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With Spring Showers Comes the ‘She-Cession’: Keeping the Plates of Working Motherhood Spinning in the Midst of a Pandemic

Inspired by Maria Shriver’s investigative report for 3rd Hour Today, The State of Women: She-Cession.

The month of March typically fills our calendars with the return of spring weather, spring-cleaning, spring training and spring break, but this year, March also marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.  While we typically welcome the renewal and recharging that comes with spring, this year, many of us are instead reflecting on the insurmountable challenges and changes presented by the last year, and by the pandemic.  One of these challenges and changes has even coined a new name –the ‘She-cession’—plaguing American women, mothers, and caregivers and costing the United States an estimated “64.5 billion a year in lost wages and related economic activity” according to the Center for American Progress (CAP).  As we prepare spring break plans, however different they may look, we continue spinning our countless caregiving and career plates but to what end?  The pandemic’s effects are taking both economic and personal tolls, and they are hitting women the hardest.

In a recent report conducted by the CAP, findings show that women have lost a net of 5.4 million jobs as a result of the pandemic-induced recession, nearly 1 million more jobs than their male counterparts, and Black and Latina women have experienced a 50% higher unemployment rate than the national average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  While women are experiencing the benefits of workforce trends that have emerged in the last year like working remotely, they continue to shoulder the majority of domestic duties.  In fact, working moms are 1.5 times more likely to report an additional 3 hours a day on domestic ‘chores’ like supervising their children’s remote learning –practically another part-time job, and an unpaid one at that. As a result, the most recent Women in the Workplace report found that for the first time, 1 in 4 women are considering stepping out of the workforce or downshifting their careers.  The outcomes of the ‘She-cession’ are nothing short of disastrous—jeopardizing huge strides made toward gender equity in the workplace, lifelong effects on skills and earnings potential, and a significant impact on women’s mental and emotional health.

So what do we do? How do we solve problems as great as women living in their cars to afford care for their aging parents after losing their job? How do we pay the estimated $1 trillion bill of unpaid labor performed by women in the home? Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani is proposing a “Marshall Plan for Moms” that would ask Congress and the White House to support working mothers by implementing multiple policies that would address problematic parental leave plans, stabilize the child care industry and pay $2400 monthly to mothers to for their unpaid labor.  Issues like these, according to Saujani, who has garnered the attention and support of many working moms including celebrities, are forcing the hand of working women and mothers, “We aren’t choosing to leave the workforce, we’re being pushed out”.  There is hope.  The Biden administration is already reviewing the “Marshall Plan for Moms” and has already backed several of its initiatives such as family leave and subsidized childcare.

As working mothers, we embody empathy, compassion, interpersonal skills and the ingenuity required to care for, teach, and respond to the ever-growing needs of our children and our families.  Let’s come together and take action to utilize these talents and advocate for ourselves, our families, our world and our place in the workforce.

Find valuable resources, support, and action steps toward advocacy at the California Work and Family Coalition.

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Traveling with Teens

As our teens get older, making memories with them become much more important… and much more challenging. Being able to travel abroad with your teen and experience another culture is a fantastic way to create those lifelong memories and spend quality time together. Traveling with your teenager can also be a wonderful learning experience for them – It gives them a chance to see how other cultures live and how to interact within them. It can also give them a greater appreciation for their life at home.

So, if you are thinking about embarking on an international adventure with your teen, we’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for the experience!

1. Less is more. You might think you need a ton of clothes, shoes and everything in between, but packing a little lighter will allow you to be fluid. For example, if you fly in a smaller airplane with weight requirements to reach your destination, you’ll be happy to have only the essentials!

2. Talk about the culture and customs before you go. Spend some time researching the country you are visiting and have a few conversations about how it might be different than the US. Knowing more about the country you are visiting will help you better immerse yourself in the culture. (And it might even help you with what we mentioned about packing!)

3. Be okay if things aren’t perfect. Part of travel is about handling obstacles and being willing to readjust plans if needed. Traveling with teenagers is nerve-racking as it is, so be prepared for things to be a little different than how you planned them in the first place.

