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CustomFit Workplace blog

The CustomFit Workplace blog is part of the MomsRising.org Open, Flexible Work blog. It is a place where workers, managers, educators and Human Resources professionals can share their insights and questions. The views expressed in this blogs aren't necessarily representative of the CustomFitWorkplace.org initiative or of MomsRising.org policy positions. Interested in blogging? drop us a line

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A Special Match for #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday

You gave thanks. You ate delicious food. You got deals. Now, it’s time to give back!

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of celebrating and supporting the causes that matter most to us – like making the world a better, safer, more just place for women, moms and families.

To mark this day, another generous donor has offered to give $25 for every contribution today – in any amount! Make a gift, unlock this special match for Giving Tuesday!

Our goal today is to recruit 100 new and returning MomsRising donors today for Giving Tuesday. I hope you will become one of them!

Your support today will help MomsRising dial up the fight for pay equity, push harder for gun safety, and turn up the pressure for paid family / maternity / paternity medical leave.

Family First -- 3 Moms Document the Paid Family Leave Movement

Thank you to Mom-Mentum for graciously allowing this updated crosspost for National Work and Family Month:

In March of this year, Honolulu filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford and I had our first discussion about the project that would become FAMILY FIRST, a film that will interweave the movement to pass paid family leave with history, pop culture and contemporary portraits of working mothers and fathers in America. Though the issue of national paid family leave is finally gaining traction -- as evidenced by the recent Democratic Presidential debate -- when I first reached out to Kimberlee in May of 2014, this was definitely not the case.

8 Things Moms Don't Need on #LaborDay, or Any Other Day

A Labor Day List of Ways to Help Moms

Several companies recently announced new or expanded perks to help the mothers in their ranks: extending maternity leaves, paying to fly a baby and nanny when mom takes a work trip or to ship breast milk back home, offering a mother local work for the first year of her baby’s life, or allowing her to return to work part-time at full pay after maternity leave. This “arms race” of baby-friendly benefits is welcome, if overdue. At the same time, research pertaining to the Millennial generation is yielding particularly intriguing insights for the future of breadwinning and caregiving.

Still, irksome workplace norms and beliefs remain, creating unnecessary stress and high hurdles for mothers. Scholars have been describing and studying different parts of this problem for years. Taken together, their research points to an anti-wish list for mothers.

Combing the latest research, here’s a Labor Day breakdown of eight things moms DON’T need as they — along with their families and partners — strive to achieve work-life balance.

#WomensEqualityDay! Patsy Mink Lives on in Today's Fight for Title IX

Thirty-four years ago, Aug. 26 was designated as Women's Equality Day to commemorate the 19th Amendment and the 1970 Women's Strike for Equality.

Most of us know that American women secured the federal right to vote on Aug 26, 1920. It is less known that more than 100,000 women across the country protested for gender equality on the 50-year anniversary of women's suffrage, demanding equal opportunities in employment and education and access to childcare.

Those demands are just as urgent today as they were in 1970.

Female voters have outnumbered males in every presidential race since 1964, but that has neither eliminated the gender pay gap, nor assured equal employment opportunities. Voting alone has yet to resolve vital issues that disproportionately affect women, and in particular mothers, such as paid sick leave, parental leave, flexible workplaces, affordable childcare and college, living wages for caregivers, and a fair minimum wage.

It is clear that in addition to deciding political races, women need to be in them.

7 Back-to-School Tips to Help You Stress Less and Find Your Center

Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, the start of a new school year offers the opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to do things differently.

If you’re feeling some anxiety around all the transitions, scheduling, juggling and driving that usually accompany a new school year, take a deep breath, you’re not alone. Then, pause and consider the following ideas. Adopting even one of these strategies could make a huge difference in how you experience this potentially hectic time. Start with compassion and a “baby steps” mindset as you consider the following:

Are you at a threshold, too?

Yesterday we attended a moving "Ceremony of 13" at our church for my teenage son. Cultures around the world share a tradition of marking the transition from childhood to adulthood beginning at age 13 (in the Jewish tradition this is called a Bar or Bat Mitzvah). Our ministers shared why it's key to pause and honor this threshold or "crossing over" with ritual--just like we honor other thresholds such as baptisms, births, weddings, deaths, turning 18 and more.

After each youngadult received a blessing and anointing, parents took turns sharing what they loved and honored in their young teens. It was powerful and moving.

Tears streamed down my face for most of the short ceremony and it dawned on me that my 13 year-old and I are at a very similar place. I'll be 50 in January and I too, am at a threshold. My midlife transition has amped up in the last 18 months--physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually-- and just like my son, I too am at an axial time. A time that calls for more self-compassion, self-acceptance and time/space to digest and integrate all these internal--and external--changes so I can prepare for my second course.

A Working Mom Shaping the Lives of Future Generations

Thank you to Mom-Mentum Editor Kate Fineske for graciously allowing me to cross-post this piece, which was originally published at Mom-Mentum.

Depending on the profession and individual circumstances, every mother has her own story about returning to work. Over the past several months we’ve begun highlighting our Mom-mentum members Return-to-work stories. Likewise, in her book Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, author and regular Mom-mentum blog contributor Shay Chan Hodges presents many diverse stories about the intersection of work and parenting.

7 reasons I practice self-care

I was recently at a dinner party and found myself in a corner with a heart surgeon discussing the concept of self-care. Like many in healthcare, she saw self-care as something you “should do” for your physical health (exercise, eat well, get enough sleep), but that’s where it ends. She became curious when I shared that I define self-care as the art of attuning and responding to your needs and desires, moment to moment. You could see the wheels turning as she contemplated my definition.

Pick up an onion and hold it in your palm. For me, self-care would be the outer layer, then a few layers deeper, you’ll find self-acceptance (as you learn to accept yourself warts and all), then self-compassion, and then a few layers beyond that you arrive at the holy grail: self-love. I see self-care as the first doorway we go through to begin to truly accept who we are, and ultimately, to begin to love ourselves.

Another International Women's Day - It's Time

 

Another year, another International Women's Day. But this year feels different. Suddenly gender equality in the United States is a front burner issue. In fact, women's economic empowerment is recognized as central to how we address both income inequality and economic sustainability.  Gender issues stand at that sweet spot: offering both political and financial solutions. Policy makers, companies, and the media are taking notice.

 

Today, 40 percent of American households look to a woman's income for financial security. Studies show women in the workforce are a key to profitability. Social and mainstream media do the gender calculus on virtually every story. 

 

What does the employer mandate dispute have to do with moms?

A lot. A 2013 Pew Research study found that nearly half of all moms polled said, “that their ideal situation would be to work part time.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you add a 40-hour workweek to the demands of being a primary caregiver, the dual (triple? quadruple?) roles can leave you exhausted. And the reality is that for many parents, a 40-hour workweek just isn’t a legitimate option.

Some years ago I worked with an amazing mom who, because of the excellence of her work, was offered an increase in her hours by our company. But when asked, she told us she couldn’t work 40 hours a week even if she wanted to. As the parent of a special needs child, between bi-weekly (sometimes weekly) doctors’ appointments, therapy, specialized parent/teacher meetings, in addition to her regular parental responsibilities—there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done if she also worked a 40-hour week.

10 things I tell clients in transition

In 1999 I combined my 14 years of experience and training in organizational/leadership development, communications strategy, corporate coaching and personal branding and launched my first business—a career coaching and consulting firm dedicated to helping men and women integrate who they are with what they do. Career Strategists is still alive and well and our coaches are serving clients around the globe, but I stepped away from individual coaching years ago to focus my energy on my passion: work/life alignment and life balance. However, lately, I have so many close friends and family that are in the midst of big career changes, I’ve been drawn right back into the career coaching trenches.

My friends are up late at night worrying about interviews, financial stability, re-positioning and re-inventions, negotiations, relocating, life purpose and in many cases, they're looking at leaving behind everything they know to step into a wild, new, very foreign frontier. What do I tell them?

Dear friends in career transition:

My 4 must-ask questions for 2015

I love the time before and around New Year’s Day. As a coach/speaker/author who has spent almost 30 years studying, writing and teaching in the area of human potential, this window of time–ripe with possibility and potential–always excites me. Yes, January 1 is just another day, but it also represents an invitation to step into new ways of seeing, being and relating to one another–and to ourselves.

The Austin weather looks chilly, so my family will probably end up spending a cozy night cooking at home this New Year’s eve. Right now it’s a tossup whether we’ll watch a comedy chosen by my 12 year-old or do a burning bowl ceremony (!), but regardless of what we do, some reflection will be on the menu.

Here are four questions I’m asking myself, my husband and my clients as we move into this fresh, New Year:

Leo McGarry's New Year Advice: Getting Out of the Hole Together

The second Friday before Christmas was like most of my days -- essentially -- but with some unique details. I was finishing up the update of my ebook, Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, so I was making edits and chasing after approvals from various interviewees in between my double and triple-checks for typos. I also had a call with one of the mothers in the book, Hawaii State Senator Jill Tokuda, who was juggling gingerbread-house making in her older son's classroom with preparing for her new post as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We talked about working families, the economy, and how to reframe the state's perspective to truly consider the economic value of working parents. After that call, I texted my older son, who is a high school senior, and confirmed his college application progress. Thankfully, my husband took our younger son to the orthodontist that afternoon.

Working in the Regenerative Economy

“If we want stronger communities and more fulfilling, connected lives, we’re going to have to build them – together.” – Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union

 

Federal officials say the “Great Recession” ended in June 2009, 18 months after it started. But for many Americans, the recession’s ripple effects still linger: job insecurity and the housing bubble have rattled our faith in the leaders and institutions we came to rely on.

Despite the economic devastation it caused, the recession has given us a great opportunity too: the chance to redefine work culture and the “good life.”

In some American cities where economic hardship has lasted decades longer than the recent recession, the seeds of this new economy are sprouting.

Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio is a collection of worker-owned businesses that do three great things: they provide workers with good wages and a voice in the future of the business; they inject money into the local economy; and they provide sustainable products and services. Win-win-win.

Three Ways to Raise Wages

For a lot of working people, this holiday season will be one of belt-tightening rather than shopping sprees. Let’s face it, our wages just aren’t keeping up the way they used to. Here’s a fact: Average income for the least rich 90% of us has been flat since the 1970s, although people are working more hours. Not a recipe for a holiday-buying bonanza.

The answer isn’t to cut back even more, it’s to raise wages. One sure way to put more money in consumers’ pockets and place upward pressure on pay is by raising the minimum wage—a sorely needed move that is stymied in Congress, although 20 states and as many localities have raised their minimum wages over the past two years.

But that’s not the only way.

Let’s look at three other paths to raising wages where we can see progress now:

Raising the Minimum Wage and Affordable Child Care Go Hand in Hand

This post, authored by Traci Donnelly, originally appeared on TalkPoverty.org. A minimum wage increase will not help families exit poverty by itself – we need other work supports that ease the economic strain on families. TalkPoverty.org is dedicated to demonstrating that we know how to dramatically reduce poverty; we just need to build the political will. Make sure to like TalkPoverty on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

A few years ago, a young man named Israel and his wife enrolled their daughter in one of our Early Head Start programs. Israel, the son of Mexican immigrants, worked long hours as a barber. His wife worked too, but the family still lived below the poverty line.  Initially, they were simply glad that their daughter had a welcoming and safe place to go every day, and that they could work more hours without paying for costly childcare. But gradually Israel began to notice something he hadn’t anticipated.

My #1 life balance secret

“Are you listening to your life; what is it trying to tell you?” Renee Trudeau

Most people are surprised to hear that I love making a big pot of minestrone soup for my family and friends as much as I love getting invited to go to India to speak to a women’s group on work/life balance. So after almost six weeks of speaking gigs and travel, I’m ready to be at home, anchor, reconnect with my family and get clear on my top priorities. One of the ways I do this after a busy time, is by taking a personal planning retreat.

I take personal retreats-usually each quarter–to sit with the questions, “What is uniquely mine to do?” and “What is the best use of my energy and talents in the next 3 months?”

How Telework Helps Working Moms Juggle the Holiday Season

Ahh, the holidays. The next 60-or-so days until the end of the year will be jam-packed with busy schedules, school events, work deadlines, and...stress. For working moms who have in-office jobs, the holidays, combined with balancing their jobs, can be a difficult time of year. That stress is significantly lowered, though, when they have the ability to work from home, even occasionally.

Here are three scenarios in which telecommuting helps working moms juggle the holidays.

The Morning Rush

Following Mom's Advice

My Mom chose college over a car and loved working for Eleanor Roosevelt in Washington after college. Though she was a very active stay-at-home mom after she married my Dad, my Mom always told me to have a career and a family, and I followed her advice. Another piece of advice from both my Mom and my Dad was to “do the best you can.”  Blessed (and, in some ways, cursed) with a body that doesn’t require much sleep to keep going, I took that advice to mean I should work as many hours as I could. In my first high-tech management job, I clocked 110 hours one week, and 70, 80, 90 hours many other weeks. 

Then I had my son, and I knew that the hours I spent at the office, I wasn’t spending with my precious little guy. I had my career and my family, and I wanted to do the best I could at both. I decided to see if I could get more effective at work rather than just piling on more hours.

I started each day by applying my Time Management Mantra:

Why Work Flexibility Works for Our Family: And Why We Want to Give Others the Opportunity

In honor of National Work & Family Month, two NC employers shared why the value family-friendly work place policies and why they want to give others that same opportunity.

 

Craig:  Ah, 2007.  I was 34 and pretty happy with my little world.  I was 10 years into my career, had married the love of my life, and shared incredible adventures with her, from biking famous Tour de France routes to getting married in Alaska.  What more could a guy ask for, right?  But, I still felt like we were missing something.  I lost my father to cancer when I was 17 years old.  He was 43.  Ever since, I’ve always thought that the best way to honor him, and to carry on his memory, would be to raise a family of my own and teach my kids everything he taught me.

 

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