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My complaints about Mothering's neglect of working moms - an appeal

post #1 of 172
Thread Starter 
How can we help moms who work outside the home?
I absolutely adore Mothering but I must say that there really is little information on how we can mobilize to make every workplace mother and breastfeeding friendly.
I feel like I am so lucky to work in a very senior position in a career with a supportive team. People are very enlightened about bf'ing (and it is a mostly male environment) and don't even blink when I am gone to pump or store my milk in our communal fridge. In fact, I feel like my career has advanced since I've come back to work half-time - all my administrative duties have been delegated and now I can concentrate on the more business-getting aspect of my career.
So...how can we make the workplace better for moms? And...is it too radical to say that moms even help the cause of bf'ing, flextime, generous healthcare, etc. by STAYING in the job market?
Just some thoughts that I don't see reflected in Mothering or in the forums.
post #2 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610 View Post
How can we help moms who work outside the home?

So...how can we make the workplace better for moms? And...is it too radical to say that moms even help the cause of bf'ing, flextime, generous healthcare, etc. by STAYING in the job market?
Just some thoughts that I don't see reflected in Mothering or in the forums.


Great post! I, too, work part-time and have been on both sides of the fence in the mothering and the Mothering world. I feel that I identify more with the WOH posts than any others so I check in here first and I have to agree with what you are saying. I choose to stay in the workforce to make things better for the women who follow in my footsteps. I know that there are places where SAHMing isn't valued, but I have to admit to feeling that WOHing isn't valued as much as I wish it was and I think the forums, unfortunately, reflect that.

What do I think will make a difference for working moms? More female business owners, more female legislators and more male executives who have wives that WOH. I say the latter because I think that it would give those who make coporate policies a greater appreciation for the unique challenges of the working mom/the two income family - perhaps they would make more family friendly policies if they could actually envision them affecting their own families?
post #3 of 172
i think i love you. your so right.
post #4 of 172
Thread Starter 
Thanks...I feel like the work world has become so hostile to moms that many don't want to stay in it because it doesn't make sense to go back to work for little pay and no benefits. Staying at home is glorified in our media - both by the right and left wing!
And, you see women's frustration at all levels of employment - from entry level to senior partner. However, the more seniority you have in a position, the more power you have to make things right in your situation...like I did and am doing.
I am desperate for Mothering to have more articles on how we can mobilize to make the workplace more mother (and father)-friendly in a truly meaningful way. Maybe legislation is the answer on a macro level, but also perhaps being more open about childbirth / breastfeeding / childcare, etc? And, realistically, FMLA isn't spectacular by any stretch.
Seniority on the job before having kids helps too if you want to stay in it (I am sure people will get angry at that but I think it is true). But it certainly is no guarantee.
post #5 of 172
I would also like to see more support and information for moms that work outside the home. I almost feel guilty sometimes because I work. I consider myself to have an attachment parenting style but I feel like I can't really say that because I have to work and leave my boys at daycare and I can't do cloth diapers because they won't do it at daycare...I feel like I have to rationalize my choices to remain at work.

I can say that I am bringing awareness to my office because I pump at work and I am not apologetic about it. A lot of co workers assumed I would be FF now that I'm back to work. I make sure that when the topic comes up I stand up for BF and my views even though its not the common office view.

I am early in my career, I know that before I am ready to retire (in another 27 years, yikes!!!) I will be in a management position. I hope that as I move up the ranks I can continue to raise the awareness of BF and its benefits in my office (oh yeah, and i work for the fed. gov. so maybe I will make a difference!)
post #6 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610 View Post
Just some thoughts that I don't see reflected in Mothering or in the forums.
Amen.

great post
post #7 of 172
Thread Starter 
You sound like an awesome mom. I think attachment parenting is great (I make my most valiant attempts and I actually think my attempts are working), but sometimes it makes one feel guilty. Don't feel guilty. You are helping to secure their (and your) financial future by working and their health by pumping and breastfeeding. Keep on working and pumping! I love how you aren't shy about it. My dd is 8 months old and I've been pumping for 5 months at work, and I want to keep going for at least another year. As far as cloth diapering goes, here in Chicago there is a diaper service that picks up the dirties once a week and leaves me with a fresh bag of clean diapers. It's about the same cost as disposables and we never run out. If it weren't for that....I'd be up to my elbows in the toilet. But why do that when I could spend my time playing with dd or nursing her? Personally, I think cloth diapering is good for the environment (and it is certainly a noble pursuit) but you have to make choices that will enable you to be the best mom you can be. I do like that it cuts down on our garbage. But, after 8 months of cd'ing, I don't think the babies really care that much! And...I think cd'ing is such a small part of attachment parenting.
post #8 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610 View Post
Don't feel guilty.
I think that moms need to hear this more often. Whether you work in home or out, part time or full time...you do feel guilty that you aren't doing enough.

"don't feel guilty" should be a mantra.
post #9 of 172
I really would love to see decent, guaranteed, paid maternity leave for ALL mothers. A maternity leave that is long enough to actually let breastfeeding get well established and get your supply set before women have to handle pumping at work. I think that would go a LONG way toward making the workplace breastfeeding friendly... but to do that, you've got to have it be guaranteed no matter how long you've been in the position, how many hours you work or how many employees your company has, and it HAS to be paid or women who are primary wage earners or can't get along without their income won't be able to take advantage of it.

As far as ways to orginize, i'd really like to see Mothering.com involved with orginizations like Mom's Rising and other groups like that.
post #10 of 172
i totally agree, and then some.

add on top of the regular mom stuff... we're dealing with food allergies - dairy and wheat - and recovering from nutritional deficiencies. when not at work, i spend most of my time in the kitchen, or nursing (will it never end?), or doing laundry (we're potty training so it's even worse than when we were part-time CD'ing)... i am anxious to get a little more mommy-alone time into our routine but i have no idea how to do that.

a scientist colleague managed to squeeze out a full year of maternity leave (most of it unpaid leave but still with some benefits) and then returned to work only part-time for another 9 months or so. her little guy is 1.5 months away from his 2nd birthday and she is only just now back to work full-time. it is unfortunate that this had to be cobbled together with various types of unpaid leaves so that she could maintain benefits. this sort of phasing-back-in should be the de facto standard for WOHM/WOHDs.
post #11 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610 View Post
I feel like I am so lucky to work in a very senior position in a career with a supportive team. People are very enlightened about bf'ing (and it is a mostly male environment) and don't even blink when I am gone to pump or store my milk in our communal fridge. In fact, I feel like my career has advanced since I've come back to work half-time - all my administrative duties have been delegated and now I can concentrate on the more business-getting aspect of my career.
excellent post! I've had a similar reaction from management to me cutting down to PT. My company's also very family oriented - the employees are treated like family and kids are welcome in the office, etc. Our executives have taken weeks of paternity leave. I always stored breast-milk in shared fridge and even got kudos for days when there were multiple bottles in there :
In the end, I think it has a lot to do with economics, though. Keeping me at PT and delegating lower-level tasks to people making less money gives them a better return on their money. And I don't get so fed up with woh'ing FT that I just up and quit. (I can't really do that right now, but it's nice that they don't know that ) It's a win-win scenario, ime.

I think that's going to be the key to change in the future - more documented studies on the benefits of happy, loyal employees. I don't have any stats, but I get the impression that our society is starting to wake up to the fact that we can't have everyone working themselves to the bone, leaving no time for kids or families or themselves, for that matter. As a society, our health is declining, stress-related issues and depression seem to be increasing. I wonder how long it will be before someone starts talking about the elephant in the room that is our insane rat-race culture?
post #12 of 172
the points all of you have made are near and dear to my heart. a great book on these subjects is peskowitz's truth behind the mommy wars.
post #13 of 172
me too! me too!

Quote:
And...is it too radical to say that moms even help the cause of bf'ing, flextime, generous healthcare, etc. by STAYING in the job market?
I TOTALLY agree!
--LEE
post #14 of 172
I'm kind of new to the mothering.com scene, but I have felt similar working mom frustrations with LLL.

For me, breastfeeding and attachment parenting were essential when I worked full-time with DS#1. Nursing allowed us to instantly reconnect and cosleeping gave us the touch-time we really needed. I don't know how I could have mothered him effectively without those practices.
post #15 of 172
I just had a job interview with a bank for an accounting position. The president of the bank came out point blank and said that there were 2 (out of 4) pregnant women in the accounting dept (and one with twins), so they had decided to hire 2 new people for 1 newly created position. The president came out and said to me, who knows what thier priorities will be. I thought that was kinda not cool, but at least I got the job, but I did NOT mention I just had a baby 6 months ago. I had given that info to a prior interview that I thought for sure I got the job, but I think that was a detriment, since there were times I would have to stay late or work on a weekend day. I am hoping they are more family friendly than that first impression. The last bank I worked for fired me 1 week before I gave birth, but they were very family friendly. 2 of the Ass. VP's had babies and "worked" from home on fridays. I put that in quotes, b/c I doubt they really worked much. Basically just on call incase someone needed them. Marketing director and the IT director. Also there were other women who pumped at work too. I definitely feel it is easier for higher level women to work PT.
post #16 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRJ View Post
For me, breastfeeding and attachment parenting were essential when I worked full-time with DS#1. Nursing allowed us to instantly reconnect and cosleeping gave us the touch-time we really needed. I don't know how I could have mothered him effectively without those practices.
This was very true for me, too.
post #17 of 172
I agree w/the PPs that it is in the company's best interest to be family friendly. I jobshare w/another Mom and we both LOVE it!!! We're more productive and enthusiastic and that *does* have a dollar value.
post #18 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmamma View Post
I would also like to see more support and information for moms that work outside the home. I almost feel guilty sometimes because I work. I consider myself to have an attachment parenting style but I feel like I can't really say that because I have to work and leave my boys at daycare and I can't do cloth diapers because they won't do it at daycare...I feel like I have to rationalize my choices to remain at work.

I can say that I am bringing awareness to my office because I pump at work and I am not apologetic about it. A lot of co workers assumed I would be FF now that I'm back to work. I make sure that when the topic comes up I stand up for BF and my views even though its not the common office view.

I am early in my career, I know that before I am ready to retire (in another 27 years, yikes!!!) I will be in a management position. I hope that as I move up the ranks I can continue to raise the awareness of BF and its benefits in my office (oh yeah, and i work for the fed. gov. so maybe I will make a difference!)

I second this! And pretty much everything else posted.
post #19 of 172

Working and Pumping

I think the first and most important thing is to tell women how important it is to nurse on demand --every 2 or 3 hours-- and start pumping in the early weeks to bring in a strong supply. Obviously pumping is necessary to begin a freezer stash but it also creates an artificially high demand which is important since a pump is not as effective at removing milk as a baby is. The extra stimulation theoretically creates a stronger baseline supply, making it easier to pump at work. I try to spread this message on the BF'ing boards but my guess is that by the time someone is posting with a supply issue their set point or base line supply has already been established.

From what I've read the first 4 weeks or so are key for building a strong base line supply. That doesn't mean that you can't build on it but it takes a lot more effort and probably some milk boosting herbs like Fenugreek.

~Cath
post #20 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by woobysma View Post
I think that's going to be the key to change in the future - more documented studies on the benefits of happy, loyal employees. I don't have any stats, but I get the impression that our society is starting to wake up to the fact that we can't have everyone working themselves to the bone, leaving no time for kids or families or themselves, for that matter. As a society, our health is declining, stress-related issues and depression seem to be increasing. I wonder how long it will be before someone starts talking about the elephant in the room that is our insane rat-race culture?
:
i'm very lucky in that i work for a woman owned small business. the owner has year old twins and she's extremely mindful of her own need for time just with her family, time just for work and time when she can integrate both. there's no martyr to the business mentality going on. (nor resentment at not being as involved in the business because of her children.)
she also has been supportive of me having a child from day 1. there was never a question that i too could bring my child to work if i wanted. she values my contribution and wants it to continue. it's never been an either/ or proposition. this is key.
i have worked for plenty of women who i knew would NEVER be supportive of other woman having families because it would "distract" from the needs of their business. it was expected that as a woman you make "choices". maybe it's because they came of age when feminism was partly defined by women simply having the freedom to choose not to have a family?
but there is a whole new generation of women (and men) who grew up never questioning a woman's place in society/work and because of that we do see more creativity in the workplace as far as women and childcare is concerned.
i think what is missing in our society right now is a family/work integrated culture. it's always that either/or proposition. a "work/ life balance". it's not realistic. it's like women (and families) have to choose and there is never a "both". and there's definitely that guilt mongering thing going on.
what needs to change in a big way is the mindset that the two are opposed. that they need to be balanced. the more next generation women ( and men) who are creative and brave enough to implement new ways in the workplace will set the model and redefine what it now means to be a successful business.
(weird example, but it's kind of like how when Whole Foods moves into town all the other grocery stores around town get fancied up. suddenly they realize their old way of presenting their business just doesn't cut it.)
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