Are you still struggling to manage your career, parenting responsibilities, and relationships while trying to work from home with kids? In this episode, I’m talking with Mary Beth Ferrante, founder of Work 360, a platform designed to help working parents thrive in their careers and as caregivers, in addition to helping companies create policies that attract and retain working parents. With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Mary Beth will be sharing her best advice on creating open communication at work, starting a greater conversation about parenting with your spouse and others, and setting boundaries that will help you more effectively manage everything on your plate.
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As always, we’ve rounded up our top three takeaways to summarize what we believe are the core points to remember from Mary Beth.
In the first few weeks of this crisis, we were all just holding on—doing what we could to shove work in where it would fit, trying to adjust to online learning for our kids, and neglecting basic self-care.
It’s been almost 3 months now, and we don’t know what the next 6-12 months will bring. It looks like summer camps will largely be cancelled, schools are trying to find an effective plan for next fall, and every company is simply doing its best.
We have to have more conversations with our spouses, our kids, and ultimately, our employers, about how we plan to make this all work in a healthy way.
As things start to open back up, however slowly or quickly, depending on where you live, different employees are going to have different experiences.
Some may have kids without childcare options, some may have health concerns that don’t allow them to go back to the office, and others have spouses that are essential employees, leaving them without help at home.
Make sure you’re talking to your employer monthly to let them know what your situation is at home and what your ideal work schedule looks like. Try to keep these conversations as positive and accommodating as possible, while advocating for your needs.
If you’re feeling like these conversations might put your employment at risk or include information you wouldn’t want to make public, find your allies.
As Mary Beth said, look for others in your office that are supportive of your career. Look for others who are facing similar situations to your own and ask them how they’re coping. Then, try to work together to get the support you all need. It makes it not about you, but about the situation everyone is facing.
Things have changed! And while we might all hate change because it makes things uncomfortable and uncertain, it does present us with a perfect moment to reflect. To think about what is working, what isn’t working, and what matters most to us.
I love that Mary Beth suggested going back to our household to-do lists—review who has what responsibilities and what tasks just really don’t have to be on your list any more.
Have quick family briefings about the plan for the day and who is doing what.
And on a bigger scale, start to ask yourself questions about the work you want to do and the life you want to live. Sometimes we have to be pushed into making big changes, whether that’s at work, at home, with our health, or in our relationships.
Mary Beth Ferrante is a mom of 2 and advocate for creating inclusive workplaces for parents. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360, a platform designed to retain and attract working parents by providing programming and personalized support for managers, teams, and leaders. As a former SVP in the finance industry, she always valued growing her career and like so many other career-driven mamas, she was surprised to hit the Maternal Wall. Her own experience propelled her to dive deeper into maternal bias, to influence changes to workplace culture and to advocate for a national paid leave policy. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Today, Working Mother, FairyGodBoss, ScaryMommy, and more.
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