I noticed that a number of people find my blog because they are searching for information on dealing with a gap in their resume due to time out of the workforce to care for family. They land on this post, How to Explain Gap in Resume: Caring for Family or…Coma?, which tells the story of one mother who was advised that she’d be better off telling a prospective employer that she’d been “in a coma” than saying she’d been caring for family and “doing nothing.”
I knew THAT wasn’t good advice. While I give some tips in my original post, I decided it was time to go to the experts for more advice for my readers. So I reached out to my friend Carol Fishman Cohen at iRelaunch. iRelaunch offers a range of resources and services for women re-entering the workforce. All of which are informed by Carol and her co-founder Vivian’s constant interaction with employers and recruiters, plus their own experience as hiring managers and recruiters.
Carol packed our conversation with advice worth its weight in gold, for mothers and for anyone with a gap in their resume.
Kristin: Carol, multiple studies show that mothers in particular face automatic bias that has a direct impact on pay and promotions. Being a woman and having a gap in your resume often triggers that bias. So what’s the most important resume advice for someone who has a gap in her resume? Continue reading
“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.”
DID YOU EVER WISH YOU COULD REMODEL PARENTHOOD?
Are you wondering what happened to the partner you knew? The one you thought would totally share 50/50 once you had a child. And you thought having a child wouldn’t impact your happy marriage…really?
Then listen to my recent interview with Blythe Lipman, host of “Baby and Toddler Instructions.”
Tune in as I share my easy steps to remodel and juggle all the roles of parenthood without resentment but pure joy!
In “Creating a Family Vision” I described how my husband, daughter and I spent part of our vacation in January creating vision board collages. We each thought about the day of our daughter’s high school graduation and then collected magazine images that reflected our feelings and dreams for our family. As promised, here’s what we did next.
After we’d shared our vision board collages, we ate dinner and then returned to the magazine-covered floor to continue creating a family vision.
We reviewed the list of words we’d written down as each of us talked about our vision board collages. Bold, over the top, party, humor, joy, travel, contentment…
“Our next step,” I said, “is to brainstorm how we would finish these three sentences.”
- We are…
- We believe…
- We want…
“We are…” is what makes our family unique.
“We believe…” is what we believe in and value.
“We want…” is what we want for our family over the next 8 years.
“So let’s start with ‘We are…’ What makes us unique?” I asked.
“We do vision boards,” my husband deadpanned. Continue reading
As a Happy New Year gift, I wanted to share 5 of my favorite things I discovered in 2010 – along with one RE-discovery. Hope you’ll share yours too!
When a friend or family member has a serious medical crisis, CaringBridge makes it easy to keep everyone updated on the situation without having to field a bunch of separate calls and emails from caring people – for free. I put a site up when my father-in-law was in the hospital this spring. Recently, he asked to understand more about what happened, and I was able to go to CaringBridge and print a slick book that included all of our updates and all our friends messages of hope for him. www.caringbridge.org
2. Insurance for iPhones
When my iPhone was stolen out of my car this past spring, I did some digging and discovered State Farm will insure iPhones! Now both our iPhones are ensured for loss or theft. Continue reading
Our family makes its way through an annual New Year’s resolution process that serves us pretty well.
This year was different.
Our family is dealing with a lot of transition: our daughter transitioning to middle school; both my husband and I changing our employment – in ways that drastically change family time and the way we share family work; and the transition for our extended family that came along with my father-in-law’s brain bleed and ongoing recovery. Frankly, this year knocked us on our butts.
I thought our family needed to shake things up a little this New Year’s.
We did our standard steps. We reflected on 2010 together over Christmas Day dinner. My husband and I went out on our annual date night (this year at the Dal Rae) during which we usually can manage to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the next one by the time dessert is served. This year, we weren’t even done processing 2010 by the time we paid the check.
So I proposed to my husband and daughter that it was a good time to create a family vision. (well, that implies they had an option, and they knew they didn’t) Continue reading
In a recent post, How Stereotypes About Warmth and Competence Impact Mothers , I talked about the Harvard Magazine profile of social psychologist Amy Cuddy, The Psyche of the Automatic, which highlights decades of research on automatic stereotypes and their impact on many different groups. I promised at the end to share some tips for women and mothers in particular to combat these unconscious stereotypes that seem to leave us in a no win situation.
I best make good on my promise because the other day on the Fast Company blog the post Why Women Should Flirt at Work by Alicia Morga summarized the results of yet another study, “Women at the Bargaining Table: Pitfalls and Prospects,” which showed that women are in a classic double bind: “women may be perceived as competent but unlikable or as likable but incompetent.”
As the blogger tells it,
“The researchers found that both men AND women negatively evaluate women who do not behave in stereotypically female ways.
The choices then are these–work within the stereotypes or be careful in situations to not activate gender stereotypes.”
So let me offer a third option, bust the stereotypes. Continue reading
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.
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.