I read Petula Dvorak who writes regularly for the Washington Post. #1, she cracks me up. #2, she writes about very real and local things. #3, she is another one of those women who juggles working full-time and raising her kids.
This week, she wrote a fabulous piece called Free time for working moms? That’s a good one! In this article, Petula talks about how she tried to get a group of working mothers together to go see the new movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It” so she could capture their opinions. Her article starts with the humor and irony involved in getting a group of working moms together for such and event. Then it gets serious about how society needs to solve the problem of managing a family in this modern time where the realities of childcare and adult care put great pressure on women.
A year ago I was invited to the White House as a delegate for the White House Forum on Workforce Flexibility. This forum was designed to gather business owners together to discuss their experience at hiring top talent while providing flexibility and ensuring productivity. Since my business lends itself to being virtual, it was easy to talk about ways of providing clear direction and deadlines in exchange for flexibility. However, some of the companies that were represented were retail-oriented businesses who face greater challenges in coming up with workable solutions.
Workforce flexibility is a big area of interest for Michelle Obama. The Workforce Flexibility meeting I attended in 2010 announced the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls. I admit I’ve been too busy to stay very involved in this group following the kick-off. Fundraising and activism there the primary roles the Council was looking for us to play following our information exchange session. Of course both of these things take time that many of us didn’t have. I worry that the reality of budget cuts might make it difficult to see big gains in this area.
Petula’s humorous take on this issue revived my interest in the topic. I was particularly stunned to see her quote a policy advocate in saying that it takes seven or eight different people in the foster care system to replace all the things that a child’s mother typically handles. Sheesh!
Ladies, I suggest we reach behind and give ourselves a pat on the back. Then let’s keep a spotlight on this issue by making sure that as business women, employers and care givers, we are also our own best supporters.
Any other ideas we should put on the table?