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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.

problem-solving Teamwork Work

Putting the “We” in Team: The Value of Teamwork

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.” – Phil Jackson

You’ve heard it before, no (wo)man is an island. From the workplace to life in general, the truth is that if you have an “only I can fix it” attitude, you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to solving life’s problems, we as moms may sometimes (ok, most of the time) feel like we can solve everything, but we can solve our problems more quickly and with less stress when we accept others’ help. As hard as it may be to give up total control, you and everyone else around you will be better off if you work as a team.

So, if you have a partner (in business or in life), then you have someone on your team. While building a team may be easy, maintaining it is a whole other story. Here are some skills that are key to putting the “we” in team.

The 3 Cs: Skills for Successful Teamwork

1. Communication

Since you’ll be working together—at work, in business, or in your household—effective communication is the most important skill to master for successful teamwork. Listening to each other helps show support and lets everyone know what page you’re on (hopefully the same one!).

For example, if your husband has an important meeting the following morning, pay attention to his request for help and come up with a solution together. You may have to drop the kids off in the morning, but perhaps your partner can pick them up in the afternoon. If one team member doesn’t listen to the other, there will likely be serious miscommunication, which can lead to unintended mistakes (like leaving the kids stranded at school!).

How you communicate matters just as much. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, how we communicate is the most important factor in determining team success. So, be aware not just of the words you’re using, but also of your body language and the tone of your speech when you’re communicating.

2. Compromise

As long as more than one person is involved in problem-solving, there are bound to be a few conflicts along the way. Compromise in most situations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a necessity—it demonstrates that you’re putting the good of the team ahead of your own wants. So, how do you compromise?

Start by understanding what the other person is trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to understand their point of view. Oftentimes we are simply listening to answer—impatient to get our point across—rather than listening to understand.

For example, when hunting for a new office location, your business partner may want to stay closer to the highway because it’s more convenient for her drive from home; in contrast, you may want your office to be located in the heart of downtown because it’s closer to the business district and better for client meetings. Although there are obvious benefits to both locations, the compromise here could be to choose an office location somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from each of your homes but remains convenient for most of your clients.

3. Cooperation

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a team at work and there’s that one person who doesn’t pull their weight? Don’t be that person—even with your spouse at home! Actively participate in decision-making and performing tasks, even if it’s just deciding who will take out the trash or run to pick-up the pizza for dinner (yes, we all occasionally revert to pizza night when life is hectic!). This makes you a more valuable team member and earns your partner’s respect.

Even when you’re super busy with work, don’t use it as an excuse to completely tune out at home. Letting your spouse do all the “heavy lifting” at home will only result in resentment, and we all know it’s pretty much downhill from there!

Cooperation may also mean taking turns. For example, you may decide to work full-time while your significant other pursues their education, and then switch when it’s your turn. This way, everyone feels respected.

The Value of Teamwork: Succeed Together

Teamwork is about problem-solving together for the benefit of the team. No one has to lose in order for each individual to win. So, rather than shutting out or excluding other people’s ideas or opinions, be open to other ways of doing things. Try to think positive: Being part of a team means more great ideas, which equal more solutions!

With these 3 skills, you and your team will be well on your way to success together—whatever that looks like for you.

Fitness & Health Work Work-Life Balance

When Work Compromises Health: How to Draw the Line

It’s time we all admitted it: whether we like it or not, work is a major part of our lives. And more often than not, it finds its way into our personal lives—usually uninvited.

In today’s world, competition is on a global scale, and multi-tasking is the order of the day. With advancements in technology, everything is “now now now” and “go go go.” While you might brush off your work-centric lifestyle as simply being hardworking, this leakage of work into the rest of your life isn’t always a good thing.

These pressures in the workplace can overwhelm even the toughest among us and have a detrimental effect on our health and personal life. Balancing work and home life is a challenge for many, but add the title of mom to the equation and it’s a whole different ball game. Although us moms are the queens of multi-tasking and getting things done, stretching oneself too thin often comes at a cost—to our health.

