Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dating to Marry: What Chilli Wants Isn't All That Bad


I love the television show, What Chilli Wants on VH1. I believe that there’s nothing wrong with telling a man what you want shortly after dating. Maybe even on the fourth or fifth date.  I don’t see what the big deal is in telling him what’s on your mind. If you scare the brotha off, then fine. He wasn’t the right one anyway. I tell my girlfriends to lay it out on the table. Talk about your goals and what you envision for yourself in the next couple of years. Whether it’s a big wedding, house, new job, Masters,  PhD and even a baby.

I believe women over 30 years old need to date to marry; that is if one wants to get married.  If not then just date to date. Too many of my girlfriends have been hanging on to men that aren’t interested in settling down, and who want to play the field (still at 30). Tell him to take his weak game to the court, because you’ve got another one-on-one with someone else. The more you hang on to guys that don’t want to commit, the less likely you are to find your match.

So, cut to the chase and be real with the guys your dating. Go ahead, look at the man sitting across the table from you and tell him what’s on your mind. Don’t beat around the bush and hope that he’ll figure it out, because ladies, he won’t. I’ve been with my man for 12 years, married 5, and he still can’t read my mind (bless his heart). Life’s too short to fool around. When the clock is ticking you don’t have time to waste.

Sojourner Marable Grimmett has a BA in communications from Clark Atlanta University and an MA in media studies from Pennsylvania State University. She is a stay-at-work mom and her experience in higher education spans over 10 years working in student services and enrollment management. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Roland and two young sons, Roland Jay and Joshua. Visit her blog sojournermarablegrimmett.blogspot.com and follow her on twitter.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sojournerisms

Sojournerisms 
  • When you walk into work, let the sunshine follow behind you.
  • Think of the World Wide Web as a web of Karma. What you put out there will come back to you.
  • Think before you act, because if you don’t then you may act inappropriately.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself, because whatever you’re worried about will eventually get better, and you’ll be mad for being upset.
  • Don’t talk about politics at work, because everyone is NOT a Democrat.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Let it Snow... in Atlanta!






Allen Cooley Photo Shoot














What Do Women Love About Men? — The Good Men Project Magazine

What Do Women Love About Men? — The Good Men Project Magazine

After 12 years of being together he still holds the door for me and opens my car door. He even orders my food when we go out to eat. It’s a bit old school, but I appreciate his charm and southern hospitality.

—Sojourner Marable Grimmett, 31, Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, January 06, 2011

PRESENTATIONS

PRESENTATIONS
W.E.A.L.T.H (Women and gender Equity and Access through Leadership and Training for careers in Higher Education), GACRAO, 2010

"Calling All Stay-At-Work Moms: Finding A Balance Between Work and Motherhood," SACRAO, 2010

"Stay-At-Work Moms: Making Work, Work For You!" SACRAO, 2008


AWARDS & HONORS
VP of Professional Access & Equity Nominee, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, 2011

WEALTH Committee Member, Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, 2010

WISDOM Committee Chair, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, 2009

NACAC Atlanta National College Fair Committee Member, National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2007 - Present

First President’s Presenter Award, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, 2008


Professional Development Committee Member, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, 2007

First Place Award, Eighteenth Annual Graduate Exhibitions, The Pennsylvania State University, 2003

Second Place Award, Seventeenth Annual Graduate Exhibitions, The Pennsylvania State University, 2002

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Lost 70 lbs in One Year: Losing Baby Weight

I weighed 211 lbs, after giving birth to our first son.  I wasn't happy with my weight and decided to do something about it.  I consulted  Kimberly Isom Moore, a certified personal trainer, and was given sound advice on how to get my body back into shape after having a baby.

Kimberly's Tips:

- Commit to at least two or three days of cardio and resistance training per week.
- Clean out those cabinets for healthy food and snacks.
- Exercise and eating healthy goes hand and hand, to shed those unwanted pounds.  Eating healthy lends itself to some very tasty options.  There are several ways to substitute bad ingredients for good ones, to whip up a very tasty dish.
- Always remember to read food labels and stay away from the processed items which contain high sugar and sodium.
- Remember to drink plenty of water!

Kimberly's tips were so helpful, that I developed tips on bringing and keeping my weight down. These simple tips did wonders for my body, after both of my pregnancies.

