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blogging on high-commitment workplaces

Food, Fashion and a Little History

Good work, moms!: No one seems to know exactly what to thank for the 43% drop in obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds. Michelle Obama? Food stamp changes that make fruits and veggies more affordable for low-income families?
I know who to thank: You…moms. Many factors probably contribute to this huge improvement, but the fact that kids are getting fewer sugar-packed drinks also points to you.

#DoubleBooked: 12 Tips for CLIPS (Career Loving Involved Parents)

This piece, written by Rachel and her husband, Mark Davies, originally appeared at The Huffington Post on February 11, 2014. It also appeared as part of the Religious Action Center’s blog seriesDouble Booked: A Conversation about Working Families in the 21st Century” on Februrary 14, 2014.  Double Booked deals with the many issues that affect working families, and features everything from personal stories to policy analysis. Visit the Double Booked portal to read more posts and subscribe for updates, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #doublebooked.

Leaning on Each Other to Lead: Parents have the skills and talents to create meaningful change together

Last November I uploaded my ebook, Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, to the iBooks Store.  In addition to the next-gen interactivity within the book, Apple allows authors to update publications, with readers automatically receiving free updates.  So I designed a new cover (with the help of my artistic teenage son), cleaned up commas and clunky phrases, spruced up graphics, re-worked widgets, and added content.  My 1.1 update went “live” yesterday.

Kids? What Kids? A Working Woman’s Bluff

At a recent business dinner, I was seated next to a woman who had founded  a venture-backed startup. Her company was about four years old, and had raised tens of millions of dollars.

I’m an editor-at-large for Inc and Inc.com. At Inc, we write about entrepreneurs, and about burnout. So I asked her, “We always hear that being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 endeavor. But you’ve been doing this for years, and no one can work all the time without burning out. What do you do to stay sane?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “It’s funny. You just find a way to keep going.”

At some point, I thought, everyone needs a break. Even people who claim they only need four hours’ sleep each night generally take big naps during the day. So I tried again. “Look,” I said. “If you ask me, I’ll tell you I work all the time. But the truth is it’s very hard to get me on the phone or on email between 5:30 and 8:30 on a weeknight. That’s when I see my kids. I’m back online by 9:00, but I don’t literally work all the time.”

“Well, I work an awful lot,” said my dinner companion. “There’s no other choice if you want to run a company like this.”

Author of “Maxed Out” talks about why American moms are on the brink

A few months ago, I received a note from a longtime friend, Joan Blades (co-founder of MomsRising) introducing us to Katrina Alcorn. Joan thought we might support each others’ work, and it turns out that yes, supporting each others’ work was indeed a no brainer. I learned about the book Katrina was writing – Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink – and it definitely sounded intriguing. After all, I’m an American Mom and before ROWE, I definitely would have described myself as being on the brink of many things…insanity being one of them.

When Opting Out Doesn’t Work, and Leaning In Makes You Nuts

Ten years ago, a group of high-powered women quit their jobs to stay home with their kids full-time. They got tons of media attention, including a segment on 60 Minutes.

Writer Judith Warner recently caught up with them in a cover story for The New York Times magazine. The story didn’t look at the happily-ever-afters — the women who are still pleased to be at home full-time. Perhaps there weren’t any, and at any rate, there’s not much drama there. Instead, the story focused on women who now wanted a full-time job and were unable to find one that suited them.

The story talked at length about the difficulties these women were having getting back into full-time work, including networks that had gone cold and the fact that not all volunteer work looks equally great on a resume.

Planning a Career Break? Make Sure It’s a Pause, Not a Dent

A decade ago, Lisa Belkin wrote “The Opt Out Revolution,” a New York Times Magazine piece that became instantly famous. It profiled women who had chosen to leave high-profile careers to stay home full-time, arguing that they had opted out because (to quote one) “women’s brains light up differently.” I subsequently wrote a report documenting that the print media in general, and The New York Times in particular, had been writing precisely this story since the 1970s, announcing over and over again that women had finally discovered that they wanted to stay home rather than work.

Supporting LGBT Workers and Their Families in Times of Need

Every day, LGBT Americans face unexpected emergencies or life events requiring their care and attention—a worker comes down with the flu, a child is born, an adoption is finalized, a sick child is sent home from school, an elderly loved one is hospitalized. Many LGBT workers learn at these critical moments that their employers provide little or no time off and fail to recognize their families. This lack of support and recognition can have devastating consequences for LGBT working families. Due to high rates of poverty and health disparities in the LGBT community, LGBT workers urgently need laws that guarantee paid leave for health and family needs.

Fathers on Family Leave Blog Carnival

Father’s Day is a great time to reflect on the joys, struggles, challenges and epiphanies that come with fatherhood. I’m honored to introduce this MomsRising.org Blog Carnival that focuses on the early days of fatherhood – Fathers on Family Leave, with revealing stories from dads about their introduction to fatherhood.

Like me, there are other fathers for whom the arrival of their children was revelation to the important demands of child care. However, I had the privilege of paid family leave – a privilege that seems to bestowed by chance in this country. Based on data the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11 % of private firm workers and 16% of state and local government employees have access to any paid family leave at all. Only 40 % of workers have access to unpaid, job-protected leave, but many can’t afford to take time away from work without pay, and far far too many parents struggle with absolutely no job-protected leave, paid or unpaid. To be in this in an even more apparent context, the U.S. remains the only industrialized country without a paid family leave policy.

The Evolving Role of Men Regarding Work and Family Leave

In addition to the individual stories being shared for the Father’s Day blog festival for MomsRising.org, I wanted to provide an overall discussion of the rapidly changing role of men in this discussion around a workplace supportive of employees and their family responsibilities. Often when there is excellent discourse around the role of working mothers in the workplace and the ways that corporations can fully support this segment of the work force, so often the men who are also now taking an increasing role in family life are forgotten.

As a long time diversity professional and consultant, I would like to make some observations and assertions:

1. Over the past few decades, men have taken an increasing level of participation in family responsibilities. This can include attending children’s events, handling children’s emergencies and even staying home with small children. In addition men are taking on a more active role of caring for aging parents.

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