Event recap: Designing The Work-Life That Works For Your Life
Last week we were joined by over 40 amazing and hard-working moms, no matter the type of work, you know they all work hard!
This night was our opportunity to talk about how we as moms can design a work-life that works for our lives. That can mean everything from strategies to find family friendly companies to work for, tips and tricks to outsource and delegate things at home, work on mom-guilt, and if you want, how to go out on your own. Our awesome panelists weighed in why traditional work doesn't always work, delegation strategies, and making a work-life change. Our panelist's included (pictured below) Lara Hourquebie, Senior Manager, Talent Success at The Mom Project and mom of one; Rashida McKenzie, Founder of Queen Bee Concierge and mom of one; Elizabeth Alexander, Managing Director at FTI Consulting and mom of two; Kelsey Lents, Founder of Two Birds and mom of one and one on the way; Carly Schacknies, Founder of Bonspark Consulting and mom of two; Rochelle Behrens, Founder of The Shirt and mom of two.
Why traditional work doesn’t always work
So why don’t many traditional work opportunities work for moms? According to the research produced by FTI consulting, Elizabeth Alexander explained that it’s not simply because they’ve had a child; it’s because of the demands of the workplace to be on-call 24/7, not feeling valued at work, and that salaries are not aligned with peers. Additionally, men who frequently hold the positions of power at work, are less enthusiastic about work-life balance and other family friendly policies so women are stuck advocating and pushing for change, when they don’t always have a seat at the table.
Thoughts from the panelists on the ‘butts-in-seats’ policy:
“If you’re asking for a day or more of work from home and your employer isn’t excited by the idea, explain to your employer that you do a second shift, working from home in the evenings or mornings is work they often don’t know you do.” - Carly
“Companies need to realize that if ‘butts in seats’ is their policy, they might not have any more butts in those seats. The work-life balance demands from everyone - not just moms, has really increased.” - Elizabeth
“When you have the opportunity, plant seeds for the women who will come after you, even if it means advocating for a policy that will never impact you.” - Carly
Doing it all
Whether you’re staying at a full-time (9-5, 8-6 or 24/7 job), freelancing, or starting a company, there’s still so much to be done at home. In fact, today’s mothers are spending more time at work, but also more time on child care. To deal with this, next month we’re going to talk about how to set yourself up for success for a more equitable division of labor at home. But it was inevitable that in talking about work, we’d need to talk about how to get all the other work done too.
Here’s what our panelists had to say about outsourcing and delegating:
“When you’re running your own business and working from home, it’s pretty impossible to get your work done if you’re also parenting. So now, everything gets outsourced! I used to be embarrassed by it but now I embrace it.” - Rochelle
“You have to do ‘complete-delegation’. When you delegate something [to your spouse, parent, assistant, or others] assign it and then don’t check in, don’t follow-up, just see it when it’s done.” - Rashida
“My husband travels for work Monday-Friday, so we have a deal that on the weekends, he is on kid-duty until I’m ready to get out of bed. I used to feel guilty about it, but now I’m embrace it and it feels essential to my wellbeing.” - Kelsey
Making a change and designing what works for
It’s 2019, we no longer need to make just 1 choice. Working mom or stay at home mom. More than 8 million American's work from home, by 2020 it’s projected that contractors and freelancers will account for 43% of the workforce, and women owned businesses have grown by 58%.
But with so many choices, how do you decide what works for you and how do you find opportunities that fit what you’re looking for.
What our panelists had to say about making a choice that works for you
“Whether you’ve stepped out of the workforce and want to lean back in, or your current work-life isn’t working, sign up for The Mom Project. We work with companies to design contract, freelance, or remote positions that work for moms, sign up and be matched with opportunities right away.” - Lara
“Finding a community where parenting and work is more closely integrated, like here at Two Birds, can chip away at what work-life balance can look like for parents” - Kelsey
“Working for myself means I can prioritize working out every day, it is my therapy. It also means I have the flexibility to volunteer at field day and plan my son’s birthday during the day, but also deliver for my clients in the hours that work for me.” - Carly
“When you’re making these choices, set an intention of what you want and not what your mom wants or what the books say, and then go do it” - Rashida
“I’m aware that the most important project I’m cultivating in my home is my kids. Does owning my own company mean I have balance? No! But I am able to do both.” - Rochelle
Our events are intended to give women in attendance access to new resources, opportunities to meet new women and network with one another, discuss openly about the challenges of motherhood, and realize that in the end we are not alone in our experience. However, if you’re looking for a personalized session to help you design a work life that works for your life, I’m happy to help!
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The event was co-sponsored by The Mom Project, an online source to find full-time, contingent, freelance, or remote opportunities at companies who’ve created these opportunities specifically for moms; and Two Birds DC, a fully licensed childcare facility with co-working for the parents. Food was donated by Flower Child and Rasa DC.