Like any mom, I’m frazzled, tired, cranky without my coffee and totally in love with my kids. I want to be there for all their ups and downs and be 150 percent tuned in when my 4-year-old tells me about the amazing stick she found last week.
Like most moms, I can only afford to be 30 percent tuned in because of all the other demands on this busy life. I’m not the PTA mom, the baking mom, the yogi-fit mom or the craft mom. I’m the #GirlBoss mom who also tries to put on all the other shoes in my free time.
However, I think I’ve finally found some answers – not for work-life balance, but for a work-life blend.
During my recent maternity leave I had a mom-life crisis and wondered how I’d gotten so disorganized with my home and life goals. Now that I had two kids, how was I going to keep the pace at work I once had?
I wasn’t alone in my feelings. In fact, 38 percent of mothers who worked full time, along with 25 percent who worked part time, said it was “very difficult” to balance work and family. (Despite this truth, employers often find that mothers returning to work after leave are beasts at productivity and time management because their time sans-kids is so limited.)
It was in the midst of a “me time” session (a.k.a. pretending to use the bathroom while I gobbled up social media) that I discovered a book written by Lisen Stromberg, COO of The 3% Movement, titled Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood without Killing Your Career. It answered the nagging question: How can I be present for my family AND maintain trajectory of the career I worked so hard to take off?
The book sheds light on the limited support parents find in the workplace and presents several ideas, like taking a “Power Pause” by stepping away from a career for a few years, cutting back on hours, or being more flexible with their schedules. For most people, though, Stromberg notes it comes down to the flexibility of their managers, and rarely from the business.
That’s when I was reminded of the “work-life blend” philosophy that rbb CEO Christine Barney coined. It’s crazy to think more business owners don’t adopt a work-life blend when the benefits are so great. Companies who have a family-first policy with their employees have higher morale, loyalty and productivity.
Being productive means having your head in the game, and companies should provide the best environment so their employees feel supported. Happy employees mean happy clients.
Here are a few solutions forward-thinking companies offer.
1. Allow flexible work hours and remote work
Kids don’t care if mom or dad have work to do; they just want your full attention and be present.
Allowing employees to decide when and where to work means giving them the ability to focus on your business when they are at their best and not stress about what is happening at home without them.
2. Child care shows your employees you care
Employee absenteeism is high when child care support breaks down, and this can cost businesses up to $3 billion annually.
Stromberg cites companies like Viacom, who offered high-quality backup child care for their employees, thereby saving 528 days of unscheduled absences.
3. Want a healthy, vibrant company? Support women in the workplace
It’s no secret women hold the purse when it comes to consumer purchasing decisions, so it makes sense to hire those who understand the female consumer. But in most cases hiring a woman means hiring a caregiver.
Parenthood is a business reality. So help get women to work, and then help women to stay at work by supporting their need for flexibility.
During a fast and furious project a co-worker had to step out for a family emergency. The account VP said, “This is why we are here at rbb. We work hard so we can have the flexibility to step away when our family needs us.”
It dawned on me, in my sleep-deprived state, that I had the ability to make MY Pause at one of the Best Places to Work and the only one pressuring me to keep my old pace was myself. It was time to rethink my schedule and how I balanced my career and family.
It’s 11 a.m. on a weekday and I’m sitting at my dining table, tapping away at the keyboard, shuffling work assignments to my team, organizing files for production, brainstorming design concepts, and nursing my 6-month-old on a Boppy pillow. I’m still figuring out what schedule works best for me and my family, but thanking my lucky stars I have an employer who values the work-life blend and family first.