Category Archives: Family Work

Happy Father’s Day to All the Men Remodeling Fatherhood!

Sharing one of my favorite clips from The Evolution of Dad for Father’s Day, an interview with Dr. Michael Kimmel, one of the nation’s leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity.

“This generation, we’re fighting for the right of men to be equal parents and still feel like real men. Our children are going to take that for granted.”

Here’s to all the fathers I know and love who are making that prediction truer every day!

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Parenting, Remodeling Motherhood

Mothers & Fathers: Share Family Responsibility Not Just “Tasks”

“Tell people what to do and they’ll take responsibility for the task. Tell them Why they’re doing it and they’ll take responsibility for the solution.”

~ Simon Sinek

This quote I got via email from Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, is a great reminder for mothers and fathers of how important it is to share the responsibility for family work, not simply have mother delegate tasks to father. Who does the laundry and who makes pediatrician appointments may seem petty on the surface, but there is so much more at stake – our relationships with each other and with our children. Those relationships are the “why.”

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Marriage, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips

Updated: Interview with This Little Parent Stayed Home

Tune in for my interview with Ally Loprete, radio host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, this Friday, April 29.

About This Little Parent Stayed Home:

Being able to afford the luxury of keeping one parent home has become one of the most widely common goals in families across America today, yet most families don’t believe its possible to survive on only one income. This Little Parent… speaks to BOTH parents in a way that encourages coming together as a family unit and using ones own resources to be able to adequately provide for the children in the best way possible for the family. Join host, Ally Loprete as she leads us in a new revolution by helping us to realize the reality of our potential, and the potential for a better reality!

This Little Parent… takes a fresh and straight forward approach to helping moms and dads to realize that there is a better and more economical way. Through Ally’s effervescent energy, families across the country are being offered a solution to regain control of all that feels misplaced in the last few decades. This Little Parent… is a concept that will allow you to adequately embrace your family values and your entrepreneurial spirit by joining the thousands of other parents who are contributing to a vibrant change! No other program dares to be as brutally honest about what to expect, yet inspires us to take the boldest risks of our lives. This is a truly realistic, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is method that will have you laughing and crying, surviving while struggling, and hammering away at the hardships as you travel through one of the greatest journeys of your life. Get empowered by joining thousands of other parents who have also decided to take a leap of faith into a double career with longer hours and half the pay simply because of the love they have for their children. Each week This Little Parent… invites parent entrepreneurs across the country to share their stories of struggle and success.  Callers with specific questions will be coached on the air.

For more information and to tune in this Friday, visit the show’s website by clicking HERE.

UPDATE: Missed the interview? You can now download and listen to the interview by visiting clicking HERE.

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Parenting, Radio

A Woman’s Work on Pay Equity is Never Done

Photo by Ian Britton at

A divorced janitor, a 27-year employee and the mother of a seventeen-year old son with the mental capacity of an 18-month old, fails to report for mandatory overtime one Saturday when her son’s caregiver could not work because of a sick child. She calls twice and leaves a message for her manager. She gets fired.

As I read about this woman in Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter by Joan Williams, I wondered what this mother’s take would be on Jonah Goldberg’s recent proclamation in the Los Angeles Times that “Feminism as a ‘movement’ in America is largely played out. The work here is mostly done.” In a piece titled, “Taking feminism overseas” Goldberg goes on to declare that “Even the fight for “pay equity” is an argument about statistics, lagging cultural indicators and the actual choices liberated women make — to take time away from paid jobs to raise their kids (never-married women without kids earn more than men) or to work in occupations like the nonprofit sector that pay less.”

The only reason Goldberg and others can make this “choices” claim with a straight face is because the bias against women is no longer as overt as it once was– no more separate salary schedules for men and women. Much of the bias has gone underground, way underground, into our subconscious and into the unquestioned structure of our workplaces around the way men have typically worked in the past. Jobs are designed for a man who has a wife to care for family; 50-hour workweeks, mandatory overtime, inflexible schedules that can change at the last minute, and little or no sick time.