Sojourner's Tips:

- While on maternity leave, I exercised a few times per week by pushing the stroller around the neighborhood. This allowed my son and I to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air, it also helped me lose the extra pounds.
- I developed a workout routine with my Mother-in-Law and husband's Grandmother.  Sweating to the oldies is a lot of fun!
- Holding my newborn in my arms, I danced and exercised in the living room.  The weight of my dancing partner really toned my arm muscles.
- I choose the stairs, instead of the elevator.
- In order to burn off more calories, I parked my car further away from the entrance.
- While brushing my teeth, I did high knees to help tone the abs.  I thank my Aunt Phyllis for this tip.  It really works!

Remember, if you stay positive, focused, and determined, you'll reach your ideal weight goal sooner than later.  Just be patient, and in no time, you'll see a big difference in your appearance and attitude.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Working Moms: Finding a Balance Between Work and Motherhood

Working Moms: Finding a Balance Between Work and Motherhood

Sojourner Marable Grimmett is assistant director of recruitment at a prestigious Southeastern university of art and design.  She holds a B.A. in communications from Clark Atlanta University and an M.A. in media studies from The Pennsylvania State University.  Her experience in higher education spans over 10 years working in student services and enrollment management. In 2009, Grimmett was awarded the first SACRAO President's Outstanding Presenter Award.  She has served SACRAO in a variety of roles, including as chairperson of WISDOM: Women, Institutional Equity, Sexuality, Disability Services, and Opportunities for Access, Multicultural Awareness.

ABSTRACT
This study interviews 17 working mothers in higher education to examine if they are able to achieve a balance between their professional objectives and family life. This paper presents the voices of working mothers, their voices are frequently not heard by the general society and many question their credence with regard to the complex and salient characteristics of the stay-at-work mother experience. 

Introduction
Over the last several decades, there have been major changes in the United States in how families address the issue of women working outside the home. Fifty years ago, the majority of American women did not work outside the home.  However, two wars played a major role in the labor workforce: World War II and the Vietnam War.   With the emergence of the women’s rights movement of the 1960s, women began to demand equal opportunity for employment and better wages.

The first part of the study will provide historical background information about American women in the workforce over the past fifty years. The second part of the study will draw upon personal experience, providing examples from my own life that illustrate some of the challenges and possibilities of being a full-time working mother. Thirdly, my thesis will be expanded upon by the mothers I interviewed who work in higher education, in order to derive the common themes that emerge from their personal experiences. The personal narratives will illustrate challenges to expectant, new or seasoned mothers in balancing work and motherhood. Perhaps these experiences will assist supervisors to understand the dual role that stay-at-work mothers endure to maintain a successful and healthy balance.

The 17 women in the study were presented with these questions:
  1. Have you been able to successfully juggle work and motherhood?
  2. How does your institution assist women with children by encouraging them to be productive (flexible or part-time schedules, job sharing, etc.)?
  3. Does your institution have policies that support working mothers with taking time off, or provide on-site nurseries, lactation rooms, etc.?
  4. What challenges have you faced as a working mom?
  5. How supportive is your spouse/partner and/or family in your efforts to pursue a professional career?
  6. Does your direct supervisor demonstrate an understanding of some of the demands you shoulder as a mother, while you are also performing your professional duties of your job?
  7. What advice (solutions) would you give other working moms?
  8. For supervisors: How do you accommodate the working mothers you supervise?
  9. How have you been able to obtain upward mobility (advance) in your position?
  10. Have you had to make any sacrifices?

This article provides information, advice and philosophies about the personal and professional issues that impact stay-at-work mothers.  It provides a balanced perspective addressing an issue that presses many “hot” buttons.

History
A century ago, the vast majority of women did not work outside the home. Even for women who graduated from high school or who had professional experience working in clerical or professional jobs, nearly all of them, once they were married, left the labor force and became homemakers.  The big change occurred during World War II, when millions of men went into the U.S. military, leaving the labor force.  Millions of women replaced them in their traditional male jobs. After the war, most of these women returned to their previous roles as wives and homemakers, although a significant minority remained in the workforce.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s gave rise to the second wave of the Women’s Movement.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark legislation that outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations.  Other legislation and presidential executive orders created reforms such as affirmative action and equality of opportunity in employment.  These laws not only targeted racial discrimination, but also gender discrimination.  In other words, the Civil Right’s Movement and its sacrifices created the context for the advance of the women’s rights movement.  In the 1970s and 1980s, women’s organizations like the National Organization for Women [NOW] lobbied to improve equal opportunity for women to advocate job equity, reproductive rights, childcare, to oppose gender stereotypes and to advocate equal pay.  There was a dramatic increase in women working outside of the home. “In 1970, about 43 percent of women aged 16 and older were in the labor force; by the late 1990s, the labor force participation rate of women had risen to 60 percent. Though still well above the rates that prevailed throughout the 1970s, the 1980s, and much of the 1990s, the participation rate for women has receded slightly since 1999, to 59.4 percent in 2006” (Charo & Rones, 2007, p.1).

Women have attempted to integrate work and motherhood since the beginning of household and family life.  There are more than 83 million moms in the United States and roughly 61% of moms in the United States work. “In today’s labor market, 7 out of 10 mothers are in the labor force, compared with 5 out of 10 in 1975. Working moms account for almost one-fifth of all employed individuals, and nearly three-fourths of employed mothers 4 usually work full time. Mothers who usually work full time also spend more than 2 hours each weekday performing active childcare, cleaning house, and preparing meals. In addition, nearly 4 out of 10 mothers who work full time perform volunteer work at some point during the year” (Utgoff, 2005, p. 3).
As society and the economy continue to change, more women returned to work right after maternity leave.  Several reasons explain why women return to work, ranging from families being dependent on two incomes, being the primary breadwinner for their children, to the fear of a recession (U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, 1993).  A third factor is that many women want to work outside the home because they desire to achieve through professional careers of their own. 
 
Background: The Joys and Challenges of Motherhood
My experience is similar to millions of other middle-class professional women. Throughout my life, I have been strongly committed to pursuing professional goals and a career in higher education.  These goals always have been the top priorities of my life plan; but all of this changed two years ago with the birth of our first child. 
 
Prior to my son’s birth I was a workaholic.  I worked more than 10-hour days and responded to work-related e-mails on the weekends.  My life was my job; and work came first.  I skipped family functions and sorority meetings to perform work related tasks.  I sacrificed my personal and social life to advance my professional career.
 

Maternity leave gave me time to collect my thoughts and prioritize my life.  Before returning to work, I decided to modify my work schedule in this manner: 1) changed my work hours to 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., in order to pick up our child from daycare, 2) found a daycare facility where I could monitor our child online, and 3) made a firm commitment to leave work on time every day.
I had fears of returning to work—fears of not being able to juggle my new life and fears that my supervisor and co-workers would not understand my struggle to maintain a happy medium.  And, although, I am an extremely good multitasker, having the responsibility of taking care of another human being is a huge deal.  Sleep deprivation, diaper changes, dressed in burping clothes, and pacing up and down the same hallway ruled my whole universe.  I was a changed woman.
 

A year ago, my own experience of balancing motherhood with professional goals led me to give a presentation about this topic at the 62nd Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (SACRAO) conference.  The positive response and feedback I received from participants inspired me to conduct a qualitative study to find out how working moms balance professionalism with family demands.

Interviews: Speaking Truth to Power
There is a constant struggle between family-friendly pursuits that support family and children and the yearning women have to pursue professional careers. In some situations, employers respect the need; in others, they don’t.  Ann Crittenden (2001) in The Price of Motherhood states:  “A mother’s work is not just invisible; it can become a handicap. Raising children may be the most important job in the world, but you can’t put it on a résumé” (p. 3). The achievement of success for most women is having a profession, healthy and positive families, and supporting the development of one’s children.
 

The feminist movement suggests that women should be able to have it all. In my examination of the feelings of other stay-at-work moms, and whether or not this feminist supposition is real or imaginary, I interviewed 17 mothers who work in higher education across the country to find out how they maintain an equilibrium of work and motherhood.  After transcribing the interviews, I reviewed their contents closely. 
 
I had anticipated that working mothers would be 1) torn with how to balance work and motherhood, 2) frustrated with the lack of work policies to support mothers, 3) guilty, and 4) extremely grateful for and expressive about the importance of family support.  Many of the factors that cause frustration for working mothers were identified in their interviews. 

 
Question (Q) Have you been able to successfully juggle work and motherhood?

 
Answer (A) The feedback from all the women was very similar. The best way for women to balance work and motherhood is to maintain a positive attitude.  Once a consistent routine is established, then coping and handling the new responsibilities are much easier. Some women rely on daycare for their children, while others prefer hiring a live-in nanny or depend on family.


Finding (F) Overall success for most women is defined in part by making sure that your children are healthy and productive individuals. More than two-thirds of the women interviewed said they were able to mediate work and motherhood. 

 
(Q) How does the workplace support women with children in encouraging them to be productive (flexible or part-time schedules, job sharing, etc.)?

(A) Many mothers complimented their direct supervisors for being empathetic and very flexible by enabling them to care for their children when and as necessary. ‘Trisha#,’ assistant director of student media, stated: “My direct supervisor is very understanding about my need to take time off to care for my sick baby, or adjust my work hours to be able to pick the baby up from daycare. I also was able to take a month off from work this summer (unpaid) to spend time with my family, which has very positively affected my work morale.”

(F) Mothers stated that they are productive if they have a supervisor who is flexible with their work schedules.  One mother indicated that she gets more work done at home when she telecommutes than when she’s in the office.  

(Q) Does your institution have policies that assist working mothers with taking time off or provide on-site nurseries, lactation rooms, etc.?

(A) Three mothers praised their institutions for having lactation rooms on campus. One mother replied: “There is only one designated lactation room (that I know of) on campus.  It’s in our new law building.  I was lucky to have supervisors who supported my pumping milk, which I did successfully with my two children, from when I returned to work at 3 to12 months with each child. “
(A) Another mother stated: “I was lucky to have my own office and understanding co-workers so that I could "pump", but there is absolutely nothing helpful on campus for others who don't have a private office. A colleague down the hall had to sit in a locked storage closet on boxes. Even my own office is open to a busy hallway, so people would knock on the door even with curtains drawn, recycling staff would unlock the door and find me attached to a pump when I was pumping before a late meeting. Just not a good scene for lactation!”

 
(F) The 1992 Family Medical and Medical Leave Act allows mothers with newborns to take 12 weeks of paid leave. Some employers also will allow mothers to have flexible work schedules. Finding ways to accommodate mothers (i.e., lactation rooms) permits them not to feel so alienated in the workplace. ‘Nora,’ an associate director at a Northeastern university told me, “I was able to work part-time from home during my last month of maternity leave.  When I came back to work full-time, I was able to telecommute two days a week.  I’m transitioning to telecommuting one day a week now.  Being able to telecommute is wonderful, because I’m still nursing and it gives me a chance to pump and nurse while I’m at home, so that I can maintain my milk supply.”

My colleague and I returned from maternity leave about the same time, and I was finding it difficult to pump in the ladies’ room.  In an effort to make it easier for other new moms, we approached the vice president of our institution and requested the establishment of a lactation room. The university responded positively by creating a comfortable private room. A working mother’s support group was also started on campus—a coalition of expectant, new and seasoned moms that promotes the balancing of professional careers and raising happy, healthy children. Each month moms are invited to join a brown-bag lunch, and are encouraged to talk about challenges of work and motherhood. This outlet has been extremely beneficial for all moms who have participated.
 

(Q) What challenges have you faced as a working mom?
 

(A) ‘Sherri,’ who works as an academic adviser, said her biggest challenge is “guilt.” She stated, “Not being able to give 100% to either work or mothering and always feeling torn and needing more flexibility with scheduling when family emergencies arise can have negative impacts on other staff. Learning to let go of self-imposed "rules" about house cleaning and other domestic duties, leaves me with little time to recognizes that the family rarely considers the demands on working mothers and how fatiguing it can be—day in and day out.”
 

(A) ‘Laurie,’ another mother who is divorced with special needs children, stated several different obstacles that were reoccurring themes throughout the interviews: “scheduling issues, coordinating (my) mother’s and children’s schedules; financial issues with child care, while mother has to work; feeling tired after work and guilty for not having enough energy to give my children enough quality time because of the demands of work. “
 

(F) The increase in the number of divorces has left many women as the sole financial support or primary breadwinner for themselves and their children.  In the findings 100% of all women stated that they confront significant challenges both in the work place and at home. However their answers regarding how they address theses problems varied widely based on the interviews.  
 

(Q) How supportive is your spouse, partner, and/or family in your efforts to pursue a professional career?
 

(A) Most women stated that they have support from their families. Those that have family or a helpful spouse appear to be able to balance far more than those without support. ‘Carmen,’ an associate director, said: “My spouse and I discussed early on the fact that I wanted to continue to be a working individual; it was an easy decision for both of us. He was supportive of my decision from the start.”
 

(A) Another mom had a different opinion:
“It has depended on his career demands along the way.  When I was the primary breadwinner, he was forced to assume more of the 'emergency' roles when kids were sick or needed transportation, etc.  He was glad to hand over these responsibilities to me, but never realized that he still had responsibilities to the family and the household that he couldn't ignore just because he was working hard.  When I worked part-time and had more time for all of the family stuff, he resented that our budget was so stretched and couldn't wait until I was working full-time again. But, he had difficulty accepting that I could no longer do all of the household things.  I know very few men who really understand how hard women work – at home and on the job.”

(F) A family lifestyle that depends on two incomes has become the norm in American society. Based on the sample, most women with children in the workplace appear to receive different levels of support from their spouses and family.
 

(Q) Does your direct supervisor demonstrate an understanding of some of the demands you shoulder as a mother while you are also performing your professional duties of your job?
 

(A) ‘Ava,’ coordinator of advising said: “The attitude of the supervisor is the key to satisfaction for a working mom.  I have had supervisors who were single women who made life hell for a working mother; my current supervisor is extremely supportive because she values family and a work/life balance, and it brings a huge sense of relief. “
 

(A) ‘Linda,’ who has a daughter in college and works as an administrative assistant exclaimed
“I only had one boss that understood.  I will never forget her. We often cried together because she knew exactly what I was going through. (Men will overlook a lot when it comes to new moms because they have wives to take days off and stay at home.)  I think if I had to do it all over again, with the way things are improving, it would be better. I think having other moms to share, would have been ideal.  It's a joyous time in our lives as a woman, but it's sad that we have to make choices when it comes to the welfare of our children. No one should have to make those choices. I think new moms are sometimes looked over too [for accolades, promotions, etc.] because of starting families.”

(F) Most women interviewed had at least one supervisor who was supportive of their needs to take care of their children.  This support takes the weight off of mothers’ shoulders, from feeling guilty about taking care of their children and maintaining their jobs. Naomi Wolf (2001) author of the controversial book, Misconceptions, presents the thesis of the marketplace creating a “Machine Mom.”  She argues, “… this ideal of the superfuctional mother/worker, who is able to work at the top capacity up to the due date: takes one to three months off to deliver, nurture, and bond; finds top-notch child care; and returns to work, where, if she breast feeds, she will pump discreetly in the employee ladies room” (p. 229).  Based on my interviews Wolf’s thesis seems to be accurate.
 

(Q) As a supervisor how do you accommodate the working mothers you supervise? 
 

(A) ‘Rebecca,’ a controller, stated that when supervising mothers, “I give them flexibility to make up the time they have to be away from the office or, if possible, to take the work home with them.  I try to let them know I had the same issues when my son was growing up…inconvenient appointment times, last-minute changes of plans, etc.”
 
(A) Another supervisor gave similar feedback. “I am extremely sensitive to their needs – while also knowing the work that must be done.  I tell my colleagues that family comes first, and I will do whatever I can to support their needs as long as they recognize their responsibilities toward the students and institution. So we all have to partner to make sure the work gets done and that our families don't suffer.”
 

(F) In some instances, the interviewees indicated that supervisors who are single and without children are often detached from the strenuous hardships and difficult mediating responsibilities of motherhood.  However, a number of mothers interviewed mentioned that supervisors who understand the high demands of working mothers benefit in the long run and have more loyal and productive employees. A sub-theme that emerged was that individual departments are more sympathetic to working mothers than the institution. Mothers also mentioned that many of their supervisors do understand, because many of them are parents themselves. Another supervisor talked about her experiences supervising staff with children. She stated, “Things are unpredictable.  Kids don’t get sick, have accidents at school, etc. on a predictable schedule and so sometimes it means re-shuffling responsibilities or stepping in to get the job done on the fly.”  Several of the supervisors have not had major problems supervising working mothers. She continued, “Luckily I only had a small problem with one employee and we were able to discuss alternative solutions so that it didn’t become a bigger problem.”
 

(Q) How have you been able to obtain upward mobility (advance) in your position? Have you had to make any sacrifices? 
 

(A) One mom indicated: “I left my original career because I had moved as far up the ladder as I could go and still maintain any connection with my children.  When it became apparent to me that there was no further mobility, I decided to switch career paths to something that would be fulfilling, but also more family-friendly.  Working now with students and parents allows me to continue ‘mothering’ my advisees and provide support to parents who are struggling to help their children become independent.  It has been the right move for me, but there have been financial consequences.  There is more to life than money; so I am satisfied with my choices. “
 
(A) Another mom who supervises (associate director capacity) had a different take on the question. “I thought my skills and talents would lead to greater upward mobility, but it is still a man's world.  I finally reconciled with the idea that I would still be making the same salary as a counselor and did not need the grief of being a director, although I have been a consultant to the director these last eight years.”

(F) Women who have delayed marriage and childbearing have had the opportunity to grow attached to the world of work, making it difficult for some of them to give up their employment to have children.  Mason & Ekman (2007) in their book, Mothers on the Fast Track, discuss the pivotal years for the “make or break” years in ones career. “It is between ages thirty and forty that women change career direction. This is the decade, which I call the ‘‘make-or-break’’ years, when women are mostly likely to drop into the second tier. The demands of a first job in the fast track male-dominated professions are daunting. This is the time when sixty- to eighty-hour work weeks are not uncommon and when extreme flexibility, including moving or constant travel, is often a job requirement” (Mason & Ekman, 2007, p. 4).  According to Mason & Ekman (2007) most women who choose to have a career and family are forced to modify the pace in which they are able to move up the professional ladder. “Women adopt various strategies to successfully combine family and employment obligations. One is to postpone childbearing and to have smaller families. Another adaptation is women’s choices of part-time or gender-segregated jobs that are supposedly easy to enter, leave and reenter “(Spain & Bianchi, 1996, p. 191).

The Keys for Working Moms

  • Raising children only comes once in a lifetime. 
  • Be proactive and creative. Many supervisors are open to considering creative solutions when they are presented, but will not be so conscious as to offer them unasked.
  • Absolve yourself of “mommy guilt.”  You are doing the best that you can.  
  • A desire for a career does not make you a bad mother, nor does a desire for work/life balance make you a bad employee.
  • If you have a partner, ask them for their help and unconditional support.
  • Find a community of mothers who also work outside the home.  So much mom support is based on the stay-at-home crowd, and while some of our issues are the same, some are very different.  
  • Even if support and a listening ear is all this community can offer, it can be helpful to know that other women are experiencing the very same issues that you are.

Helpful Publications

  • Ellison, S. (2001). The Courage to Be a Single Mother: Becoming Whole Again After Divorce. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Gentile, M. C. (1996). Managerial Excellence Through Diversity: Text & Cases. Illinois: Waverly Press.
  • Kunhardt, J., Spiegel, L. & Kunhardt, S. (2004). Intimate Dialogue on Becoming a Mother. New York: The Soho Parenting Center.
  • Orenstein, P. (2000) Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids & Life in a Half-Changed World. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Sachs, W. (2005) How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-At-Work Moms. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
  • Warren, E. and Tyagi, A. (2003) The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Parents Are Going Broke. New York: Basic Books.
Conclusion
If you were going to pay homemakers a salary, a mother’s job is too often still overlooked and underestimated. “A mother’s worth was calculated and established at $508,700 per year in wages alone, not counting retirement, health, and other benefits” (Crittenden, 2001, p. 8).
There is hope, however. Moms can find a balance between work and motherhood. Kiss guilt goodbye, and, instead, think of ways to make work, work for you. Ask your supervisor about the possibility of telecommuting, working a compressed workweek, or job sharing.  Make your workdays more pleasant. Personalize your office space with photos. Spend a few moments each day to take a virtual vacation.  Take the annoying things off your to-do list first, before going to lunch. Exercise. Or, wear something that makes you feel and look good. There is nothing like transitioning from maternity clothes back to your regular clothes, or buying a new “power suit” to add to your wardrobe.

As a working mom, engaging in such a project that entailed a sizeable amount of research, reflection and composition was, indeed, a lofty pursuit. But it is in the living of these moments of tremendous accomplishment that self-confidence and self-worth are gained and coveted.
 
References
1993 Handbook on Women Workers: Trends & Issues (1994). Washington, D.C. : U.S. Department of Labor, Women 's Bureau.
 
Charo, E. & Rones, P. (2007). Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. Departement of Labor: United States of America, Report 1002, 1.
 

Crittenden, A. (2001). The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued. New York: Henry Holt.
 

Mason, M. & Ekman, E. (2007). Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers. New York: Oxford University Press.

Spain, D. & Bianchi, S. (1996). Balancing Act: Motherhood, Marriage, and Employment. Russell Sage Foundation: New York.
 

Utgoff, K. (2005, May). Labor Market Data. Speech presented before Joint Economic Committee for United States Congress: Washington, D.C.
 

Wolf, N. (2001). Misconceptions: Truth, Lies and Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. New York: Doubleday.
First published in the SACRAO Journal, volume 23, pp. 5-10.

'08

They say these women are the finest of fine.
They say these women shine all of the time.
They say these women promise to implement,
"Service to All Mankind."
And that their Guiding Spirit had an incredible mind.

It was the 15th of January in 1908.
That would set the foundation of a breath taking date.
That no one can ever duplicate.

 
People get ready there's a train a comin
It's boarded by sorors of "Sweet" Alpha Pi

If you close your eyes and remember that day.
When you were crowned with ivies and were the viewers display.
At an Intake that was especially for you.
Bounded with women who had the same dreams and goals that you had too.
Who wanted to "Blaze New Trails" with the Guiding Spirits advice.
Listening to the time you were pinned, making sure it was precise.

All aboard, all aboard, all aboard.
The train is a movin come and get on board.
Like my grandmother, I too realized the vision.
Entering college understanding my intuition,
That without the ivy there would be no other decision.
And my sister told me to study and choose from what I saw,
But by no hatred on any other sorority
AKA was best by far.
No other sorority could compare,
From the twenty pearls
To Slowe's 1st Presidential air.

In 1908
When Black Americans economically rose
Our Founders linked elbows.

And formed Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
With the up most prestige.
Developing five target tasks so the world knew exactly what we mean.
Making sure those also knew about the lovely salmon pink and apple green.
Reaching 10 regions, creating sisterhood worldwide,
Soror Lyle is touching each of us with her smile.

To be a lady of distinction and grace
You have to poses love, scholarship and pride
AKA, AKA, AKA, the train is a moving come and get on board.



- Sojourner Ruth, Spring 1999

Dads: Tips on How You Can Help with Breastfeeding


















Prior to giving birth to our second son, my husband and I had a serious conversation about him being the gatekeeper for visitors at the hospital. I was inspired by how my sister, Malaika initiated breastfeeding right away after delivery, and wanted to do the same with our son. My husband’s job was to determine when people came to visit. This allowed me to feel comfortable nursing openly. Little did I know the countless ways of him assisting and supporting me with breastfeeding would be revealed throughout this journey. He provided us with an eternal sense of peace.

I was exhausted the first night at the hospital, because of waking up every 2 ½ hours to feed. My body was tired after giving birth, and sleep deprivation was starting to kick in big time. The last thing I wanted to do was put a hungry baby on my sore breasts. With love and knowing my intentions, my husband was very supportive in getting me water and adjusting my pillow to nurse. Sometimes he felt helpless and indicated that there wasn’t much he could do to assist me with various positions to feed. I felt the same way, until we had a visit from the lactation consultant, Catharine Monet.

Ms. Monet, a certified International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiner, tiptoed into our dim lit room and spoke in a very soft voice. She is petite with coke-bottle glasses, grayish brown hair, and exudes a nurturing spirit. I had just begun nursing as she approached the bedside and glanced down at our baby. Ms. Monet smiled as her voice matched her sweet persona and graceful motions, while reiterating to us the importance of breastfeeding. Intrigued by her wisdom, my intuition was correct in sensing that she had been teaching mothers for years about breastfeeding. In fact, she has worked in the field for over 22 years and believes that “God put the great desire in her to teach mothers how to feed their babies.”

