Tag Archives: work

Finding Life Balance as a Mom

This week we present a guest blog writer, Jolynn Jaekel, who tells her story about becoming a mom, and her journey of balancing life and motherhood. Read her relatable and impressive story below!

Our mom was home with us while our dad went to work until I was in high school and even then, we had our grandmother to take care of us when mom went back to work. I grew up thinking that’s how it was done, but not certain that’s what I’d choose. Nothing about my path was traditional.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version… graduated college with a journalism degree; moved to Los Angeles and became an entertainment publicist; loathed LA; moved home to New Mexico; moved to New York City for a PR stint and confirmed I didn’t love PR but I did love New York; moved back to New Mexico to “figure it out;” rediscovered my love of acting; and then moved back to New York and became a professional sometimes working actor who taught fitness for survival. Whew!

So, when I finally got married and pregnant, I was hustling hard and knew no other way. BUT the second I looked into my daughter’s baby blues, everything changed. And it kept changing.

Before she arrived, I “knew” I’d be a better mommy if I was working out of the house. But then she came, and I realized I “knew” nothing. When I returned to work after my eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave, I couldn’t stand being away. I raced home as soon as I could, eliminating all non-parenting activities. It took both my husband and I plus two part time childcare providers to cover our crazy schedules with no family around for support. So, we moved to just outside of Washington, D.C., where one of my sisters lives.

We decided that initially, I would be home with our daughter. This was what I had been longing for, to be present for every single moment. At first, I reveled in the stay at home mom culture. We were busy with playdates, story time at the library, exploring every museum, farm, nature center and kids’ music performance, and finally making the crafts I’d pinned long ago. I got to be with my baby girl all the time. I was also alone with my baby girl a lot of the time. My husband’s hours had always been long, but now I was keenly aware of how long. My husband was receiving well deserved accolades at work but at home no one cheers you on for doing a great job cleaning a dirty diaper or gives you a promotion for keeping your child alive and well fed. It is the hardest job you’ll ever love. And I LOVED it, but I had no balance. I had cut myself off from everything I had known before motherhood and I began to notice.

I also began to realize it was time to go back to work because living on one salary in a city just as expensive as New York would not cut it, but where to begin and how to make it work? Fitness seemed like the most flexible place to start. I developed a mommy & me fitness program that let me teach a few classes with my daughter by my side. I eventually became a group fitness director at a local boutique gym which had on-site child care. It felt good to be back in the workforce without compromising my time with her. Then the gym eliminated child care. Time for Plan B.

We needed an additional income and I needed something of my own. I took a leap of faith with something I knew nothing about and previously had no interest in trying;  a home-based sales business. Turns out, what I had prejudged as totally wrong for me, was the perfect solution to my complicated equation. It gives me the flexibility to maintain our mommy & me adventures, while I get to flex my atrophied mental muscles AND bring in a salary. It’s given me something else I realized I desperately needed, a community of like-minded women who are courageous, smart, inspiring and supportive of my journey no matter how many twists and turns it takes.

Here’s what I know for sure. I AM happier when I have something to focus on that inspires me outside of the incredible gift of our daughter. I AM a better mommy when I have balance. I DO love my job as her mommy and am so grateful to not have to miss a moment, but I’m glad I’ve found a way to have some moments of my own too.

Jolynn Baca

Written by our guest blog partner, Jolynn Jaekel
Photo taken by Shauri Dewey

Ways Your Organization Can Help Support Working Parents

A great article, as originally published by Harvard Business Review, shares ways on how the workplace can support working parents and help offer what employees everywhere search for; a work-life balance. 

Below are a handful of approaches pulled from the full article that are said to be some of the most effective in getting results.

  1. Start with the facts: Before launching any support programs for working parents, gather the relevant data: Where do parents sit within the organization? What are their attrition patterns? What information can you gather from annual performance reviews or culture-survey data — or simply from informal conversations?
  2. Define the demographic: Most companies concentrate their efforts on “visible working parents” — e.g., new biological mothers — focusing all programming on lactation rooms and other relevant supports. While these are positive, laudable steps, they address the problem too narrowly. Working parenthood is an 18-year job, and it is done by both men and women, biological and adoptive, gay and straight, in all kinds of family structures. Aligning your organization’s programs to this reality better targets the issue.
  3. Acknowledge and foster peer-to-peer learning: Providing basic guidance, even simple talking points, to these internal “peer coaches” enables them to deliver the right messages when it matters.
  4. Become a market maker: Leverage your organization’s existing infrastructure to connect working parents and to make practical aspects of parenting easier. Goldman Sachs’s “Help at Home” intranet bulletin board allows any employee to trade tips and leads on child care.
  5. Focus the resources you do have on key transition points: Coming back from leave, welcoming a second or third child, or accepting a change in role or schedule are just a few of the transition points that can derail or strain the most competent working parent employee. That’s why concentrating benefits and programming on these critical points can yield significant return on investment.

 

Read up on the few additional ways your organization can help support working parents, by reading the full article here.

How Working Parents Can Feel Less Overwhelmed and More in Control

Revise budget numbers. Parent/teacher conference Wednesday. Edit the marketing overview document. Finish summer camp applications. Give candidate interview feedback to HR. Grocery run — we’re out of everything…

If you’re a working parent, chances are excellent that at any given time, your to-do list looks like the one above — and that it stretches on, and on, and on — an endless, and eternally growing, list of deliverables. Is it any wonder that research shows that most working parents feel stressed, tired, and rushed? Or that when you look ahead, you feel more than a little overwhelmed?

