Archive for October, 2009


Do parents get special treatment at work? I try hard not to

Categories: Balancing Act, Career Talk


The opening sentence of Sue Shellenbarger’s piece in the WSJ caught my eye:

Has the workplace become so pro-family that if you don’t have a child, you have to make one up in order to get fair treatment?

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently. At my job, there are many parents, but I also have many colleagues who don’t have kids. I’ve found that I’m often conscious about how I might be perceived as a working parent and careful to not expect or demand any special treatment from my boss or colleagues. For example, when we had a product release coming up, I knew that it would mean several very late nights in the office. So I lined up some extra babysitting (from my dad, thank you!) and asked my husband to please be home on time — I wanted to make sure that I was there, with my colleagues, as a team during that important and stressful time. I thought it was important that if I could swing it, that I not use the “I’ve got a kid at home” excuse to leave the office early.
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Celebrating small things: My day as super working mom

Categories: Balancing Act, Working Women Issues


On this blog I often share the struggles and challenges I face as a working mom. It’s not easy, we all know that. But today I had one of those amazing days when everything seemed to work and as I sit here and type these words, I am experiencing an extremely rare emotion:

I feel like I rocked this day, as a mom, as a professional, as a daughter, and even as a wife.

Feeling like this is rare for me because I get through most days with this nagging feeling of not being adequate in any of the many roles that I play. You know the drill, I am sure: Not feeling like you did enough at work, or spent enough time with your kids, or managed to have a real conversation with your husband. Read any member article or blog or comment on Work It, Mom! and it seems many of us feel this way. And that’s why I wanted to share my small little victory of having one day when I don’t feel like that. It’s totally cheesy, but life is so full of difficult stuff that I feel we need to play up the good parts more.

So, about my day. I am sure you don’t want to hear all of the details, but here’s the gist:
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Working moms vs. stay-at-home moms: The Dr. Phil edition

Categories: Balancing Act, Working Women Issues, Your life


I’ve never watched Dr. Phil and to be honest, the small bits of the show that I’ve caught here and there, while flipping through channels at the gym, didn’t exactly draw me in. I find him blunt, but in a bad way, intrusive, but in less-than-helpful way, and just overall not a kind of guy whose opinion will sway me. So when I read about the show he did recently about stay-at-home moms vs. working moms, I didn’t rush to YouTube to check it out.

It turns out it was a very good thing. According to the many, many blog posts about it — most filled with the kind of sharp emotion only the mommy wars can bring on — the show would have made my blood boil. One of the guests was Jessica Gottlieb, who is a stay-at-home mom and who often blogs about the wonderfullness of moms who stay at home and the terribleness of moms who choose to work. Apparently she said things like working moms who choose to work (vs those who have to work) are selfish and “I wouldn’t outsource loving my husband, why would I outsource loving my kids?”
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Socializing with colleagues: Do you or don’t you?

Categories: Balancing Act, Career Talk, Your life


For the first time in a VERY long time I work at a company where many of my colleagues are also friends. Not the best, close, share everything, talk all the time friends, but friends whose company I enjoy and whose lives I’m happy to be a part of.

I’ve definitely had friends from work before. (One of my great life friends is a woman I worked with for five years at a small firm — even though we now live in different cities and don’t see each other often, we’re still good friends.) But what I’ve missed during the latter parts of my career is working in an environment where I have a lot in common with many people — vs. just a few — and where people do spend time together outside of work. I’m now realizing just how important it is for me to be in a social work environment and how much I missed this energy during the last few years when I worked from home.
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Corporate re-orgs and working mom guilt

Categories: Your life


When I sat down to breakfast with my kiddo this morning, she looked a little surprised. I realized why: For the past week, we hardly saw each other, not to mention share a meal. My absentee mothering — as I’ve called it during the few moments this week when working mom guilt kicked in stronger than usual — was due to the insanity going on at work.

Early in the week most of us realized that something BIG was on the horizon. Mid-week, some of the management changes were evident and we’d gotten an invite to an all-hands meeting for our group, to be attended by a super-senior manager. By Thursday morning, we were part of a significant corporate re-org and trying to figure out what it all meant for the group and for each of us individually. The usual office politics picked up steam and I think I literally spent 48 hours in a row talking to dozens of my colleagues.
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Full-time work and motherhood: Few think it’s the best match

Categories: Balancing Act, Career Talk


I am a sucker for any report or new story about working moms — not surprisingly, obviously — so of course I checked out the recent report from the Pew Research Center titled The Harried Life of the Working Mother. It is filled with all sorts of interesting (although predictable and somewhat obvious) data but the section that jumped out at me was about full time work and motherhood.

Overwhelmingly, moms and dads don’t think that working full-time and being a mom is an ideal arrangement.

This chart says it all:
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Maybe it’s time to stop stressing about the family dinner

Categories: Balancing Act, Parenting & Family


For a while after our daughter was born I used to stress about the fact that we rarely ate dinner as a family during the week. Our nanny or babysitter would feed our daughter before my husband and I got home and then he and I would grab some food later at night. On weekends we’d sit down for lunch or dinner together, but during the week the schedules just didn’t work out. But since I read study after study about how having family dinners has a positive impact on kids — better nutrition, less involvement with alcohol and drugs, etc. — I felt quite guilty that our family dinners were so few and far between.

Eventually, I learned to let it go. Well, maybe not completely, but for the most part, I figure there are enough real things to stress about than not being able to be the Leave It to Beaver perfect family. I also came up with an alternative — a family breakfast. Most mornings, even if just for a few minutes, the three of us all sit down for a warm breakfast together and catch our breath before the daily hectic pace begins. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter what meal it is and what the family dinner is really about is spending some focused time together as a family.
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Do you share your life stress with your colleagues?

Categories: Balancing Act


I’ve long accepted that the whole idea of some kind of a work-life balance is just plain ridiculous. I think about it as a work-life juggle: At any given time, I’m all juggling some number of balls related to work and some number of balls related to my daughter, husband, parents, grandparents, and other life responsibilities. If I am lucky, I can keep most of these balls up in the air.

Not so during these last few weeks, during which the life part of my work-life juggle has got me beat. My grandmother has been in and out of the hospital and I think by this point my cell phone is basically an extension to my ear, as jumped between talking to her, my parents, and various doctors. Our sitter’s car has been in the shop for 3 weeks, which has meant some pretty creative arrangements to get her to our house and home. My husband started a new job which has come with late nights in the office, leaving me to deal with the night-time routine on my own (which would be fine if it weren’t for that cell phone attached to my ear.)

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