If you find yourself having to constantly sacrifice your health, your family, and yourself for your career, something isn’t right. We all have different tolerance levels, but if you’re in an unhealthy work situation, you likely already know deep down (especially with that great mom instinct!) that lines need to be drawn and changes made regarding work.

The question many of us face is: What do you do when your job is literally draining the life out of you? How do you draw the line when your career leaves you no time for self-care (or anything else really) and is directly affecting your health and well-being? I’ve pulled together a few techniques to help you start putting yourself first.

Break Up Your Work

As super responsible moms and employees, we try to do it all with the limited amount of time allotted to us each day. As I mentioned in my post on self-care a couple weeks ago, it’s so easy to lose sight of yourself and your own needs as a working mom. Whether it’s at home or in the workplace, we’re constantly sacrificing our own well-being to meet the needs and demands of others.

That needs to stop, now! Make a conscious effort to break up your work day in healthy, productive ways that will make you feel better and give you more motivation overall. Try the following to prioritize your health at work:

Take that lunch break. Stop squeezing in your lunch between meetings or on your way to pick up the kids. Start by taking some time to sit down and enjoy a healthy meal, and let that be the only thing you do during this time. Don’t eat lunch and check emails. By taking some time out to nourish yourself without distractions, you’ll find you have more energy to finish your work and do something fun later.
Don’t overcommit. Prioritize your work for the day with two or three main items that you know you can reasonably complete during work hours. Before accepting responsibility for a new project, consider whether it means you’ll have to overextend yourself. Remember, stretching yourself too thin easily compromises your self-care.
Take a day off. Regularly. You have vacation days for a reason, right?! Your boss can survive without you, no matter what he or she may say.

Consider Alternatives to the Corporate Lifestyle

Being a working mom is no easy task. And we all know that being financially stable is an important part of our lives, especially when we have kids to provide for. But there is more than one way to achieve this, especially when your job comes between you and your health. Without your health, you aren’t much help to your company, your family, or yourself. Perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative?

Working from home, when done right, can be a great solution to achieving your financial goals and taking care of yourself and your family. Having the freedom to work on your own time—a time that works for your health and lifestyle—with no limits to your earning potential will give you peace of mind rather than added stress. And let’s be honest, stress and the corporate world often go hand in hand. Take the time to look into work-at-home options that will fit your needs.

It’s All About Setting Boundaries

“‘No’ is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott

How nice it would be to simply tell your boss “no” and leave it at that. But the point here is to set boundaries, both with others and with yourself. There’s a difference between compromise and sacrifice, so it’s important to identify what your boundaries or limits are, and communicate them clearly to your boss or coworkers from the beginning.

What makes you feel uncomfortable? When a colleague calls you with a work issue at 11pm and wakes you up from some hard-earned shut-eye? In this case, communicate to your team which hours you’re available for work-related calls (say 8am to 8pm at the latest!), instead of accepting calls at all hours. Continuing to give in to corporate demands and inadvertently be taken advantage of due to a lack of set boundaries only creates a domino effect in your life, negatively impacting your health and your personal life (or lack thereof!).

Get Back to Prioritizing You!

Work-life balance isn’t an unobtainable thing. It is very much a real possibility—and it’s important to achieve for your own sanity and health. By setting boundaries, breaking up your work, and even considering alternative career options, you’ll soon be placing your own health—and that of your family—first rather than always coming in last.

“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.” – Shannon L Alder

Here at Moms Making Six Figures, we want to help you achieve that elusive work-life balance and start putting your health first. Contact us at (858) 837-1505 or www.momsmakingsixfigures.com to learn how you can work from home on your own terms.

