It’s been a while since I posted. Of course, I could say that life has been busy and use that as my excuse, but honestly, who doesn’t feel that way? I have so many thoughts but keeping up a regular blog began to feel like a member of my longer than life to-do list so I just stopped. I want what I write to just flow and today I was inspired by something that happened at work to write for you. Let’s catch up a little.
The White House for Working Families
In April, I had an amazing opportunity to go to the White House for The White House Council on Women and Girls and Champions of Change Program to honor 12 people who have made a difference for Working Families.
I was part of a small group of about 30 people who were invited for the occasion to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium. The night before I received an email that President Obama would be giving a 20-minute speech and afterward I was 1 of 5 people invited to meet with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President in the West Wing!
President Obama spoke to us about changes that need to be made for paid sick leave, equal pay, affordable daycare options and pregnancy accommodations—all of these topics aligned with the accomplishments of the Champions of Change we were honoring. Afterwards, I was escorted to the West Wing to sit down with Valerie Jarrett to give personal feedback on my own experiences as a working mom.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have someone that high up in our government listen to an ordinary working mom tell her story about how the lack of family-friendly policies in this country impacts all of us—I particularly focused on no national paid maternity leave, the high cost of daycare and the amount of time so few of us are actually protected under FMLA to be away from work for our families.
It was an unbelievably cool experience that I feel so fortunate to have had.
Lydia is almost 3! I started this blog exactly 2 years ago when I was desperately looking for someone to tell me the magic formula for being a working mom. I was stressed, exhausted and feeling like I was failing in every area: wife, mother, worker, homemaker, etc…
Fast forward to today and I am doing much better. I’m not saying this working mom gig isn’t hard and sometimes just downright sad, but I’ve learned to prioritize better and figure out what really matters. My “thing” is seeing Lydia every night. When I have to travel for work I will leave on 6 a.m. flights before flying out a night earlier so that I have one less night away from her. Most people I work with think I am crazy for this… truthfully, it is a lot more stress on me but it also keeps my mom guilt in check. I’m also a big fan of taking days off of work just to spend doing fun things with her (either with or without my husband). If I have to take a long work trip, then I always make sure to take a day off of work right after to have some much-needed quality time with her.
It’s not perfect, but it’s been working!
Today I received a blow to my work/life balance. When Lydia was around 6 months, I negotiated working from home 2 days a week. There are so many benefits in my particular circumstance to this. The biggest benefit is travel time. We spend a ridiculous amount of time in the car commuting. Working from home “bought” me time back with Lydia. There are a host of other reasons such as: exercise on lunch, two less days to pack lunches for, two less days to get dressed up for and saving prep time in the morning.
A year ago I switched departments and found a path in my career that I sincerely love, but today I was told they are cracking down on remote days. I now only get 1 day a week and four weeks out of the year are not eligible at all.
On one hand, I feel like a brat for complaining at all since I know how lucky I am to have any flexibility. On the other hand, I’ve put 10 years into my career and worked my butt off to get here, this is what made it work for me as a mom.
I’m not mad or angry, I’m just sad. I’m trying very hard to look on the bright side and hope I will adjust and it won’t be a huge issue. I am a good employee and I truly feel like they are taking something away from me that might not matter that much to some but really matters to me. This just proves to me that women (and men) need to continue to lobby for family-friendly workplace policies.
This announcement has made me want to get back into my blogging groove about working mom issues. Hopefully I will have many more updates to come in the near future!