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blogging on flexibility in the workplace

Making Women’s History: From Patsy Mink to Paycheck Fairness

I was a bit surprised by the lack of coverage for Women’s History Month this year, particularly in the state where I live, since so many women who improved the lives of working families were pivotal to Hawaii’s history.

It is essential that we continue to remember these women.

While many people are aware of Congresswoman Patsy Mink’s accomplishments, many are not as familiar with Harriet Bouslog, Hawaii’s first female labor and civil rights attorney, or ILWU social worker Ah Quon McElrath. Yet like Mink, the significance of their achievements extends far beyond the advances they made as women.  Furthermore, their stories demonstrate the far-reaching changes that one individual can achieve, regardless of existing social barriers or the eras in which they lived.

Scrambling for Stability: The Challenges of Job Schedule Volatility and Child Care

For Karen, a part-time package delivery person and mom to a one-year-old, making child care arrangements is a weekly exercise in scrambling. That’s because Karen receives notice of her schedule only one week in advance, and her shifts fluctuate. The volatility of her schedule makes everything harder. Karen struggles to find friends and family to care for her baby on short notice. And when she can’t work the magic necessary to arrange child care on the fly, she is disciplined at work for being late or missing a day. Karen’s story, recounted in a 2011 report from the Institute for Workplace Innovation and Workplace Flexibility 2010, highlights how job scheduling and child care challenges can prevent workers from advancing in their jobs and ensuring their children are well-cared for.

No One Tells Mamma to “Just Go Home!”

By Galen Sherwin, ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Imagine you have just returned from maternity leave, still nursing your baby, and you find that your workplace has no place available for you to pump breast milk.  After trying for several hours to find a place, you ask for help from your department head, who says “You know, I think it’s best that you just go home to be with your babies.”  She hands you a pen and paper, advises you to resign, and even dictates what you should write down as your letter of resignation.

This is exactly what Angela Ames, a Loss Mitigation Representative at Nationwide Insurance, alleges happened to her when she returned to work eight-weeks after having her second child.

Brigid Schulte is Overwhelmed – and So Are You! Part One

Author Brigid Schulte has a job, a house, a husband, several children, and a whole lot of stress.  She’s also just written a book, available online and at your favorite bookstore, called Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, about how we’ve taken on way more than we can handle, what it’s doing to our lives and our families, and  how we can learn to live differently.  She graciously made time for my questions, both here and in my next post on this blog.

Do fathers and mothers experience overwhelm differently?

#DoubleBooked: 12 Tips for CLIPS (Career Loving Involved Parents)

This piece, written by Rachel and her husband, Mark Davies, originally appeared at The Huffington Post on February 11, 2014. It also appeared as part of the Religious Action Center’s blog seriesDouble Booked: A Conversation about Working Families in the 21st Century” on Februrary 14, 2014.  Double Booked deals with the many issues that affect working families, and features everything from personal stories to policy analysis. Visit the Double Booked portal to read more posts and subscribe for updates, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #doublebooked.

Isaac Luria for #DoubleBooked: Double Booked: Building Human-friendly Workplaces that Value the Human Spirit

This blog originally appeared on February 25, 2014 as part of the Religious Action Center’s blog series “Double Booked: A Conversation about Working Families in the 21st Century.” Double Booked deals with the many issues that affect working families, and features everything from personal stories to policy analysis. Visit the Double Booked portal to read more posts and subscribe for updates, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #doublebooked. 

I was invited recently to a conference organized by the Obama Administration on combating child trafficking – an issue that as a dad, I care a ton about.


Isaac’s son Caleb sees where his Dad works, promptly gets on Dad’s chair and starts making calls. Summer 2013.

Leaning on Each Other to Lead: Parents have the skills and talents to create meaningful change together

Last November I uploaded my ebook, Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, to the iBooks Store.  In addition to the next-gen interactivity within the book, Apple allows authors to update publications, with readers automatically receiving free updates.  So I designed a new cover (with the help of my artistic teenage son), cleaned up commas and clunky phrases, spruced up graphics, re-worked widgets, and added content.  My 1.1 update went “live” yesterday.

#DoubleBooked: Reflections On My Working Father

I can still smell the steak that my dad grilled one night during my teenage years. He was a little bit obsessed with making this one lemon rice dish, but overall it was the perfect complement to any main dish- not so flavorful as to compete, but more exciting than plain rice. Nothing tasted better than his perfect tuna fish sandwich on fresh sourdough bread-even for dinner. His gazpacho was, and still is, to die for.

My dad, now a septuagenarian, has worked as the Director of Clinical Education and as a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent Law School for as long as I can remember.

On top of his busy, albeit more-flexible-than-some job, he took on an enormous number of home responsibilities when my twin brother and I were growing up. This included cooking many dinners, planning dinners for the babysitter to make when he or my mom weren’t home in time to cook, meeting the repair people during the day and talking through many a paper and math problem at night. Despite this juggling act, I cannot think of one time when my dad- or my mom- had to miss our regular weeknight family dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Where is the love for #BlkBfing? Join the 2/12 chat!

The #BlkBfing chat is back on 2/12 at 7 PM ET with a powerful conversation on the hidden importance of support for successful breastfeeding from family support and nursing in stores to workplace pumping and family leave.  The chat is hosted by MomsRisingEbony.commater mea and Women’s eNews.

Our guests and co-sponsors include:

I support the FAMILY Act. Do you?

I took advantage of California Paid Family Leave after my baby was born. During that 12 weeks, I bonded with my baby by breastfeeding him as often and as long as possible; I also built a very good milk supply. By the time I went back to work when my little one turned 3 months old, I had two gallon of breast milk stored in my freezer.

The working environment I returned to was, unfortunately, very unfriendly to breastfeeding mothers. I went through a long, exhausting process of fighting just for a reasonable pumping space and a harassment-free office, which caused me to be stressed out with my milk drying up.

Luckily, I was able to continue exclusively breastfeeding my little one with my stored milk supply. When I was about to use up that storage, I left my job and became a freelancer. I was relieved and my milk supply came back.

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