When mothers, who do still shoulder most of the responsibility for family care, find it impossible to fit this mold the resulting stories don’t sound much like “choices liberated women make.” They sound like discrimination. In fact, Williams and her colleagues at the WorkLife Law Center have documented a 400% increase in lawsuits involving family responsibilities discrimination “showing how mothers and other caregivers are pushed out of jobs they want – and need.” Continue reading


Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Career-Life Fit, Family Work, Gender Issues, Money, Motherhood, News & Commentary, Remodeling Motherhood, stereotypes, Workplace and Employment

Stay-At-Home Moms SHOULD Be Mad at the Fed

Today a guest post from my good friend and a tireless advocate for women, Debra Levy. Here she explains why a largely unnoticed new regulation reinforces the old “he who earns it owns it” assumption rather than the remodeled “family income and wealth are the result of joint work—both family work and employment—so they are owned jointly by both spouses” – with chilling effect on mothers’ financial well-being.



MSNBC was onto something the other day in their piece Why Stay-At-Home Moms are Mad at the Fed.

Our regulators seem unaware of how families divide tasks or how women work, or even what they earn compared to men, and a new move by them may penalize women and erode progress on women’s access to personal credit.


It happens all the time. You go to a store whose merchandise you value, like and trust to make a family purchase, nothing for yourself. Jeans for your son. Underwear for your daughter, or loads of flooring for a home construction project at your area large box hardware store. You wait in line at the register and tick off the errands still on your list, that work email you have to fire off as soon as you leave the store.

You whip out your wallet to pay for your purchases and then the inevitable questions: debit or credit? Then, would you like to sign up for our [insert brand name] credit card and save 25% on today’s purchases?

I’ve done this once or twice. Store affinity cards can yield fabulous yearly discounts, exclusive to its members-debtors. Such cards are “marketing in a heart beat” for retailers, and sometimes they make our spending easier and more affordable.

Raise your hands, women and men of America, if you ever have opened a credit card account at a  point of sale transaction? Now, think back. When you did this, did you list “household income,” or “personal” or “independent income?” Continue reading

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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Economy, Family Work, Guest Posts, Money, Motherhood, News & Commentary

Guess Who Said This?

So can you guess who said this?

“The fault line between work and family [is] precisely where sex-based generalization has been and remains the strongest. . . . Stereotypes about women’s domestic responsibilities are reinforced by parallel stereotypes, presuming a lack of domestic responsibilities for men. These mutually reinforcing stereotypes create a self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination.”

Democratic politician? Liberal think tank?


It was former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist, in a 2003 opinion.

Stereotypes about mothers and fathers impact families of all political stripes. What have you done lately to bust your own stereotypes?

P.S. Check out this quiz for some examples of the types of parallel stereotypes about mothers and fathers that Rehnquist had in mind.

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips, stereotypes, Uncategorized

How to Explain Gap in Resume: Caring for Family or…Coma?

When I was pregnant, a friend who didn’t have kids yet dropped of a stack of novels, “I thought you might like to read these once the baby comes and you stop going to work.” Made sense to me in the moment; I would have tons of time on my hands right? Ha! The stack say on our table for months after our daughter arrived and a year later I managed to find the time to return them to my friend, unopened and unread. Where did all that time go I thought I would have?

That time was spent working. I don’t mean employment. I mean the very real work of caring for family that is so often invisible yet takes time, energy and skill of the mothers and fathers who do it every day. I noticed more and more that there seemed to be an hidden, subconscious assumption that “Caring for family isn’t really work, it’s just what mothers do.” One woman went to a workplace meeting a few weeks before her maternity leave ended and a male colleague asked, “So when are you coming back from your baby vacation.”

And then the kicker, Continue reading


Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Remodeling Motherhood

Squeezed for Time? Manage Energy Instead

Photo by Leo Reynolds

Who is most squeezed for time these days? I can make a pretty good argument that today’s mothers and fathers are more squeezed than just about anyone else. In fact my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today has a whole chapter on time titled Pits and Privates: Or Why Am I Obsessed with Saving Time? You’ll have to pick up the book to get the scoop on the “pits and privates reference, but here are a few bullets on families and time.

  • Families with two parents employed today are working 500 more hours per year than families with two parents employed put in in the late 1970’s.
  • Employed mothers today spend just as much time with their kids as non-employed mothers did in the late 70’s, and non-employed mothers today spend even more.
  • Fathers have doubled their childcare time and tripled their housework time since the late 70’s.

In this scenario, managing minutes becomes futile. That’s why I was so glad to see this post today on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog,  Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity from Tony Schwartz, author and leader of The Energy Project. I know it’s designed for a business audience, yet I get so much more value from Tony’s advice for managing family life than from any of my women’s magazines. My magazines try to help me manage TIME – tips for exercising in ten minutes, dinners in twenty, cleaning the bathroom while I use it. Tony’s advice contains research backed strategies for managing ENERGY. I quote his book The Power of Full Engagement in my chapter on time  and this post is such a great summary of the key strategies.

I find I can apply these strategies to both my home life and my employed life. I chunk my paid work into 90 minute blocks (sprinter) and am so much more productive than if I try to go for longer. I chunk my time with my daughter too – trying to fully engage with her and then let us both recharge and refuel in other ways.

How about you? Do you have strategies for managing energy at home and on the job? Does your workplace support these strategies for managing energy?


Filed under Career-Life Fit, Family Work, Fatherhood, News & Commentary, Remodeling Motherhood, Time

Fave Father’s Day News and Notes

Happy Father’s Day!

My own father spent today coaching girls fastpitch softball back in Minnesota. Apparently they lost their first tournament game and then fought their way back through the loser’s bracket to win the championship today. I remember those weekends. And it reminded me of one of my favorite stories about my dad, also involving softball, one I told in this blog post a while back.

The Day I Was Miffed That No One Thought I Was a Boy

Now that the the Father’s Day itself is over, here’s some food for thought on fatherhood from articles and blog posts from others this past week.

And here are a couple from my blog archives.

Here’s to all the men out there remodeling fatherhood every day!

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, News & Commentary, Remodeling Motherhood

Lessons from a Month of Major Family Changes

For Mother’s Day on May 9, I posted to my blog “My Mother’s Day Resolutions” which centered around dealing with the major changes looming in my life. Five weeks later, I can safely say “I was right.” The changes add up to a transition as big and life-changing as our daughter’s birth 9 years ago.

At the end of April, my father-in-law experienced complications during a brain biopsy. The biopsy was benign, but unexpected complications have had the same impact on him as if he’d had a significant stroke. He was in the hospital for seven weeks, and just this past week moved to inpatient rehabilitation. He had just retired a month earlier from a career of service to children and our daughter – the light of his life – spoke at his retirement party. We are all reeling and trying to adapt to the reality that our lives for the foreseeable future will center around helping him recover, relearn and get the absolute best care he needs to do so.

In the middle of this period, my husband started a new job (that he loves) in Santa Monica. He leaves every morning at 5:45 a.m. The only sign we have of his existence in the morning is the lunch he packs for Kate and leaves on the kitchen counter. If we’re lucky we see him again by 7:00 or 8:00 at night. After over five years of being available all the time to share family work, all of a sudden he’s almost completely unavailable. So I took two weeks of sick leave from my job to be at the hospital and help his mother navigate the system and advocate for my father-in-law.

Day to day, we all just put one foot in front of the other, but when I take a moment to consider it all, it’s a lot. Too much for me to really have a coherent way to write about it yet. But I have relied on several of my lessons learned in remodeling motherhood and a lifetime of helping others deal with and thrive in times of change. All I can think to do at this point is share a few of those with you.

Continue reading


Filed under Family Work, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips