficient with none of the standard pleasantries. My dinner colleagues (who knew my wife and our dual-career situation) started quizzing me about how we do it - raise kids while both of us work. I told them that we'd developed a high degree of empathy for each other. For example, I told them that we understand that, when traveling, the person at home has the harder job. I pointed out that I didn't tell her I was out having a nice meal in a nice restaurant and enjoying myself because that would not have helped her as she was dealing with the stress at home.
I appreciated that my career enabled me to travel and change my focus on occasion. I hope it made me a better parent. My wife's career offered the same benefits for her.
Determination, flexibility, and commitment enabled us to make it work. Every day.
Submitted by Rick Steffens
When my two kids were in grade school, I needed to travel for work a lot. To be sure I stayed connected with them in a meaningful way, I wanted to establish a fun, special and easily repeatable activity that would make it clear to them that our relationship was one of my top priorities. After some discussion, we decided I would take each of them out for lunch once a month.
When we were just starting out, I didn't really think it was a big deal. But every time I picked one of them from school, the teacher would tell me that they were really excited.
Submitted by Doreen Rose
While traveling from Houston to Tampa to New York, I had a wonderful experience.
A vacationing family saw me working on my devices and asked what I do for a living. They were fascinated by my occupation in the Cyber Security industry and seemed surprised to meet a woman in my role.
Submitted by Andy McKennan
So there was this time that my wife was on an extended business trip. She was out of the country and gone for a full week. During that time my eldest daughter, who was 7 or 8 at the time, was playing at a friend’s house. The phone rang, and it was the friend’s mom. The mom was very upset, and clearly trying not to panic.