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blogging on virtual work

Must Be Nice… Wish I Had a Kid

If you’ve not only heard about – but really thought about -  the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance that was just passed in San Francisco, you know what we’re getting at with this title. If you’re still celebrating the legislation that will go into effect on January 1, 2014, you may want to stop reading as we expose the plain truth that will cause your bubbly to go flat in about 3.5 seconds.

We’ll start at the top and say that the intent of the ordinance is ultimately good – to attract more families to the San Francisco area, keep them there, and make it less likely that these Californians will be in the difficult situation of having to choose between their jobs and well-being of their children and loves ones. The fact that a large city in our country is concerned about this is to be commended – and we very much admire San Francisco’s desire to support families in this way.

However, we fear that the way this will play out is going to undermine the good intent and actually make things worse. Hear us out.

Author of “Maxed Out” talks about why American moms are on the brink

A few months ago, I received a note from a longtime friend, Joan Blades (co-founder of MomsRising) introducing us to Katrina Alcorn. Joan thought we might support each others’ work, and it turns out that yes, supporting each others’ work was indeed a no brainer. I learned about the book Katrina was writing – Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink – and it definitely sounded intriguing. After all, I’m an American Mom and before ROWE, I definitely would have described myself as being on the brink of many things…insanity being one of them.

Tips on How to Join a MomsRising’s Tweetchat

What is a MomsRising Tweetchat?

MomsRising tweetchats are opportunities to discuss core issue areas related to the economic security and well being of moms and families (like healthcare or food justice) by using a subject specific hashtag. We invite experts in the field to answer member questions, share the latest resources, and invite members to discuss their own views on the topics. The various issue areas have their own time slots and often repeat weekly at a pre-determined time, but sometimes we may have special issue tweetchats on other days that we advertise in advance.

Joining our tweetchats means that you, our members, can join and talk to us in real time with 140 characters or less! When you join a tweechat by re-tweeting or asking question, you help us at MomsRising bring awareness to family economic justice issues by reaching a wider audience on social media—which means you make a difference every time you join!

Planning a Career Break? Make Sure It’s a Pause, Not a Dent

A decade ago, Lisa Belkin wrote “The Opt Out Revolution,” a New York Times Magazine piece that became instantly famous. It profiled women who had chosen to leave high-profile careers to stay home full-time, arguing that they had opted out because (to quote one) “women’s brains light up differently.” I subsequently wrote a report documenting that the print media in general, and The New York Times in particular, had been writing precisely this story since the 1970s, announcing over and over again that women had finally discovered that they wanted to stay home rather than work.

Reflections on being an at-home dad

Today’s the last day of my paternity leave, so I wanted to reflect a bit on the experience. When I tell people I’m on a 4-month leave, the initial response is typically surprise that my company offers such a generous benefit. Facebook’s paternity leave policy is unusual, but I hope it becomes less so. It’s good for gender equality in the workplace and it’s good for families with fathers.

That’s typically followed by surprise that I’m actually taking it — why would I want to subject myself to that torture (from parents), why would I want to sit around and do nothing for 4 months (from non-parents), or why would I want to do what is surely a career-limiting move.

Marissa Mayer & Yahoo Send a Clear (Negative) Message to Employees & Working Parents

This story originally appeared in the Modern Mami blog.

News of Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, eliminating workplace flexibility and forcing all employees to work in the office (even those that were already telecommuting) hit the Internet this past weekend with much backlash. Many people felt her decision negatively affects working parents and destroys chances of moving forward with modern workplace policies. In a time when families are often choosing between work and family and struggling to manage various aspects of life, I have to agree that the decision of Yahoo and their CEO was a bad one.

Marissa Mayer Edict Reinforces Regressive Work Place Practices

This is an e-mail that received at its member feedback “line”:

So, once again Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer moves a pinky and the 24-hour news hounds start fanning the flames of discord among the working world’s haves and have-nots – pitting parents, non-parents, caretakers and others against one another. (For those who missed it, Mayer has issued a June 1 deadline for Yahoo! employees who work remotely from home to work from the office.)

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is about workplace communication, how one goes about finishing a task, face-time, new versus old way of performing work, and other similar issues — all of which have been studied for more than 30 years by such entities and efforts as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Sloan Foundation’s National Workplace Flexibility Initiative, to name just a few.

No, what this latest edict points out is what a woefully outmoded
workplace paradigm that establishes the direction of power in no uncertain terms.

New Moms Can Lean In Too: Take Your Infant to Work

The volcanic national debate about women, work, and family erupts weekly these days, with Sheryl Sandberg’s much-anticipated book, Lean In, published yesterday, the news last week that Best Buy ended its flexible work-from-home ROWE initiative, and Marissa Mayer’s ban on remote working at Yahoo! the week before.

Let’s Lean In to Updating our Work Culture!

Sheryl Sandburg’s new book Lean In puts a spotlight on the shortage of women leaders in the work force. She underscores that motherhood is a time when many women get side tracked from their careers. She advises young women to “lean in” in order to stay on track, move up the hierarchy, and become leaders. Women who step back when they anticipate motherhood or are sidelined when they become pregnant are falling off the top career tracks.

At MomsRising, we celebrate mothers in leadership and value leaders like Sheryl who encourage and mentor other women to lead. This said, leaning in is not always possible, especially when work policies make it more challenging rather than less to meet responsibilities both at work and at home.

As Women, We Are Our Own Best Source of Inspiration

For many of us moms, success is too often defined and driven by outside factors and interpretations of what and how we “should” do things. I just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s book which came out today and I think she perpetuates this view. She talks about leaning into a career by reaching for opportunities, taking a seat at the table, raising expectations, withstanding criticism and the like, but we are missing the conversation about finding success on your own terms.


The Facebook COO talks about an updated women’s movement and the ambition gap that is limiting women’s ability to advance in the workplace. But advance to what degree – the chief executive level? That is not the goal of millions of professional women. They are looking to be successful on their terms and to raise a family in a way that aligns with those terms. Her book is an interesting read and great for young women starting out and those who want to get to the top, but it really doesn’t speak to the other 99 percent of us not willing or able to approach work in the way Sheryl outlines.


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