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Warning bells are ringing

September 28, 2010
I recently got an email from a blog reader who said she had been obsessively reading and re-reading my first post , and all the comments that followed it. After years of managing what sounds like a challenging career and raising young children, she said she feared she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She wanted to know if I could see my own breakdown coming, and if so, what were the “warning bells”? There were warning bells. I’ll tell you all about them, and perhaps more importantly, what I tried to do about them. They started almost as soon as I took a full-time job, when my daughter...
Katrina Alcorn's picture

Musings on the Pursuit of Happiness and Work-Life Balance

September 28, 2010
LOUISVILLE, KY -- As I mentioned on my blog MotherTalkers , I was a speaker at the Coffee Party Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Before I delve into day two of the conference, I have some leftover pics and stories from the previous night . There was a bipartisan panel in support of the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 6116), which would allow matching funds to candidates who raise a certain amount of small dollar donations. "On this issue I am to the left of (Harvard Professor) Larry Lessig," said Republican consultant Mark McKinnon. "I don't think corporations should have first amendment...
Elisa Batista's picture

Work-Family Policies Must Include Grandparents

September 12, 2010
Grandparents are the glue that holds many families together—yet our workplace laws don’t honor their critical role. Grandparents play a more vital role than ever in building strong families and caring for our nation’s children. In addition to providing emotional and financial support, millions of grandparents act as primary caregivers for their grandchildren — a number that has increased since the start of the recession. And millions of younger workers care for aging or ill grandparents. Grandparents and grandchildren need workplace policies that help them meet their work and family...

Straight Talk about Motherhood and Work

August 23, 2010
Recently I was asked a terrific question by an Australian (and soon to be an American) woman at a training for women bloggers thinking about running for office. BlogHer and the White House Project had put together a great program. I talked about my experience in international work as an Ambassador which gave me a window into how mothers fared in other countries. My questioner said she had lived in a number of countries which raised a big question in her mind. “Why,” she asked, “do American women – compared with those in many other countries – put up with such Draconian policies that make it...
Linda Tarr-Whelan's picture

Massachusetts Maternity Leave Ruling Leaves Moms Cold

August 19, 2010
According to Salon's Broadsheet , the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last week that the state's maternity leave act (MMLA) should stand, leaving mothers who work for a company with less than fifty employees with only two months of unpaid leave after the birth of a baby. The other moms? They're either left with a sum total of zero available weeks of maternity leave if they work for an employer with less than six employees or, if they're lucky and work at an organization with fifty or more employees, are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and a job to which to return under federal law...

Nap-Time Cooking

August 12, 2010
Once you see this, hit the kitchen. When my son was a newborn, I struggled to figure out how to feed myself and my husband—breastmilk and formula took care of our boy. Stephen and I ate far too many meals of takeout or fried egg sandwiches, while junior guzzled eight meals a day. Finally, once he settled down into a napping routine, I figured out how to get back in the kitchen without falling asleep in the soup pot: Nap-Time Cooking. The idea’s pretty simple. Once the wee’un dozes off, you hit the kitchen for 10 to 15 minutes of prep. Then you nap. Next time the kid conks out, you do the...
Debbie Koenig's picture

What Should Society Do For Parents?

August 10, 2010
From Your (Wo)manInWashington blog MOTHERS changing the conversation @ www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org Let's face facts: raising children costs money, and lots of it. Parenthood has economic consequences, and they extend far beyond the family home. If women decide having children is too perilous an undertaking, and fewer children are born, our nation will suffer. Public policy, or how the laws of the land hinder or help parents and families fulfill their function, impact us in very direct and personal ways. This recent Washington Post column is sure to get you thinking about how...
Valerie Young's picture

Sorry I Missed Your Anniversary! Thanks for Keeping Families Afloat.

August 4, 2010
This July marked the sixth anniversary of the nation's first state law that provides comprehensive paid family leave. Passed in 2002 and in effect since July 2004, California's paid family leave insurance program provides most workers with six weeks a year of partial pay (55% of wages up to a weekly max -- $987 per week in 2010) during unpaid time off from work to care for a newborn, new adopted or foster child, or seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner. Is family leave just a frill? Hardly. In a recession, having it makes a significant economic difference for families --...
Joan C. Williams's picture

Screw Work Life Balance: We Need Work Life Policy! Join the Movement at BlogHer

August 2, 2010
For over two years, The Four Hour Work Week has been a national bestseller. Why? Because most of us resent feeling tethered to our jobs, and we know we could still do great work even if we had the ability to control our schedules and factor family needs into our day. But workers are completely on their own to figure it out. Out of 168 nations , 163 have some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. Nice. We are grown ups who have home and work demands; what's wrong here? At the BlogHer Conference in NYC on August 7 at 1...

The White House Talks, Is Congress Listening?

July 28, 2010
This year the White House, in cooperation with the Council on Women and Girls, hosted a conference on Workplace Flexibility. The conference came on the heels of a report by the Council of Economic Advisors on the benefits to employers of offering paid leave and flextime, official guidance on caregiving discrimination by the EEOC, and – perhaps most importantly – a $50 million line item in the FY2011 Department of Labor budget to create a State Paid Leave Fund to provide grants to states to establish paid leave programs. Advocates celebrated. And then we waited for Congress to act. We’re still...

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