Family Finance Work

Self-Limiting Beliefs

When I decided to walk away from my corporate job 2 years ago, I honestly thought the hardest part would be finding clients. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but after 15 years in the corporate environment working at both big and small companies, I thought I was well prepared to take on a new challenge and start my next chapter as a business owner.
Throughout my corporate career I found myself attracted to those who had worked for well-known corporations with notable educational backgrounds. I felt many of those high-level managers had a real “it” factor, and I aspired to be like them.
The biggest obstacle of being out on my own was simply changing my mind set. I had to let go of the corporate insecurities to be able to build my brand. I had picked up some deep-rooted beliefs from the corporate world.
Credibility
I felt a lot less important without the business card of a well-known company and big job title on it. I went from being wined and dined, continually sought after for business, to…well, I was now the one attending networking events looking for prospective new clients. My how quickly the tables had turned! Though I began to question my professional self-worth, I decided there was no other option than to honor myself and my personal brand. I reminded myself daily – “I am knowledgeable, creditable, and can add value to the lives of my clients.” I began reading books, listening to all the personal development/motivational greats like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman to help shift my mindset.
What is My Worth
Working inside the walls of a major corporation afforded me many luxuries – healthy salary, benefits, expense accounts, airfare mileage, hotel points, complimentary upgrades, etc. I hadn’t paid for a vacation in years due to the countless perks I had at my disposal to cash in on. I was always aware of my market value, as it wasn’t uncommon for a recruiter to reach out to me a couple of times per year pitching me on a new opportunity. 
I knew I would be walking away from these added luxuries, but didn’t realize how envious I would be the first time I walked through first class and thought, “that used to be me,” as I headed to my seat in coach. I had to stop using the monetary metrics I had picked up from corporate America. This was definitely more challenging to overcome than I had expected, but for once I was truly happy; my decision to work for myself provided me the opportunity to finally be the mother and wife I had always envisioned myself being. I was now in control; I actually owned my time. I could head to Costco at 10:00 am on a Wednesday and avoid all the crazy lines. I could go on a field trip with my daughter without having to use a trumped up story with my boss. I could attend a fitness class in the middle of the day and come home and use my own shower rather than the bacteria breeding grounds…err, I mean, the gym showers. I could make business decisions without going through several managerial layers for approval. Even with the new-found advantage, it is still often challenging to maintain my mind-set (i.e. that the “lifestyle wealth” outweighs the material wealth. I am in best shape of my life, I am present for those I love, the work I am doing is meaningful and I am truly helping others find their greatness. In addition, I know that I am making significant progress daily toward equaling the material wealth I had before I left oppressive corporate life.
Measured by My Title
My title drove where I sat on the corporate ladder and from a young age, I worked hard to be close to the top (versus standing at the bottom staring up). I felt my job title was a direct reflection of my success. Shortly after I had left the corporate environment, I celebrated with a friend who was promoted to Vice President of a large corporation and, as she was telling me about all of the luxuries the new title came with, I remember driving home that night feeling slight disappointment that I was no longer on the management fast-track. In that moment though, I realized just how much I had allowed my position on the corporate ladder to become the measure of my success. I knew I couldn’t let this false measuring stick hold me back any more and that it was no longer valid (if it ever had been). I had to find new, more meaningful methods to measure my success, like: 
- Do I have quality time with those I love?
- Do I feel good about the person I have become?
- Do I have the ability to accomplish my goals and live my mission? 

I encourage you to learn from my struggle and skip to the fun part of developing your own questions to measure your success. We may not have the fancy corner office or the big title any more, but it doesn’t matter because those anchors of the corporate world no longer drag me down or have any bearing on my perceived success. I still work hard, sure, but I do so on my terms. I make good money, and it’s getting closer to great money every day. But most importantly, I am an available mom to my two young daughters and a loving wife to my husband—and that is priceless.
If you are contemplating stepping out on your own, contact one of our mentors at Mom’s Making Six Figures so we can share our experiences and help you begin your journey toward true success.

Work

For Working Moms, The Key to Fulfillment and Success is Setting Priorities

Working moms have a Herculean task of managing their time, raising a family, generating income, seeking professional fulfillment, and also trying to maintain their identity.

It’s easy to be caught up in hassles throughout the day. Kids are increasingly busy, and more pressures are added to them in school to prepare for college. A spouse or partner may stay at home, but stay-at-home-parents often work from home. All this work and energy is meaningless if you work to provide a fulfilling life for you and your family, but the time you actually spend together is minimal or filled with stress and chaos.

There may also come a time when you realize that not everything you want to do is getting done, and you’re nowhere near achieving your goals, professional and personal. In comes prioritizing. Working moms have to determine the essential elements to achieve those goals and bring personal fulfillment.

Analyze your list of responsibilities, organize them by how much you value them, being honest about what can be deprioritized, and then implement a strict structure to follow so you don’t slip into bad habits—or lose track of those priorities.

What to do if your home is your office. For the work-at-home parent, it’s difficult to separate out work life from home life. Maybe you have a hard time settling down to work when you have a pile of laundry next to the computer, or dishes piling up on the countertop. Maybe you have a hard time stepping away from work, feeling obligated to be available to your clients or employer. How, then, do you establish set hours?

If you can, carve out a dedicated work space. If there is room for a home office, that is your office. Once you’re in there, you’re at work. If you worked at an office outside the home, you wouldn’t be tempted to vacuum when it’s time to write up that invoice or set up that spreadsheet.

Carve out dedicated working hours. If you were at a different location and not your home office, determine what your working hours would be and stick to those.

If you can’t have set working hours because of the nature of your work, keep track of your hours. Do you get paid by the project? If so, how much time do you spend on that project? You may be excited about a project that will yield $200 at the end of the week. But if you find yourself spending more than 30 hours working on this project, and prorate that, you just worked for around $6 an hour, which is below the federal minimum wage. Is that money worth the time you spent on it, when you could have been doing something else? If the time you spend forwards your goals, then it’s an investment. You’ve given a value to that time beyond its monetary worth, and therefore, it isn’t time ill spent. However, if that $200 isn’t what you needed to keep the lights on or gas in your car, then ask yourself if that’s the most effective or fulfilling way to spend your time.

Be a rigorous organizer. Many people are under the assumption that chaos breeds creativity. Chaos almost always breeds more chaos, which in turn breeds stress. If you’re stressed out all the time, you are not making the best connections with your family.

  • Get ready the night before. If you have multiple kids to get ready for school before you go to work, have lunch sorted and bagged, set out clothes, and have easy-serve breakfasts.
  • Have a set place for things such as keys, purses, backpacks (and homework), shoes, and rigidly keep to the orderliness of those places. Nothing can derail your morning like searching for something as you head out the door.
  • Always budget time to be early. Not just 5 minutes early, but 20 minutes to a half hour early. Lateness breeds stress, which affects your mood, diminishing quality of time with your family.

Don’t be a servant to your family. Every meal does not have to be your kids’ favorite. It doesn’t mean you can’t treat them when it suits your schedule, but you’re not their short order cook. Casseroles and crockpot meals are easy to reheat the next day will save you a lot of precious time.

Have your kids help you cook dinner. It’s important to look for creative—but also functional—ways to be together when free time is limited.

Delegate housework. Kids can make their beds and picking up their rooms even when they’re kindergarteners. Setting up these habits early will teach them to value organization.

Don’t stress perfection. If you don’t have time to make things perfect, you can live without perfection. Is it really your priority to have your kids’ rooms spotless if you don’t have the time to fit in your other tasks? Rigid perfectionism takes a lot of time and mental energy.

Don’t lose yourself. Make sure you’re able to prioritize things that make you fulfilled, that remind you that you are a person with wants and relationships, and not just an outlet for generating income.

Make time for romance with your partner. Reconnect on a meaningful and personal level, and remember that you are partners in this.

Remember love. If you have a family, you want to be making the memories with them and cherishing each moment, all the different phases, the small details. It’s the love that best melts away the stress and helps you stay grounded. And it should be a priority. If you start to lose connection with loved ones, you lose a valuable support network, the people who can boost you up and remind you that life is about living between the mile markers.

At Moms Making Six Figures, we prioritize helping working moms to fulfill their goals while supporting their families, and we work together to build a community of empowered women. If you’re ready to join the community or would like more information, give us a call at (858) 837-1505, or visit our website at momsmakingsixfigures.com.