Friday, October 24, 2014

Reading on the Run: Articles of Interest to Working Moms (Egg Freezing Benefit Packages Part II)

The egg freezing benefit discussion that I mentioned in my previous blog post is an issue that's relevant to all working women, but especially working moms. To date, there has not been overwhelming support for us. Even though many of us have been trying to lean in we have struggled because of the lack of basic benefits like paid maternity leave, paid vacation benefits, and flexible schedules.

Egg Freezing Benefits May Make Being a Working Mom Unfashionable

We have been fighting tirelessly to get Corporate America to recognize that while we may enjoy our work, while we are willing to work long and work hard, working is not our life. It doesn't seem like we should have to apologize for that, but we often do because we understand the unspoken truth. Our getting pregnant, our children and our resulting family obligations are inconvenient for our employers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reading on the Run: Articles of Interest to Working Moms (Egg Freezing Benefit Packages, Part I)

Successful working women keep track of important matters in the news. However, we are not one-dimensional. Some of us also want to keep up with celebrity gossip and fashion news too. Even in the era of the Internet and 24 hour news shows and E!, it can be challenging to keep up with everything.

Fortunately for you, I make it my job to keep up on articles of interest and resources to working moms and when I find notable ones, I share them with you. Below are two that sparked my interest. They focus on the topic of egg freezing benefit packages being providing to employees by some technology companies.

Nearly every working woman wonders about the best time to have a child

The price you pay for being a woman is that at some point you have to address the question about when/whether to have a family.  My blog focuses on issues relevant to working mothers. So, you know what path I chose. I took the path most traveled by many women before me. I decided to procreate and that has made all the difference. (Get the Robert Frost reference?!)

For women, when you decided to try to become a mother matters because of a condition known as age related infertility.  Basically this means that at some point, a woman becomes too old to bear children. "Too old" varies by the person. However, if you were unaware, after 35 many physicians start billing you as a "geriatric pregnancy". So, that gives you a hint at what they're the insurance companies are thinking.

Many professional women have long lamented that the time for building a good résumé and a family occurs at the same time. That conflict is what has lead to the whole "having it all" discussion. Well Facebook and Apple have decided to help their female workers fight the fertility/résumé building conflict with more ammunition.  They are paying for them to freeze their eggs.

Although it seems like a really generous gesture on the face of it, I have some concerns about what it means more broadly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Working Mom Tip: Looking Nice When You Have Small Children

Seen on Facebook: It is really hard to look really nice when you have a tiny human whose care takes precedence over how you look. Anyone else with me on this?? 

My Response:

Every working mom knows that a baby can wreck your pursuit of elegance if you let it.  The secret is, you can’t let it.  Because while other moms will understand that your kid has you looking like a hot mess in public they will talk about you. And chances are, you were talking about those crazy looking moms before you became one of them before you became a mom.

I can relate to the challenge. Both of my kids have been spitters. It’s like they are allergic to clean shirts. When they encounter a clean shirt their mission is to soil it.  I think it makes them feel better or something.  The secret to looking good is to eschew natural fabrics and rock polyester.

I know this advice seems odd coming from me. I have shared my stories of natural childbirth, making my own baby food and making green drinks from scratch. I believe in natural foods, but appreciate the simplicity polyester. For you purists, I dare you to judge me. For you moms with small kids, trust me. Man-made clothing is the secret to looking good with small children. Cotton stains easily. Silk is ruined by spit up. And it's hard to get foul odors from wool.

You want to look good and smell good? Avoid natural fibers at all costs, especially leather.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Working Mom Tips: Planned Homemade Lunches by Laura Fuentes, the Key to Reducing Workweek Chaos

We are all back into the rhythm of the school year. Back to school season represents many things to parents.  For some, it represents ten months of free childcare.  Others find that it is the time when they spend money to buy clothes, school supplies and things for their kid’s classrooms. For others it represents the beginning of carpooling, lunch making and inevitable chaos.

Back-to-school doesn’t have to be chaotic

For me, it represents a new beginning, a time to get it right, a time to create an end to the chaos that families have experienced during the school year for generations. When the school year starts we vow to abandon the lackadaisical bedtimes of the summer in favor of more rigid schedules.  That requires organized and efficient schedules.  

As working moms, we want our kids to be healthy and our mornings to go smoothly. Providing our kids with healthy lunches is one way to keep our kids healthy, but who has the time? 

When you have a plan, it is possible to provide your kids with healthy lunches without it disrupting your schedule.

An adult lunch

Having a plan for healthy school lunches calms the chaos

Laura Fuentes is a working mom who is committed to giving the rest of us healthy lunch recipes. I met Laura a year ago at the Niche Parent Conference in Hollywood, Florida.  We bonded because of our common love of healthy eating and providing our children with healthful choices. However, unlike me, Laura has created an empire focused on helping other moms do the same thing. Genius!

How Laura Became Passionate About School Lunches

I have gotten to know Laura better over this past year and have been even more impressed by her character and her story. Five years ago Laura enrolled her oldest daughter (who is now 7!) in a 3-day a week pre-school program. Initially, Laura was excited to pack healthy lunches for her filled with a variety of fresh foods. But… after three weeks she ran out of ideas. After awhile Laura ran out of ideas and her daughter was generally unimpressed by her mama's efforts.

By probing, Laura learned that the problem was “soggy sandwich mommy”. At that moment Laura realized she needed 3 things: 1) a variety of ideas made with fresh foods, 2) learn how to pack foods well in reusable containers so they remained fresh for about 4-5 hours, and 3) she needed a plan for making the meals ahead of time and assembled quickly in the morning (at that time she also had an 18 month old son).

One of the things I admire most about Laura is that she found a solution to this problem while she was knee deep in mommy duties!

Laura became an expert through trial and error

Many moms struggle with what to provide their kids for lunch.  Laura struggled for a brief period, and then she solved the problem when many moms before her had failed. As an MBA, Laura has a bit of a perfectionist streak. So, she dove right into the world of school lunches. She began testing new recipes, thinking creatively and identified options "outside the sandwich", and developing a lunch packing techniques that could easily be duplicated by anyone. In a word, Laura's commitment to her daughter created a business.

Sharing her lunch making tips with others

Two years later when her oldest two were in school 5 days a week, she launched MOMables, the first meal planning website specifically developed for kids.  The next year she launched her personal blog where she began sharing recipes with others.

The Cookbook was born

I tracked Laura's progress with her cookbook on social media and was thrilled when it was completed.  Here is how it evolved.
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