4. Learn a few words in the local language. While language barriers are common when traveling to other countries, if you know a few words, it can help ease tension when you are trying to communicate and is a sign of respect.

Career Children Dream Big Family Freedom

Anything is possible when you make the decision to start!

Meet Jessica! With a background as a Booth Strategist, Designer & Side-Hustler, she successfully ran her own business for years. As time went on, Jessica decided she needed something that would allow her more freedom to be with her family, while still bringing home an income. Jessica finding Moms Making Six Figures was truly a domino effect from the very beginning of her journey through motherhood. Read on to learn more about her amazing story.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ll start by saying I count my blessings every day for my husband Scott. We met in 2003, shortly after coming out of a domestic violence shelter in San Diego. Trust me, I wasn’t looking for love. We had our now 8-year-old son, Landon, in 2011.

By the time Landon was six months, like many other children, he had developed eczema. When he was 2 1/2, it had become so severe his legs looked like he had road rash. His skin was always broken, weeping and bleeding. We had become desperate to figure out what was causing his eczema and how to make it better. We saw every specialist under the sun and didn’t get anywhere. As a mom, it was frustrating to watch your child suffer in pain and discomfort. What was worse, he couldn’t yet fully speak to express his discomfort.

I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, so I started doing my own research online. I pulled countless all-nighters trying to sort out what was causing his eczema. My logic was telling me that something was wrong internally. I finally came across Leaky Gut Syndrome, or otherwise known as Increased Intestinal Permeability. I was convinced that this was what he was suffering from, later confirmed by a Naturopath Doctor. It became my mission to do whatever it would take to make him better.

That sounds extremely scary and as you mentioned, frustrating. What did you do next?

Well, during this time, I had been working as a server at a local restaurant chain I had worked at for six years. I ended up having to quit my job due to Landon needing round the clock care. His condition was expensive, too. Insurance was not covering most of his care and we were quickly draining our accounts.

I finally decided to reach out to our local community for assistance. The amount of assistance we got was amazing! Our community supported Landon in a huge way, but it only lasted so long. In 2015, I ended up putting together a vendor event in our neighborhood to serve as a fundraiser for Landon. We titled it the “Landon Scott Fair.” There were a lot of risks involved, but this mama was determined! The event ended up being very successful. We were able to use the funds to get the care that Landon so desperately needed.

Is organizing Landon’s fundraiser what first sparked your interest in event coordinating?

It definitely played a part in it! A week after the fundraiser, one of my vendors reached out and asked me for coffee. She was an event coordinator for local Foodie Festivals and was impressed with how well Landon’s fundraiser was run that she asked me to join her committee. The position would allow me to work from home and was the highest pay I had ever been offered. It was a miracle! I had so much fun working with the team and I ended up being promoted to Creative Director. We became really great friends and she also became a business mentor for me. She started introducing me to Masterminding & Networking groups and literally changed the trajectory of my life.

Okay, we’re intrigued. What do you mean by that?

We had just wrapped up the largest event we had done yet and my part was a huge success. At our Foodie Festivals, we always had a non-profit organization as a beneficiary. As the Creative Director, one of my duties was to strategize, design and run the booth for the non-profit if they could not be present. I knocked this one out of the park! We were sitting in our Mastermind Meeting and they were all asking me what I was going to do. The group was always encouraging me to start my own business, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I replied this time with “Event Coordinator.” When asked what type of events, I replied I would do them all! Weddings, anniversary parties, birthday parties, etc. They giggled and said I had to have a niche. Suddenly, one of our members said “Jessica, do you want to know what I think you would be really good at?” Curious, I asked, “what?” She said, “I think you would be really good at helping Vendors with their booths.” Her idea got my wheels turning and eventually “Rock Your Booth” was born.

What were those initial years of running your own business like?

With a new business came a whole lot of networking. I joined a group I had been introduced to, where I eventually met Jennifer Becker. Jennifer and I quickly became friends. We just meshed well and found a lot in common. She had just started with the team at Moms Making Six Figures. I had heard of the company before but was not interested in being on the team. What I loved about Jennifer was that she never pressured me and was more interested in our friendship.

As I continued to network, word started to get around about “Rock Your Booth.” I started running small workshops in friend’s homes and eventually in larger venues. I took on my first client in 2016, where I successfully strategized and designed a booth for her business. The booth was such a hit her company presented it on stage at their biggest event of the year.

I handled a few more booths before moving to Washington state in January 2017. I continued running workshops and started taking on larger clients. It was so exciting! I felt like I had finally found success. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. About a year and a half later, I had literally become a contractor, building booths and I was exhausted. I was overworked and underpaid. Because this business is so unique, I didn’t have any examples to follow and was basically learning as I was growing. I was also side hustling, taking on some graphic and web design clients just to make up for the lack of profit in my business. The year of 2018 was a tough one for “Rock Your Booth.” By the end of August, I was ready to just push the business aside for a while until I decided what to do with it.

So, you mentioned you had heard of Moms Making Six Figures… What ended up being the reason you wanted to join the team?

Over the years, every so often, Jennifer would give me the friendliest of nudge in regard to joining Moms Making Six Figures. Although I turned her down countless times, she was never offended. Maybe a little bummed, but not offended. With how I was feeling about my business, I broke down and called Jennifer. She was a friend first, giving me a shoulder to cry on as I vented about how hard life had been and that I felt like I was falling apart. I told her I was ready to join the team and give it a try. My thought process was, why not work with one of my dearest friends? I’m not going to lie… it was scary at first but being a part of this AMAZING team has brought so many blessings and has literally been life-changing! I get to work with a positive, supportive and empowering team I also call my friends.

What is your favorite part about working with the team?

I love supporting and empowering other moms to reach their goals and live a life they’ve always dreamed of. Anything is possible when you make the decision to start, listen to your mentors and never look back! I feel fortunate to be able to say that I love what I do. My family gets to have more time with me, I’m traveling more, I have more “me” time and I’m having a blast doing it! The best part of all, I am working from the comfort of my home.

My friends and family keep me motivated to always be morphing into the best version of myself. I used to think of the best version of myself as someone who becomes a career woman or an entrepreneur, makes sacrifices for her family and works a lot. Through the years, I’ve come to realize the best version of me is when I am working for myself with an amazing team backing me up. I owe a huge thanks to Moms Making Six Figures for this amazing opportunity and for having such a positive impact on my family’s quality of life.

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My time truly belongs to me!

Meet Catherine!  She used to work Commercial Banking but decided to pursue a career with Moms Making Six Figures. Like many of us, Catherine was craving more freedom to travel with her family. Read on to learn more about her incredible story.

Can you give us a little of your background and family life? 

I grew up in San Diego, except for the four years I lived in France, starting when I was 18.  My mother immigrated to the United States from France when she was 24 years old and later married my Dad who is American, which gave me dual citizenship — American and French.  I studied International Business at San Diego State University and I participated in the double diploma program with a French Business school called ESSEC.  I ended up receiving a BA in International Business from San Diego State University and an International Business degree from ESSEC.  My husband, Sean, and I have two boys Connor (10), Mason (8) and a bichon poodle mix named Rocky.

I was recruited into Commercial Banking because of my sales background, business development skills and financial skills.  In this career is where I met Sean, who is also a Commercial Banker.  Prior to banking, I was an outside sales rep for a payroll company, and I started my career as a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch.

I really love France and I try to go when I can.  I was there in 2018 for two weeks and 2016 for 10 days. Before my trip in 2016, it had been nine years since I had traveled to France.  My husband and I were married in 2007, went to France and Italy for our honeymoon, and then had kids.

 What was it like living in France for those few years? How has that impacted your life?

When I lived and traveled in France and around Europe, it really opened my eyes. The experiences I had were amazing.  I grew so much and learned about many different cultures. I think experiencing other cultures allows us to be more open-minded flexible.  I gained a lot of confidence from traveling and living in foreign countries and I want the same for my kids. My burning desire is to live in France with Sean and our boys for six months before they go to high school.

