Tag Archives: working parent

Marissa Mayer and the Yahoo! Culture Change

27 Feb

I can’t stand Marissa Mayer’s smug little face, which fueled my immediate outrage at her unexpected kibosh on working remotely at Yahoo! (read more about my disdain for her in my earlier post about her squandered opportunity to set a good example for maternity leave policies for working women)

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After a few hours of, you know, working and minding my own business, my disgust at this news somewhat subsided.  I learned that there was a bit more to the situation than the earliest reactionary headlines suggested.  In particular, Yahoo!’s policy change is designed to target employees who have been working solely from home, as opposed to working most of the time in an office environment, but with the flexibility to work from home when needed for family or personal reasons.

As much as I love to hate on Marissa, I can get behind spending the bulk of work time in an office environment when your job duties involve creativity and collaboration.  So it appears that the policy change is not so much about eliminating flexibility options for working families, as to change the work culture of the company.  I only hope that Yahoo! doesn’t eliminate the potential for occasional telecommuting when the need arises.  Because that would be a true jerk move.

Andlthough I haven’t seen nearly as much confirmation on this, I did hear whispers that she has also eliminated flex schedules.  That, my friends, I see as an unnecessary thumb-of-the-nose to working parents.  If true, elimination of flex time is inexcusable.  That deserves true scorn.

Working parents and their supporters so frequently demand, and praise, “flexibility” in the workplace.  But “flexibility” is so ill defined as to practically be meaningless. Similarly with “support” for working families.  We want the work environment to change to “support” working families, but what does that mean?

To me, a “supportive” work environment for working families means:

-The flexibility to work remotely when the need arises.

-Paid parental leave for a reasonable duration at the birth/adoption of a child.

-A workplace culture that trusts you to be a professional and accomplish your work (whether it’s at 3pm or 2am), without hovering over you and tying you to outdated notions of face time.

-Most importantly, a culture of flexibility. That means coworkers and superiors accepting that maybe you’ll be out for an afternoon here or there or sometimes you have to unexpectedly deal with illness or whatever, but not penalizing you for that.

-In an ideal world, employers would offer stopgap “Get Well” childcare.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be paid for by the employer. I’d be happy to pay for it out of pocket. Just if the employer could have a service in place to provide emergency childcare when your kid’s got the flu but you’ve got a deposition that took four reschedulings to find a date where eight attorneys could all show up.

-A change in perspective that these flexible measures are not just for parents/kids.  Everyone can benefit from this kind of supportive work environment.  Everyone needs a little flexibility, whether it’s to care for a child, a parent, your beloved Fido, or a mental health break for yourself.  Flexibility is not a women’s issue, it’s an everybody issue, and it can benefit everybody.

What do workplace “flexibility” and “support” mean for you?

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Some Sunday Sunshine

24 Feb

The gray gray sky, every single day. It’s too much. I need some sunshine. I’ve been turning my desk lamp on at work and that has helped a little, but I think I need to just go for it and buy one of those full-spectrum SAD lights that I’ve had my eye on for the last few years, but have never had the heart to plunk the cash down for.

The tipping point for me joining Weight Watchers and steeling my resolve to get to the darn gym was because a few months back, I hit an all time low with energy. It was like I was riding from coffee to coffee, just to keep myself functional.  I was getting enough sleep at night, but I wasn’t feeling rested in the day.  I knew that it would not get any better until I changed my habits.  I’ve still been fatigued, the short days and lack of sunlight do not help.  Yesterday, finally, I had a breakthrough!  I had energy! I was excited to get to the gym, and once there, I hopped on the treadmill and ran a whole 30 minutes!  The last time I ran was probably in October, and even then the longest stretch was about 12 minutes.  But yesterday, a whole 30 minutes! Victory!

I had a successful week at Weight Watchers, and I’m getting excited to hit my 10% goal in a few weeks and go SHOPPING!  I don’t have any specific ideas yet, but how cute are these:

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Mr. Beez says that no way no how do I need any more shoes, but how fun would it be to have some sunny kicks to up my energy at the gym?

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I’ve been grateful that work has been at the manageable end of the crazy-spectrum lately which has given me the flexibility and opportunity to focus on my health and well being.  I realized yesterday that March is going to be full-speed-ahead.  I’ve got an article, a significant brief,  a trial and a conference presentation all on my plate.  Feast or famine, folks. But I think that I am finally feeling refreshed from this somewhat quieter time, and I’m excited and ready to take on all these tasks.

A Mixed Bag Monday

18 Feb
  • Baby Beez’ daycare is closed so I am working from home today and looking forward to a dinner out at the HBH with the fam tonight. Hello carbs! Good thing I’ve got a personal training appointment today.
  • We are in the process of doing all the things we need to do to get Baby Beez her passport for our vacation this summer.  Do you KNOW what a pain it is to get a passport for a minor? Getting a passport-appropriate photo of Baby Beez is also on my list for today. I have no idea how that’s going to go. It will likely end in tears.  (You try to get a toddler to stand still in front of a white screen and make a neutral face.)
  • I really want to go on vacation and have sunshine and no-snow. Now. Vacation however is many months away.  What do you do to get through the long winter?

bio_photo-There is no such thing as networking with the “right” people. Everyone is the right person to get to know. Don’t try to network “upwards,” move up, down, left, right, all around.

-It’s all about the follow up!  You’ve wasted your efforts meeting people if you don’t continue beyond the event.

-Send handwritten notes!  They are memorable and effective.  They are the best 46 cent investment!

How to Have a Perfect Marriage

14 Feb

I have no idea.

And I’m skeptical of anyone who offers advice in the superlative, anyway.

Mr. Beez and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a pretty darn good one.  We love each other, but we are good pals too, and I think that helps a lot.  I’m incredibly lucky that Mr. Beez is always up for an adventure, even if it’s an adventure that is not really up his alley (I’m looking at you, Death Cab for Cutie concert).

Mr. Beez sent me beautify flowers to celebrate the day.  We went out on a Valentine’s date last Saturday, but tonight ended up being excellent as well. I made a simple dinner, Mr. Beez’ mom stopped over to play with the little one for a bit.  I baked some tasty cookies and we watched some Modern Family DVDs.  For once, we weren’t running around like crazy people, scarfing down granola bars for dinner, and racing to get this that and the other thing done.  We spent Valentine’s day like a normal family. It was lovely.

Snuggle up with the ones you love and have some sugary holiday treats. Happy Valentine’s Day, yinz!

Last Minute Parent Duties

13 Feb

In case you were dying to know, the selections of Valentines available at the Iggle at 9:30pm on February 13 are: The Hobbit, Tinkerbell, and Scooby Doo.  I would have rather picked up the fruit snacks valentines, but those were long gone, and Sweet Tarts Valentines just aren’t age appropriate for 2 year olds.  I went for the Scooby Doo cards.  Even though I’m pretty sure Baby Beez doesn’t know who Scooby Doo is, she is even more clueless about The Hobbit, and I could not bring myself to buy Tinkerbell cards.  The Tinkerbell cards were rampant with all the usual sexism, but to top it off, included a card about being “Best Frienemies.”  No. Just No.

So in my role as Worlds-Best-Last-Minute mom, I did manage to involve a tasty treat in Baby Beez’ Valentines.  I picked up plenty of Cars, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. fruit snacks and taped them to the Valentines cards.  Baby Beez loves all of those movies, so her Valentines at least won’t be completely foreign to her.

They’re having a Valentine’s party at daycare tomorrow.  It will likely be the usual chaos of songs, snacks and small people dashing around.  When Baby Beez was 1, me staying for the party was so disorienting to her that she was always very moody and grouchy.  I was tempted to give up on attending these parties because they just seemed to make her moody.  We had a breakthrough with the most recent Christmas party, though, and she was happy to have me stay.

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Hopefully this happy attitude will reappear tomorrow morning.

Come ON.

