This week, I am finding it hard not to reflect on being a mother with Mother’s Day coming this Sunday.
I sincerely believe that all of the blessings and transformative instances I have experienced over the past seven years can be attributed to me being a mother.
The act of having to put someone or in my case – three little someones before my own needs has taught me selflessness in a way I don’t think would have been possible without becoming a mom.
When it comes to my business, I believe I owe it all to my children. If I hadn’t had my two daughters whose ever-rising daycare costs took a healthy chunk of my salary, I may not have explored my former employer’s option for teleworking – which then lead me to thinking about building my own business.
All of the hustling, juggling, and lack of boundaries between work and motherhood were a few of the reasons why I took an extremely preliminary idea of starting my own business from concept to reality in less than one year.
Now, as a work-from-home mama, my days can be pretty crazy. Running a bustling business, wrangling a 4 year old, an almost two year old, and a seven year old – while supporting each developmentally, emotionally and academically can be exhausting.
Couple that with my business which is scaling nicely and imagine the angst and euphoria of figuring out who gets to stand-in for me while I pursue business opportunities- many of which are out-of-state. Like I said, both exhilarating and exhausting.
Thankfully, each of them are growing nicely in their own ways. They have gotten use to some of how my schedule and business impacts our home dynamic.
Every once and again, one of them will say to me: “You’re the best Mommy I ever had.” I usually say “thank you” and chuckle thinking: “I am the only Mommy you have ever had”; but I digress.
That “thank you” means so much more than they know.
I want my kids to know that I am thankful to them for forcing me to be a better person. They need to know that I was probably operating at a quarter of my greatness prior to having them.
I need them to know that when they pardon me for being imperfect – I am in return learning to be kinder and more forgiving of my own shortcomings.
The ability to see something both old and new through the eyes of a child is a gift.
Life has an unfortunate way of suppressing the aspects of the human experience that are innate to us all. Creativity, fun, laughter without abandon are just a few things I have invariably lost and regained as a result of wanting to live in the moment with my children.
I don’t say all of this to suggest that you will be a selfish, boring, non-creative person for not becoming a mother. From my perspective, I see my children as my divine counsel pushing me to be a better version of me in a very imperfect and non-linear manner.
They will never truly understand how they are doing that nor will their precious little brains understand now how much it means to me.
To all of the mothers (biological and non-biological), our one day per year is coming, but be sure to take time everyday to recognize the magnitude of all that you do. Know that even when you think you are screwing up, you are just fine.
Happy Mother’s Day to you all! Be sure, to put those little people to work on Sunday and enjoy the day!
In case you missed it, I have a show on Thursdays called: Ask Czarina Live ™ .
In the episode below, I talk about being a working mom and the struggles many of us face in juggling home and professional pursuits. I hope it is helpful!
As we continue to explore all of the segments of diversity that deserve our attention, let me add another one to the ever-growing list. If you couldn’t tell by the title – the segment I am speaking about is: Moms. Some of women are fortunate enough to be employed by an employer who understands that there is much more that can be done for women returning to work than what FMLA provides. Those women are in the minority. The larger chunk of this segment is betrothed to companies who either don’t care or aren’t creative enough to create opportunities and pathways for mothers returning to work after starting their families.
Did you know?
The U.S. is one of three countries along with Oman and Papua New Guinea that does not offer paid maternity leave. This is a clear indication that we are not only lackluster in support of women before they become mothers, but that we neglect them on the other side of motherhood as well. As such, “off-ramping” or leaving career tracks for women is not just an option but a decision made under the duress of the stigma placed upon women who decide to have a family.
According to the Center For Talent Innovation’s 2005 study, 37% percent of professional women in the U.S. left their career track at some point. 66% opted for flex-time, temp and part-time work instead of completely off-ramping. According to a 2015 Huffington Post Women article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the numbers had not changed much when they revisited the 2005 study in 2010. Shocking!
Let’s be honest… let’s be real.
Women should be able to start a family whenever they choose. It isn’t a decision that requires the ever-popular buy-in of line managers and the C-Suite. That said, when a woman makes that decision- it shouldn’t be the case that she has to bid adieu to her career aspirations, upward mobility and financial security.
Unfortunately, women are hindered. There’s a stigma around pregnancy and being a parent in many companies. While I choose to focus in on women for the sake of this piece, the stigma extends to any person – who has to put familial obligations before their work at some point.
I can remember so many days working for previous employers – where my need to leave at 5pm was met with grimaces and rolling eyes. I recall many days that one of my children were sick and I had to hear the long sighs and pauses directly after letting my immediate supervisor know I would be taking the day to care for them.
From where I sat, starting a family was seen as an affront to what the company needed to accomplish. How dare you set them back like this? You want to take longer than FMLA will allow, we can’t guarantee your job because you need more time. “Good luck and best wishes” is how they say: “You were great until you decided to have this family, good luck being hired again, but we are moving on.”
Leaning-in for the win or not.
There isn’t enough leaning-in in the world that can change an archaic mindset. If companies believe a woman who has family obligations is worth less than one who can sit behind a desk for 12 hours a day and then again from home neglecting their personal wants and needs – I would say they are insane. One isn’t better than the other – it’s just different. We need to stop alienating women because they choose to have a family. More importantly, we need to welcome them back whether it is after a short or long hiatus- offering different options for either scenario.
Here are three reasons why companies need to provide a pathway for women back to work after starting a family:
1)A 2013 Pew Research Center Survey indicated that 40% of households with children under the age of 18 have mothers who are either the primary or sole providers of income for the household. By eliminating the pathway for women to return to work, you are very likely creating economic disparities for not only women, but for families on the whole. Washington Post reported last year that 47% of Americans cannot afford an unexpected $400 expense. Already strained household budgets, plus unpaid maternity leaves, coupled with women out of work due to lack of opportunity is very likely a financial burden/nightmare for many families in the U.S.
2) Can you afford to lose another segment of the workforce? KPMG published their 2016 Top Global Market Trends last month. One of the five takeaways from this report was that: “Talent shortages are still top-of-mind for many leaders and they see it as the new norm.” I’ve mentioned in other articles that I think the talent shortage is more perceived than actual. How can we claim talent shortages when we are willfully turning away women from the workforce? Realistically, no organization can afford to lose this segment; which is why it makes sense to create circumstances that favor them staying.
3) It’s the right thing to do. How much more volume do women’s issues need for the parity and double-standards to stop? Every person deserves to be able to sustain themselves and their families by way of gainful employment. Women owned-businesses are on the rise and they are likely to rival establishment businesses and their archaic thinking. The true talent shortage is when women push out the big guys and focus on all of the items that were off the table like: paid maternity leave, flex-work arrangements, backup daycare, eldercare options, paternity leave, phase-back programs etc.
I covered this topic in further detail on my show: Ask Czarina Live ™ Unbothered: Moms Returning To Work. Check out the episode below.
The holidays are upon us and as if most other times of year aren’t crazy enough- this time of the year is down right frenetic. It has been just around a month since I wrote something here. My absence wasn’t because I no longer care to write or that I am somehow lacking in ambition. Quite simply, I needed a break after an epic year of opportunity that left me exhausted. Actually, if I am honest with myself I experienced a bout of exhaustion- there I said it!
If you look around there are all sorts of cues around us urging us to keep going, work harder, and do more. What may be social cues for others is a daily log of messages in my head. It replays over and over again. There’s no question that success comes to those who work for it. Working hard and consistently is how you make your luck in life. The dilemma is: Sometimes over-achievement comes at a price and that price is very likely to be your health. All of this chatter about “hustling hard” is a myth. There is something called rest and your body needs it. There is something called “burnout” and that is also a very real thing.
The goal and sweet spot is to work smarter, not harder. That isn’t to say that when I need to get something done and it requires a late night that I won’t do it. I will do it and drink a half a pot of coffee doing it. What I am saying is we all need balance and/or a break. While it isn’t a perfect science for many of us day-to-day, it is certainly something we all should try to work towards on a regular basis.
This topic of “The Myth of Hustling” was so dear to me that I tackled it on a recent “Ask Czarina Live” episode. I urge you to watch the show below and share your stories and thoughts with me.
In just a few short days, I will be taking a more substantial break where I tune out a bit more to take in the holiday festivities and reflect on my year. It will also provide quiet, creative space for me to churn out some items that are sure to please when I return with a vengeance in 2016. This will mark another time where “The Aristocracy of HR” goes quiet for a bit. I wasn’t sure if I was fine with taking this break, but I have decided that it is fine and it is necessary. I will touch base here twice more before it goes quiet for about two weeks or so ( still deciding how much time I want to take). I will be back before you know it filling your brains with all things, tech, data, world of work, entrepreneurship and of course my newest baby “Ask Czarina Live”.
A few month’s ago, I was searching for articles on female entrepreneurship. I needed statistics and facts around this topic. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to find this Entrepreneur article called: The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America. This article not only summarized the state of entrepreneurship for females, but it highlighted a statistic- even I was not aware of. The statistic was: The number of African-American owned businesses grew 322% since 1997. So, while entrepreneurship by females in general grew 74% from 1997 to 2015, black women blew that statistic away.
Image of Biddy Mason Courtesy of Wikipedia
I believe there are many reasons for this rapid increase in female entrepreneurs and even more so for black women taking this leap.
In this episode I will share the following:
What I believe is contributing to the rise in females becoming entrepreneurs in general.
What factors may be contributing to the rise of the businesses owned by African-American Women?
What does this mean for the future of work?
Great statistics, but is there room for improvement?
If Entrepreneur can put this topic on blast, so can I. We are going to explore all sides of female entrepreneurship this week.
To get your palate wet for this week’s discussion, check out these articles for more insights:
I’m calling out all mompreneurs, womeneurs, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, boss ladies, and even aspiring female entrepreneurs to join me on Thursday at 11pm EST/10pm CST/8pm PST for “Ask Czarina Live”.
Good News! I promised you that I would be posting the replays of “Ask Czarina Live” to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel for those of you not ready to take the Periscope plunge. Fortunately, I have been enlightened that an app named Katch.me exists. Katch.me saves all of my Periscope episodes so I can share and download my episodes. If you’re on Katch, you can check out “Ask Czarina” replays there. Otherwise, I am happy to announce that my replay from last week is up on “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel.
As usual it will be fun, fresh, and insightful. I look forward to seeing you there.
Want more? Click here to watch the latest “Ask Czarina” episode. Subscribe to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel to be notified when new episodes are published.
Good Morning HR Aristocrats! Are you mourning the end of the summer like I am? We are on the heels of fall and I have lots of new content across all of my channels to share. This week, I decided to take a bit of a break here, but wanted you to know about new content I have elsewhere. If you’re looking for some good reads and wondering where the “CzarinaofHR” is- you can find me in these places:
Synopsis: The post is about knowing when it is time to delegate work or outsource some of it- so you can be a more effective entrepreneur. I regularly contribute at Womeneur. Please check them out for some great content from some of the top women professionals and entrepreneurs.
Synopsis: Did you know that women-owned business has grown 74% since 1997? Women are taking entrepreneurship by storm and I find it not only fascinating; but an enduring trend. Just Haves.com is a lifestyle blog founded by Justine Santaniello, Lifestyle and Trend Expert. Look for more from me on her blog this fall and check out her blog for more great content. Also, join Justine on Wednesday night at 8pm for her #JustHaves Twitter Chat. Great topics, Lots of fun.
Synopsis: Where there is a union, there is often a culture of mediocrity. When you have employees with a sense of entitlement and management that is too fearful to ensure that union members play by the same rules as their non-union counterparts- it can be disastrous. If you’ve worked in a union environment and want a fresh perspective- take a peek.
Synopsis: I will be featuring my business this evening on “Black Biz Scope”. What is #blackbizscope? It is a community that promotes and supports black-owned businesses. They do this by allowing black business owners to present their businesses during 5-10 minute slots on Periscope. To be introduced to some great businesses and owners, tune in every Friday from 10-11am EST and 6:00-7:45pm EST. I will be on tonight at 7:45 EST to present my business: Talent Think Innovations, LLC. If you are on Periscope, follow me at: @CzarinaofHR.
To round out my list of endeavors this week, I have a new Ask Czarina up on “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube. Have you subscribed yet? If not, subscribe now to get regular updates on future “Ask Czarina” shows. You can find my latest here.
Summer is over…practically, but there’s lots to be excited about as we slip into colder weather. Thanks for reading and supporting me. I appreciate every eye that graces this page.
Here is one of my favorite summer songs and I quote it in my latest “Ask Czarina”. Have a great weekend!