As a responsible person and a hard worker, you know how to dig in and get things done. And since becoming a parent, you’ve tried various strategies to keep the ever-more-intense pace: moving paper to-do lists onto your iPhone, reorganizing your Outlook “Tasks” section, spending more and more time logged into work each evening, cleaning up the endless queue of unread emails, sleeping progressively less each night.

Yet you’re still haunted by the nagging sense of not getting enough done, of falling down in some way, of giving things that really matter short shrift — and feeling as if the wheels may come off the bus very, very soon.

The problem isn’t in your organizational system or work ethic — it’s in how human brains are wired. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, with so much to do and so many demands on you.

But here’s the good news: There are simple and effective techniques for taming the overwhelmedness — things any working parent can do, starting today, to feel more competent, calm, and in control and to start shrinking that task list permanently. Here are four of the most powerful.

  1. Know your end game.
  2. Invest your time accordingly.
  3. Keep a “got it done” list.
  4. Schedule a regular power outage.

 

For details on the four above and the full article, click here.

Daisy Wademan

Article written by Daisy Wademan DowlingFounder and CEO of Workparent.

Five Key Findings in Recruiting and Retaining Nannies

If you haven’t read it somewhere else before, then read it here first; hiring a nanny through an agency is the route you should always take.

In a recent article posted by GTM Payroll Services, they go on to support the fact that when a person hires a nanny through an agency, rather than an online job site, they’re going to get a better quality nanny. One they’ll keep for longer, and spend less time finding the right match.

Here are five key findings from the article:

1. Families and Nannies Both Want a Good Fit
Employers cited “demonstrated responsibility and trustworthiness” as the top quality they look for when hiring a nanny. Employers were asked to rank 14 qualities on a scale from one to 10 with one being not important and 10 being very important. Responsibility and trustworthiness scored ahead of personality fit, passion for childcare, references, and experience.

2. Good Communication Practices Will Help Retention
Forty-three percent of families hired more than one nanny in the past five years. That means retention can be an issue for families who like and want to keep their nanny. Some of the top reasons reported for why nannies leave the jobs are 1) the family no longer needs the nanny, 2) schedule/number of hours, and 3) bad pay.

3. Hiring through an Agency Can Shorten Hiring Process
Seventy-four percent of employers who hired through an agency cited “time savings/hassle-free process” and “quality of candidates” as the top reasons they chose to work with an agency. Fifty-nine percent of agency users spent less than 20 hours on the hiring process, compared to only 24% of online job site users.

4. Benefits Can Help Attract, Retain Top Candidates
Most nannies receive paid holidays (88%), paid vacations (89%), and paid sick days (76%). This is the starting point for families when offering household employee benefits to a potential hire. To separate themselves from other employers, families may want to consider offering annual bonuses and flexible hours. Only 47% of nannies have schedule flexibility and just 44% get a bonus. Of the nannies that receive an annual bonus, 55% receive at least $750.

5. Paying Legally Expands Number of Candidates
By not legally paying an employee, a family cuts in half the number of available candidates for their position. Forty-six percent of nannies say it’s not likely they would take a job that paid “off the books.”

Read more details about the survey findings from GTM Payroll here.

WWW – Returning to Work After Baby

New Parent? Thinking about returning to work?

The decision to return to your career part or full-time is one that can be beneficial to both you and your family.  Many women struggle to “have it all” and balance work and family life simultaneously.  While many are aware of the sacrifices working mothers and their families must make, there are a lot of benefits too.  After reading Lynn Berger’s book “How to Land, Create, or Negotiate the Part-Time Job of Your Dreams” I’ve outlined some important points she made below:

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

The Benefits of Returning to Work:

  • -It will keep your skill level/resume current
  • -It will be much easier to switch to full-time later if you have already been working
  • -Extra income for your family
  • -Social interaction and validation outside of your home
  • -Studies have shown a positive association between the number of roles a woman occupies and her psychological well-being- if one role is overwhelming, you may feel successful in another area of your life
  • -Feelings of self-worth and accomplishment- may help improve spousal relationships
  • -Positive role model for your children- they see their parent as successful/hardworking

How to Make it Work for Your Family:

  • -Consult your spouse and work out a family budget- outline what your salary will be, how much time you will allot for childcare, etc.
  • -Make sure your career options match your current priorities- you want to be at a job you feel benefits you, and is worth giving up family time
  • -Be diligent in searching for the right job with the right benefits for you and your family
  • -Communicate with your partner about any concerns they may have in your returning to the workforce
  • -Prepare for a shift in responsibilities in your home- you may need to divide home/childcare differently
  • -Take quality time-even if you are not spending as much time with your children, make sure when you are with them you are focused on them
  • -Lower your expectations- understand that your family will have to make adjustments with a busier schedule.  You may not be able to go to everything

Find the Right Nanny

Ms. Berger does a great job of presenting options and offering support to parents making the leap. BFC is here to also support you and your family in this transition. There is no need to feel guilt about returning to work when you know your child(ren) are left with a quality caregiver that can provide for all of your family’s needs.  Our nannies are available part and full-time and in addition to childcare can provide light housekeeping, cooking and laundry.

-Lindsey Garibaldi is our in-house operations intern and full time student at Fordham University majoring in communications. In her free time she loves spending time with family, friends & children.