13 Nov

Seriously, I don’t know how you people with multiple kids do it.  I’ve got one kid, and I’m about out of my mind.  I have friends who have said “I don’t know how you work such a busy job, and manage to do things around the city and spend time with your kid!”  Most of the time it’s just hectic, but fine.

Then there are weeks like this one and I think I must be out of my mind.

In litigation, things tend to go in cycles.  There will be several months of mellow time, where things are going smoothly with all your cases, and you can go on lunch dates and even work out now and then, and you’re getting all your work done, and all the clients are happy.

Then suddenly (usually around the end of summer), everything goes into a complete tizzy, and EVERY SINGLE CASE (all of which are completely unrelated mind you) ramp up simultaneously.  And it is complete chaos.

And then EVERY SINGLE THING at your husband’s job also manages to simultaneously ramp up. And that is DOUBLE complete chaos.

And then your kid keeps getting sick over and over.

Like today. When I started my billable day at 4:30am, finished things up at 9:30 pm, only to have to go pick up my kid from my husband’s work, where she was cuddled up snoozing in a corner, and wait for it….HAS CROUP.

I kid you not, she was just sick last week, throwing up all over the place last Tuesday. And now has croup. In the middle of the insane work season.  Because this is what I need right now.

 

But lets backtrack a minute….

It’s time to be grateful that the husband and I have the insane jobs.

And it’s time to be grateful that even though the kid manages to pick up every single childhood germ, she’s in generally good health.

And it’s time to be grateful that even though there’s no way I can miss work tomorrow to stay home with the sick kid, I know between the husband and I and possibly begging and pleading some family and friends, we’ll figure something out (even though I literally have no idea what it is at this moment).

And even though life and work and everything is completely in-sane in the membrane, it’s time to be grateful that in the bigger picture, everything is generally OK.

And now it’s time to snuggle that coughing baby, so she can feel a little better.

The Get Better Room

10 Aug

I still feel a bit like an idiot. Baby Beez was cranky yesterday morning. That’s not unusual, she’s often cranky. But she was REALLY cranky. And even that is not unusual. Sometimes she’s REALLY cranky. I dropped her off at daycare. Then about an hour later, Mr. Beez got a call that she’s sick and we need to pick her up. I feel like an idiot for not recognizing she was sick, and I worry that the daycare probably thought I was trying to pull a fast one on them (they always call me when she’s sick, it’s very strange for them to call Mr. Beez instead). I wasn’t. I’m just stupid.

Getting that sick call is any working parent’s nightmare. The first thing you want to do is race over and scoop up your little one, and snuggle them til they are better. But the sick call comes unexpectedly, and it’s never easy to drop everything. Sometimes you can maneuver to work at home. Sometimes you can’t.

Today, we couldn’t.

And for the first time, I tried out “sick care.” Our daycare participates in a program with an affiliated program called the “Get Better Room.” It’s an independent room in a daycare center staffed by a nurse/teacher, that is designed to provide care for kids with minor illnesses such as a flu or virus. I’ve put off registering Baby Beez for the “Get Better Room” because I dreaded the idea of leaving her in a new environment, with unfamiliar people, when she is already feeling miserable. Today, Mr. Beez had meetings scheduled. I had a deposition scheduled. The Get Better Room it was.

And you know what, it turned out all OK. The Get Better room generally has very few attendees. Today it was just Baby Beez. There were tons of toys, including an elaborate Thomas the Tank Engine play set (she loves Thomas, which I heartily encourage both because it defies the girls-should-play-with-dolls stereotype, and because my brothers loved Thomas when they were younger, so the shared affinity is sweet). Baby Beez cried for a few minutes when I left for work, but then she quickly warmed up to the teacher, and they played games together and read books. When I got there to pick her up, she was just waking from a nice long nap.

I’d still rather be able to indulge Baby Beez in a day at home, snuggling and drinking juice when she’s not feeling well. At least I know that there’s a reliable, caring resource for when the obligations of a tricky work life make that not exactly possible.

Baby Beez watching Finding Nemo

Resting on the Couch, watching Finding Nemo, trying to feel better