Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Navigate / search

Five Ways to Master the Mommy Track

Years ago, I gave a keynote address for NY Mom’s World in Westchester, New York entitled “Five Ways to Master the Mommy Track” to promote my book for working mothers. I thought the pointers were worth sharing as a blog post. Here are the points, edited to be applicable to 2017:

  • Don’t overstress yourself when times are tough. Many women nationwide are afraid of losing their job or struggling to find work and concerned about their family’s financial situation. Career moms should realize that millions of others are experiencing the same feelings. The events happening today – job loss or an uncertain work status — will turn around in the future.
  • Don’t be so preoccupied with work or your career that you miss out on quality time with your kids. Ditch the smart phone for an hour or two each weekday so you can play with your kids or read to them. Limit the amount of TV they watch, and strive for quality interactions. Make the weekends extra special—take them on family outings to local parks, museums or excursions. Ask them what is going on at school, and they will tell you. Evaluate their current daycare or preschool program to make sure it’s the best fit for them.
  • To avoid burnout, women can communicate their needs to others by letting their spouse or partner and family members know what they need. This could be asking that groceries be purchased and put away, dinner be started, toys picked up, laundry folded, and so forth. Instead of reacting to unmet needs, moms can be proactive by expressing their needs from the start. When their needs are met, there is less exasperation. If other family members are local, ask them if they have time to assist, perhaps via school drop-offs or pick-ups and babysitting as needed.
  • How can mothers can take their careers to the next level–even with active home lives? Flex time is paramount so moms can be part of their kids’ activities. Women can ask their current employer for a change in their schedule–whether that be the option of telecommuting, working flexible hours, working a compressed workweek, or going part-time. They can build a solid case for changing their schedule and see if their boss will allow some flexibility. If not, then perhaps it’s time to find a job that allows flexible work options.       
  • Career moms need to share family and home obligations with their partner or spouse. Women have made great strides toward equality in the workplace, but not at home. Household chores largely fall on the mothers’ shoulders–but these tasks and parenting responsibilities should be divided equally. Women will never have time for themselves until they can achieve this balance at home. Women should schedule their free time in advance otherwise it might not happen. It requires planning and cooperation with their spouse or partner. Each person’s free time can be scheduled and agreed on–and both must commit to making it happen.

Time for New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is here, what are your resolutions?

Here are a few of mine:

  1. Obtain new clients. Every year, I assess the past year for my business—what worked and what didn’t. I value the work from repeat and long-term clients. It’s tough when a contract is not renewed, but that is the life of a consultant. It’s best to have a mix of clients, rather than rely on one or two for your income.
  2. Exercise! Last month, I cut my gym membership to the local YMCA because I just was not going. My exercise right now consists of dropping and picking up the kids from school, and running them around to different activities. That has to change.  
  3. Cut unnecessary expenses. I enjoy supporting local Moms in their business endeavors. I will buy their books at book signings and listen to their talks and discussions. I’ve purchased essential oil kits and skin regiments to help these Moms boost their businesses. I stopped using essential oil; the skin regiment might be the next one I cut. If a product is not working for you, why continue it?  
  4. Build my support network. There’s an evening event I want to attend later this month, and a neighbor is watching the kids until my husband can pick them up after work. I promised her I would return this favor. If you don’t have family in the area, you may have to ask another parent or neighbor to assist. Another mom walks one of my daughters over to CCD class every week. This saves me an amount of time that is much appreciated. When someone offers to help you, accept it! I walk a daughter’s friend over to a CCD class every week and do not expect anything in return. The saying “Give and you shall receive” is so true.    
  1. Evaluate time spent—meetings, product demos, etc. When you are a consultant, time is money. What monthly activities can you eliminate to add more time to your schedule? Are you committed to too many meet-ups? Should you scale back on the volunteer work?    

With a Barnes & Noble gift card, I recently bought “Fresh Start: The New You Begins Today” by Joel Osteen. Looking forward to some inspirational reading.    

Here’s to our success! Happy 2017!  

Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resources for Your Family in Philadelphia after a Birth Injury

As parents ourselves, we can say with confidence that there is nothing more important to us than the health of our children – a truism for all parents. Equally so, there is nothing more devastating than thinking about our children being injured. Sadly, for many parents in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, birth injuries are a serious threat to the wellbeing of their child. Often the result of medical malpractice, a birth injury can impair a child for life, leaving them with injuries ranging from nerve damage affecting motor abilities to cognitive disabilities to scarring and disfigurement. When an injury results, parents should be able to turn to other parents, legal support, medical professionals, and various organizations for support and counsel.

In Pennsylvania, there are a number of these resources, as this map of birth injury resources in Philadelphia demonstrates. This post is brought to you by the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C.

Medical Treatment for Birth Injury Victims

The most important thing after a birth injury occurs is ensuring that your child receives the medical care that they need to improve their chances of recovery moving forward. Throughout the city of Philadelphia, a parent can find a number of medical treatment centers that specialize in working with children, including children who have suffered a birth injury. Some of these include:

Shriners Hospital – 3551 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia
CHOP Newborn and Emergency Care – 1201 Newtown-Langhorne Rd., Langhorne
Pediatria Healthcare for Kids – 8101 Washington Ln., Wyncote

Behavioral and Cognitive Health Services

Children whose brains have been impacted by a birth injury may suffer from cognitive or behavioral development delays or other complications as they grow. When this is the case, seeking professional behavioral and cognitive health services can be incredibly useful. Some top recommendations include:

Children’s Behavioral Health Services – 160 Devereux Rd., Glenmoore
Autism Centers of Excellence – 499 Spring Gardens Street, Philadelphia
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pocono – 1547 Millcreek Rd., Newfoundland

Resources for Parents of Children with Special Conditions and Disabilities

If your child’s birth injury is severe, you may have questions that extend beyond seeking additional help for behavioral problems or physical therapy to restore motor abilities. If your child has any special conditions, there may be a resource for you within Philadelphia. Organizations and resources for parents of children with special conditions and disabilities that can be found in or around the city include:

● United Cerebral Palsy
● Kelley Anne Dolan Memorial Fund
● Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
● The PEAL Center
● Sunshine Foundation National Headquarters
● HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy

The above list is not complete; refer to the link above for a full map of resources.

Getting Legal Help after a Birth Injury

If your child is the victim of a birth injury, another thing to think about is your right to seek legal counsel, to potentially pursue a claim against the at-fault doctor. At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., experienced Philadelphia birth injury attorneys know what it takes to recover the compensation that your family deserves. To learn more, contact today for your free case consultation by visiting their website here: https://cprlaw.com/pa/philadelphia/birth-injury-attorney/.

injury

A recap of A Child Grows’ First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo

Last weekend, we attended A Child Grows’ First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo in Center City. I was excited about this as I was a media sponsor; A Child Grows has run a successful Brooklyn Expo since 2012.

I ran a Family Pass giveaway on this blog, and my friend won the pass. She brought her daughter to the expo, and met me so our kids could play together.

Primp & Play and Music Monkey Jungle were co-sponsors of The Playroom. Primp & Play offered kid manicures and hands-on crafts. My girls were happy to make their own lip balm there. Music Monkey Jungle sang and danced for the crowd of children. Who knew they could play Taylor Swift upon request?

A Child Grows lined up a stellar list of speakers. I sat in on Wills, Trusts & Guardians 101 with Steven M. Zelinger, Esq. He asked: Did you know there are five Crucial Legal Documents every parent needs? No parent wants to think about death but you have to as a responsible person. Maybe you purchased life insurance, but with that, you thought you were done. Zelinger told the audience there’s more to protecting your family.

I also listened to Your Top Three Parenting Stressors Solved with Child & Family Coaching with Brandi Davis, ACC, a certified Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? Brandi was just named Best of Philly’s Best Modern-Day Parenting Guru.

Davis told the crowd that being a parent comes with many stressors; some can be solved, and some just come with the territory. Being a parent is tough but there is no need to feel exhausted, spent and drained every day. Davis delved into how to lighten your load and squish those top three stressors:

My Discipline Isn’t Working; Now All I Do Is YELL!
I’m Getting Attitude, Fighting and Negotiations At Every Turn
I Can’t Get A Second For Myself

Jill Spivack, co-author of The Sleepeasy Solution, founder of Sleepy Planet Parenting and Star of hit Bravo show, There Goes the Motherhood, gave the keynote address.

Jill Spivack, LCSW is a licensed family therapist and pediatric sleep consultant who earned her master’s degree at the University of Southern California and completed a post-graduate fellowship as a psychotherapist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

I am past the baby and toddler sleep challenges, so I did not stay too long at this panel. I did not attend the afternoon panels, which were geared toward mothers of babies. Instead, I walked the expo floor and spoke to the media sponsors. We got a chance to get our hair curled by Concihairge and then take photos in front of a gorgeous floral design by Nicol Floral Designs.

From the expo, I gleaned two interview ideas and subjects I will cover for an education site. I am always looking for new interview ideas, and this was the perfect place to find them.

A Child Grows offered a wealth of insight and resources for parents, especially for mothers with babies or toddlers. I’ll be back next year for sure, and will bring the kids along so they can have fun too.

Summer camp trips with your kids

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of accompanying my kids on their camp trip to Clementon Park. Last year, I went on this excursion with them so I knew what to expect. With other city camps there, it would be packed. There would be long lines.

I know some parents keep their children home from these crowded events. I was game for another trek over to Clementon.

In my opinion, here are some benefits of taking time away from work and going on summer camp trips with your children:

• They’re only young once. I hear this again and again from other parents: “It goes by in the blink of an eye.” Nothing gives me greater pleasure than running around an amusement park with my kids. When they are older, I won’t have this opportunity so I can look back on these happy memories of their youth.

• You develop friendships with other parents. I have made friends with some other Moms by taking my girls on trips and to events. I like to get the girls together with their friends – and look forward to catching up with my Mom friends.

• This is their time to have fun and relax before the school year starts. When my kids start school again, they will have nightly homework, tests and some afterschool activities. There is a lot of pressure on kids these days. The summer is a chance for them to stay up later, spend more time outside at the pool or beach, for example, and just be silly kids.

As the summer winds down to a close, enjoy the last weeks with your spouse and/or partner and children before school is in full swing again.

Encouraging Mom Friends

Sometimes an encouraging text or note can make someone else’s day.

Two weeks ago, a friend sent me a “You are doing a great job…” text and it brightened my day. It was especially nice to get that note over a weekend swamped with kid activities.

For many families, the weekends become a whirlwind of activities for their children: lessons, birthday parties, carnivals, festivals, etc. If you are a working parent, free time for yourself may be scarce or nonexistent. You may focus on your children’s interests and neglect your own hobbies or needs.

When was the last time you send a mom friend an uplifting note? It only takes a few minutes to send a text or email, and your pal will surely appreciate it.

Next time you find yourself spinning your wheels or tearing your hair out, take a moment to send a Mom friend complimenting her non-stop energy, well-mannered kids, or another aspect you’ve noticed about her.

Motherhood is a demanding job, regardless of if you are working full time, part time or stay-at-home.

Moms, support your fellow mom friends! Remember there are others out there who are facing the same challenges you are.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Class Trips and School Involvement

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my six-year-old on her class trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. I was excited to go – not to see the animals – but to spend time with her before her Kindergarten year comes to a close.

It’s important to be an involved parent as your child progresses through the elementary school years. I want to be there for my kids when they experience life’s ups and downs, wins and defeats.

As we walked through the zoo yesterday, I took pictures of my daughter and her friends and few shots of the animals.

If you can take time off from work, go on the class trips. You will get a chance to get to know the other parents better, and see your child interacting with his or her classmates. Capture the moments on camera – when your child is older, he or she can look back through the photos and remember their experience at the time.

Are you part of your child’s school advisory committee or board? Support and involvement with the school is important, but the timing should be right.

Evaluate what you can take on by asking yourself some questions:

  • Can I allot the amount of time needed for this volunteer role? If you have kids in difference schools, it might make more sense to wait until the kids are at the same grade school and there is less shuttling around.
  • Will my job allow me flexibility to take on this role? If you are under pressure to find a job or new clients, you may want to hold off on a volunteer role and wait until your work situation is more secure.
  • What is your spouse or partner’s schedule like? If he or she is working late every night or travels long distance frequently, now may not be a good time to take on a new volunteer role.
  • Do you have family in the area who can babysit or an adequate support system? If you have immediate family in the area who can help with drop-offs, pick-ups or after school care, count your blessings.

If you find yourself taking on too many school responsibilities, you will end up feeling exhausted and stressed. It’s better to hold off on volunteering your time than to join a board or committee and then have to back out from lack of time or stress.

Enjoy class trips with your child or children – time is fleeting and you’ll want your kids to remember you as being involved.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moms, Appreciate the Wins

As a work at home Mom (WAHM), it’s the little successes that get me excited. As a sole proprietor of a PR business, I work for authors and small businesses, developing press material and obtaining media exposure for them. I’m part of the ranks of millions of other Moms nationwide seeking to grow a business, maintain work/life balance and also be “on-call” when the kids have snow days, days off, etc.

This past week a high-profile business approved a press release I wrote, a newspaper ran coverage of a client’s event and I was invited to do a radio interview on “Real Life with Jennifer Till”. Those are some items I am thankful for.

As I write this, my kids are off for President’s Day, the fifth day in a row since there were two snow days last week. It’s a pleasure to spend extra time with them when they have off from school, but this is not a job a client is paying me to do. Moms, wouldn’t it be great to be paid to watch your kids on snow days or to do the school drop-offs and pick-ups?

Moms (and some dads, too) do double duty as drivers, cooks, psychologists and more, clocking a 94-hour work week on average, according to Salary.com.

Based on the ten most laborious tasks noted by more than 6,000 mothers, Salary.com estimated it would cost $113,586 a year to replace them. That’s a meager $624 (0.5 percent) raise since the same study in 2012.

Kudos to my parent friends who juggle a career and kids successfully and keep both running smoothly. A Dad colleague of mine sent me a referral recently – a recent text from him was something like, “Can’t talk now. Have to pick kids up, help with homework, drive to gymnastics..” I had to laugh because that is my life.

Work from home Moms should relish small victories – hopefully, this will propel them toward greater wins. There are highs and lows to being a consultant or sole proprietor, but the flexibility is key if your spouse is working long hours or has a long commute.

Look on the bright side. Every rejection of a proposal will get you one step closer to a “Yes”. Just sending out proposals is a good sign – businesses are interested in your services. Try not to just think about the destination, but enjoy each step of the journey.

What are your victories this past week?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Helping Those in Transition

The target market for my book Mastering the Mommy Track is working mothers with young kids, and those who are unemployed or underemployed. The national unemployment rate rose slightly in January, from 7.8 to 7.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The unemployment rate has been in that range since September 2012.

Unemployed parents face great stress because of the need to provide for their kids. If you know a Mom (or Dad) who is in a transitional stage, here are some ways you can reach out to help them:

  1. Lend an ear. Invite your friend out for a coffee, a chance to hear what they’re dealing with. They might need a shoulder to cry on or would welcome time away from the computer searching for job leads or new clients.
  2. Recommend local resources. If you know of local services they would benefit from, speak up. If their unemployment is a long length of time, they may have to find a lower cost family health insurance plan, assistance services or even go on food stamps.
  3. Offer a playdate. If your child is the same age as your friend’s, offer to watch him or her for an afternoon so your friend can have some much-needed free time to decompress.
  4. Babysit for an evening. Offer to babysit your friend’s kid(s) so she can go out on a date with her spouse. They don’t have disposable income, so a night out would be a treat for them.
  5. Cook some meals. Drop off some meals for your friend so she does not have to cook for a few nights. This will alleviate her stress level just a bit. She will appreciate it (Who can refuse a hot dinner at one’s doorstep?).

Philadelphia’s Career Wardrobe is one of 74 groups nationwide competing for $250,000 and recognition on The Huffington Post through the JobRaising Challenge. The competition runs from January 21 through March 1, and winners will be determined by how much money and awareness they can raise in that amount of time.

If Career Wardrobe wins The Job Raising Challenge, they pledge to replicate their innovative model of social enterprise and social change by expanding their services into a new community. A few years ago, I donated suits to this charity and realize the great need for their services. Philly had a staggering unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in December 2012.

Extended unemployment can wreak havoc on a family—unfortunately, some couples don’t survive the bumps when faced with drastic cuts. Financial worries are a main reason couples split up.

Reach out to those locally who need your help—consider these ways to assist your neighbor or friend in transition.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A Small Gesture of Kindness

Yesterday, outside of Whole Foods a man was selling a newspaper to help the homeless. I gave him the suggested donation of a dollar and got the newspaper One Step Away, a local paper produced by the homeless for the community. One of the articles was on a film company offering second chances to those in recovery from homelessness. This paper is a fantastic resource more people should support.

I have seen one homeless woman at my local church for more than a year now. Every Saturday I take the girls to my local Catholic church; it has been part of our routine since they were babies. I often spot this homeless woman in a back pew. It breaks my heart whenever I see her.

Yesterday, I walked past her to get some bulletins for the kids to draw on–I gave her a five-dollar bill and an unopened water bottle. She tried to push the money away but I left it next to her.

As I sat through the service, I glanced back once or twice to see her. She had her head down and coughed off and on. I remember the last time I spotted her—it was a cold day and I was pushing Kaitlyn in the stroller. She was walking north on Broad Street with a chair in tow.

So at church yesterday, I passed by the woman again to take the girls to the bathroom. I handed her two granola bars I had packed for the girls. This time, she did not push my hand away and gave me the biggest smile, a grateful smile.

The weekly mass is part of her routine, as it is mine. We have spoken briefly in the past. I say to her, “You take care of yourself.” She has said to me, “Don’t give up.” When I do not see her for a month or two, I have wondered how she was doing. Was she safe? Was she cold or hungry? Was she mentally ill?

As I drove home last night with the girls, I spotted her eating the granola bar, waiting for the light to turn green to cross the street. I do not know where she was headed, but I hoped she would be safe and warm.

Next week, when I see her in church I will bring more granola bars and water. Sometimes even a small kind gesture can make a difference in someone’s life.