It bothers me that the work/life balance topic seems to be stuck on the subject of moms. I’ve stayed out of the tech CEO mommy conversations, largely because I’ve been too busy being a start-up CEO and mom to three young children to have any time to join in the conversation.
I’m glad that the appointment of Marissa Mayer as the new CEO of Yahoo and the recent release of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In has sparked larger conversations about mommy execs, but I would like to extend these conversations to some of the practical things those of us working and caring for a family are doing. And I would like to hear from everyone facing this responsibility, not just the moms.
First, we need to understand the challenges.
The first step in coming up with a solution is to understand the problem. As I see it, today’s societal expectations and corporate policies do not accurately reflect the diversity of our family structures, nor the range of challenges our families can face. Yes, families with married heterosexual natural birth parents able to make a choice on the mother’s contribution to the family income represent an important segment of US households, but there are many, many other important segments. Families today come in many different shapes and sizes; single parent families, adoptive or foster parents, gay or lesbian parents, multi-generational families, families with a member with a disability, families in the military, families living close to or below the poverty line.
And the challenges they face are equally diverse; poor school choices, school safety, cyber bullying, home schooling, in-home hospice, food allergies, chronic health issues, debilitating injuries, learning disabilities, gifted children and many, many more. Not to mention the daily routine of being involved and engaged in the lives of those physically, financially and emotionally dependent on you.
This is about more than just who buys the bacon and who gets home first to throw it in the pan. It is about working together as a community to recognize all of the challenges and sharing our own experiences so that together we can come up with some better solutions.
Next, we need to share our individual solutions.
We at BatchBlue will be sharing our own varied stories on the challenges we face juggling work and family life. By sharing our experiences and encouraging others to share theirs, we hope others will benefit from the decisions we have made and lessons we have learned. We invite you to share your own stories on the challenges your family has faced and how you have dealt with them.
We’d love to hear from you:
- What does family care mean to you – from kids to pets to elderly neighbors to grandparents. Who is your family and how are you handling the financial and emotional responsibilities?
- How do you handle the daily routine in your household?
- How do you handle the inevitable disruptions to the daily routine?
- What is your biggest challenge in juggling the professional and personal responsibilities?
Finally, let’s change the world, one family at a time.
We will collect the stories and share what we are learning so that we can all benefit from the experiences of each other.
We invite you to share your story on your own blog or Facebook page, add it as a comment below, or send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with permission to publish it on our blog. To help us keep track, please include a short description of the effort, “I am joining the Batchbook team in opening up conversations about the challenges of raising a family in today’s workplace. Here is my story.”
Here are our stories: