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Aug 1 2013

Life as a Summertime Stay-at-Home Mom

By at 11:53 am

stay at home summertime momBeing a teacher is one of those jobs that is SUPER-challenging from September to May, and then SUPER-easy from June through August–because having the summer off is a huge perk! In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this unpaid vacation, because I like to keep busy and this two and a half month break tends to lag after the first few weeks. In the past, I’ve taught summer school or gotten a summer job doing something full time, anything I could do to make money during the break.

However, this is my first summer off being a mommy; it’s super-busy, super-fun, and it’s a whole new world! Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 30 2013

We Need Better, Affordable Jewish Day Care Options

By at 2:06 pm

hebrew alphabet magnetsWhen my husband and I moved our family from Brooklyn to the wilds of the Long Island suburbs eight months ago, our chief concern was securing great childcare for our twin toddlers. In Brooklyn, from the time they were 3 months old, Avi and Maya had been cared for part-time by Charlotte, a superhero dressed as a 25-year-old aspiring opera singer. Charlotte (Sha-Sha, to everyone in our family who loved her, which was everyone) could do anything our two babies needed, including arrive at our apartment at 8 a.m. so that I could hop the subway to Manhattan while the girls splatter-painted the walls with oatmeal. Charlotte glided into our lives and made it infinitely better. Alas, Sha-Sha wasn’t interested in moving to the ‘burbs with us. Go figure.

And so, when we landed on the (north) shores of this island, we weighed our options. I would still be working part-time, but really, it was more like three quarters when you considered the longer commute. We didn’t know many people in our new town and worried that a nanny wouldn’t have much to do with the girls, what with the whole everyone-needs-a-car-to-get-anywhere culture. We didn’t like the idea of the girls sitting in the house all day. In addition, at 18 months, Avi and Maya were starting to pick things up, and it seemed like they might just benefit from being in a Jewish environment.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 5 2013

Don’t We All Need Better Work-Life Balance, Regardless of Our Genitalia?

By at 2:40 pm

working dad coming home to daughterI recently read an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek entitled, “Alpha Dads: Men Get Serious About Work-Life Balance.” Don’t be fooled, though–these are not dads who fight for work-life balance for all. Rather, they’re serious about work-life balance…for dads. Deloitte Dads, one such organization, is a group to help fathers with time management and family issues in the name of spending more time with their kids. Dads, they contend, are an unacknowledged victim of all the talk about mothers’ work-life balancing act.

“Men have to feel valued and wanted for the balance of their skills,” as Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap–and What Women Can Do About It puts it. “People don’t invite the man who raised his children really well back to the 50th high school reunion to talk about it.” Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 30 2013

A Potential Client Told Me I Shouldn’t Become a Mother

By at 9:45 am

bad phone callWe’ve been following along with Emily on her path to becoming a single mother by choice. She is now 32 weeks pregnant.  

Something happened back in October that I was too nervous to share at the time. It was the day before my embryo transfer. I was scheduled to be in the city in meetings for most of the day, but in the morning, I did some work from home and had a phone call with a potential new client.

The call went very well. We spoke for about an hour and I learned a lot about this mom and her sophomore son. He sounded like a great kid. I explained my work and how I would help her family and her son navigate the college admissions process from both a strategic and human development viewpoint. The mom asked several thoughtful questions. She also mentioned to me that she was a business consultant and had some strong opinions about what would work best for her son. She signed off saying she would likely be back in touch the following week to set up our first meeting.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2013

Back to the Daily Grind After Seven Years

By at 10:25 am

grand central stationI am writing this blog post on the 5:55 a.m. train from Manhattan heading to Stamford, CT (after having taken two subways to get to Grand Central Station, first). Because, for the first time since before my daughter was born, I have a job that requires reporting to an office.

Seven years ago, pregnant with my third child and too sick and tired to keep making what, in retrospect, was a ridiculously short, five subways stops commute, I gave up my office gig for the freelancer’s life. I was, however, remarkably fortunate in that my then employer, Procter & Gamble Productions, producers of the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” promptly hired me to keep on doing more or less what I’d been doing up to that point, only from home and at a lower salary–which I deemed infinitely fair.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 19 2013

Ancient Chinese Wisdom Got it Right About Postpartum Women

By at 1:30 pm

woman overwhelmed at work with stacks of papersChinese ancients may have something on us modern Westerners. An old Chinese acupuncturist told my husband that back in the old country, women were made to stay in bed and fed soup for two solid months after giving birth.

Old-style Yiddish mamas have a special name for the postpartum woman: she’s a kimpeturin and is chided for lifting a finger to help with housework.

Modern-day America doesn’t seem to have the same respect for the recuperation needs of postpartum women (which explains why so many of them never heal properly from the experience of hosting a live baby in their wombs and then ejecting said baby in a miraculous but painful process that puts their bodies through extreme stress and acrobatics). Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 5 2013

When a Working Mom Spends 10 Days with Her Kids

By at 11:56 am

hotel signI recently returned from spending Passover at a beautiful hotel in California with my two kids. One of the great perks of being married to a musician (and don’t throw a virtual shoe at me; there are negatives to being a wife in music life, too) is that so far, I get to go away for Passover, and thus bypass all the meticulous cleaning, multi-meal cooking, and various other daunting tasks that the holiday entails.

Now, I had realized that once we returned home,  if we wanted to eat, we’d have to actually cook something ourselves; there would be no lavish tea room to quell hunger pangs between meals and I correctly anticipated seven loads of laundry (my baby likes to spit up on a brand-new dress approximately three seconds after I change her into it). Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 15 2013

Friday Night: I Chose My Kids (and Shabbat) Over a Job

By at 2:49 pm

fresh baked challahHere’s the thing. I actually did try to lean in. I updated my resume, sent it out, and dug out the blazer I only wear to interviews. I answered the standard questions about why I want the job (because biweekly midnight visits to the ER with croupy kids aren’t keeping me busy enough, apparently), what my weaknesses are (chocolate, pudgy-faced toddlers, and men who fold laundry), and how I would feel about being the only post-doc with kids (um, great?).

To be honest, I’m still not sure what happened at the interview. Perhaps I sabotaged myself. As perfect as the job was, and as much as my husband and friends assured me that we could make it work, I just couldn’t quite figure out how our family would function with both us working full time. I know millions of American families (including many of my neighbors and friends) do it, but all I could think about was laundry piling up, last minute emergency trips to the grocery store for milk, and strawberry-banana yogurt, and hushed but heated conversations about who was going to take a sick day to stay home with a feverish child. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 25 2013

Yahoo and Facebook Execs: Screwing It Up For The Rest Of Us

By at 1:23 pm

It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. I’m not sure if I’m speaking for all of us in saying this, but I haven’t even read it: I live it.

Friday morning, I shut the door in the face of my crying child who was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! No go!” with guilt-inducing gusto. I was leaving her in order to go into New York to tape a television show which discussed, in part, feminism and work-life balance. Ah, irony: you’re so subtle.

It’s not just me, of course. The discussion on women in the workplace was kick started on the national scale this week.

On the one hand, prominent consulting group McKinsey has started quietly reaching out to female former employees who left to start families to see if they are now ready to come back to work. Goldman Sachs also runs a “returnship” program: paid short-term jobs for professionals who’ve been out of the workforce for a few years. In a 2010 report, the Wall Street Journal noted, “female senior executives cited the ‘double burden syndrome’ of balancing motherhood and work as the main obstacle to women attaining more top roles in companies.” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 8 2013

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Michelle Cove

By at 9:09 am

i love mondays michelle coveMichelle Cove is the author of I Love Mondays: And Other Confessions from Devoted Working Moms and the editor of 614: the HBI ezine, an online magazine that aims to spark conversation on hot topics for Jewish women. Michelle is also the mother of an 8-year old girl. In her free time, she writes books and gives talks around the country. She chatted with us recently about the working mom guilt, avoiding burnout, and how important it is for our kids to see us fulfilled.

What prompted you to add the word “confessions” to the title of your book? Do you really find there’s a stigma attached to mothers who enjoy working outside the home? Read the rest of this entry →

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