Something unique about Sean is that he lived in Okinawa, Japan for three years while in high school because his Dad was a judge in the Marine Corps. (They moved all the time while he was growing up.)  Because of his experiences, Sean has the same appreciation for travel and culture that I do.  Some places we’ve been to already on our own or with the kids are Mexico, Fiji, Kauai, British Virgin Islands, France, Italy, and Indonesia.

How did you manage a career in commercial banking, traveling and raising a family? What were the sacrifices? 

It was difficult having a demanding career in Commercial Banking a raising a family. I constantly felt stressed, overwhelmed and feeling like I was not doing anything great.  My career made it tough to travel, as well.  Even though I had 3-4 weeks of vacation, I just felt guilty taking more than a week at a time.

I made a lot of sacrifices by working a Corporate job.  You are always on someone else’s clock, 100 emails a day, meetings and sometimes not being able to make important events in your personal life.  This year, I was not able to go on a family trip to Mammoth with Sean and our boys because of work pressure.  I can’t even begin to explain how upsetting it was for the entire family that I couldn’t be there…

What is your life like now that you are working with Moms Making Six Figures? 

My life is so much less stressful.  My time truly belongs to me.  Not only do I have more time to focus on my family, but feel I have a real opportunity to help people with their physical and financial wellness.  As I mentioned, my goal is to travel more frequently with the kids and Sean. I love that I can work from anywhere with Moms Making Six Figures. With this career, I can work around my kid’s schedule and still have time to travel with them.

While my banking career had its benefits, working with Moms Making Six Figures is so much more rewarding. I am so happy to be a part of this great team and love that I can help others achieve their dreams while I continue to work on mine.

 

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Time management is key!

Meet Erin! When we say she is a busy mom, we mean it. (You will understand why after reading her story.) One thing is for sure, we left this interview feeling inspired by Erin’s amazing work ethic and advice. Read on to learn more about her! 

Can you give us a little of your personal background?

I’m the lucky momma of a busy, blended family. Between us, we have two boys (17 & 13) and two girls (8 & 7). I work 30 hours a week as a radiographer for an orthopedic surgeon group and put in 20 hours a week as a personal trainer; working for corporate health and managing my own client base. My partner, Eddie, and I also own a t-shirt printing company. 

After 17 years in healthcare, my goal is to replace that income by working with Moms Making Six Figures. I am ready to focus my attention on my family, current fitness clients and our t-shirt business.

How do you manage your time between working three jobs and running your Moms Making Six Figures business?

Time management is key! Working three jobs was manageable, as they are all things I enjoy. Working four? Without time management, it would be impossible. I bought myself a planner and I block out my time. Everything goes in my planner. I’ll give you a little glimpse of what that looks like…

Because my hours in corporate health and at the clinic are set, it goes in the book first. Next, any appointments or activities for the family. I schedule in my personal training clients and of course, I block off time for Moms Making Six Figures. Eddie and I work the t-shirt business around everything else. Basically, we live and die by the planner. It truly sets us up for success! 

What advice do you have for moms who are working multiple jobs alongside of their entrepreneurial dreams?

My top pieces of advice are:

  • Set aside blocks of time to devote to YOUR business. We go to work and put in 8-10-hour days for someone else’s dream, make your dream just as important.
  • Learn to multi-task. For example, when I’m driving, I’m listening to trainings or choreographing new routines.
  • Use the small windows of time! You can do big things in just five minutes. My first two months with Moms Making Six Figures were worked solely in 5-10-minute increments.
  • Use social media as a networking tool… no more wasted hours scrolling mindlessly.
  • Don’t be afraid to give up something now for the greater good of the future. If I really want to be successful, I may decide working on my business is more important than an hour of television. It’s not helping me grow or making me better in any way!
  • Finally, it’s okay to say no. It is so easy to feel “mom guilt” and overextend yourself. Save your sanity and set some boundaries.

What does “life on your own terms” mean to you?

Living life on my own terms means having freedom! First, the freedom from time constraints put in place by others. Being able to participate in field trips, sporting events, volunteering and travel without having to ask permission from a boss is living life on my own terms. Freedom from financial constraints, as well. Having the ability to gift our children experiences and education, being able to give back to our community in a big way, all without having to worry about it straining our personal finances… It all comes back to freedom.