Her guidance and support led me to interview her and to share her knowledge and truth with other moms and dads. Ms. Monet helped my husband feel a part of the breastfeeding experience. Her tips on getting your partner involved with breastfeeding were both useful and powerful. These tips are summarized in her own words.

Communication: When you first think about bringing a new life into the planet, you must remember that communication is important, not only with yourself, but your belief system and partner. Discuss the benefits of breastfeeding with your partner and weigh out the pros and cons. Have an open mind and remember that it doesn’t work for everyone. Don’t feel pressured to nurse. We have had cases where as consultants the father has pushed the mother to breastfeed and she for whatever reason doesn’t have it in her heart or mind to nurse. That puts her in a terrible situation and can be humiliating. It is the best thing for the child, but lots of women end up hiding how they feel, and may sabotage their own breastfeeding. Some women may have a lot of guilt and pain. If dad can be understanding and supportive of what’s in her heart, then they can grow closer together.

Be Supportive: The story of Hannah in the Bible is a good example of a husband being supportive to his wife about wanting to have children and breastfeeding. The story in short is about a woman who asked God to give her children. She was one of two wives, in which the second wife produced sons and daughters. This caused Hannah great grief. She asked God to give her a male child and promised him back to God. The priest told her to sober up. She said, don’t look unkindly unto me, because I’m pouring my heart out to God. Hannah conceived a son, stayed at home and nursed him until she weaned him. Her husband, knowing that they’ve made this promise, was supportive of her decision to stay home until their child was weaned. In other words, the most supportive thing to do is what is best for the mother and child. It is between you, your child and your God. Support her.

It is important for a partner or husband to honor the woman and do what her heart desires. Showing interest in what the woman wants to do is a great gift. Breast milk is more than food. It’s spirit. The relationship itself is designed to create divine communication where the child is able to receive and prepares to receive. With God, we have to be quiet, open our hearts and receive.

The mother is very pleased when the husband or partner tells her that he is supportive and encourages her that she can do it. Bringing the baby to the mother, helping the baby latch, telling the mother the baby is getting relaxed and what the child needs are also helpful.

Attend a breastfeeding seminar: For dads, sit there, look interested, and be supportive. Believe me, you will gain from the experience and build a stronger relationship with your partner.

Online: Get online and learn more about breastfeeding. There are all sorts of information available online to readers.

Focus: Remember that we live in a web of energy and that we are all connected. When you are breastfeeding your baby in the hospital, and if the father or partner (as a support person) is not involved, then in can be difficult. For example, if your partner is focused on TV, reading, on the computer, texting or talking on the phone, then that can be a distraction. Involvement means shutting it all down and encouraging baby. Focus on the breastfeeding time and not on something else.

A husband or partner is not outside of the relationship. He is an integral part of this, and when he pulls back or is not involved it doesn’t go as well. By divine design he shows support, just standing there. What’s cool, after telling him, he gets involved. It’s not just her thing to do. Creatively pull him in and make him see what a big impact he has on the success on this relation. If he helps this relationship develop, then the child has a better relationship. If an environment is created where focus is on mother and baby, and the father or partner is part of that then he can change the bond.

Massage: As a dad, there are things that you can learn about that helps the process: massage, getting snacks, and holding acupressure points at the base of mother’s neck, to help the milk let down. If you have a happy mother, you have a happy baby.

Positioning: Help mom learn what positions are most comfortable for her and baby when breastfeeding. Father and mother should act as a team.

Remember that if you want to breastfeed your child then wonderful! However, if you choose not to breastfeed then that’s OK too. You can still be a wonderful parent without breastfeeding. It usually takes 2-3 weeks until the baby is comfortable. Milk may not come in right always, or breasts may be very sore. It’s difficult in the beginning. However, if your milk supply is good and you want to give it a try, then ask your partner to come along for the journey.

DADS TO DO LIST:

  1. Provide water and food
  2. Adjust the positioning of the pillow
  3. Adjust the lighting in the room
  4. Burp the baby
  5. Change the baby if needed after feeding
  6. Swaddle the baby after feeding and changing
  7. Take a shift
  8. Massage
  9. Clean / cook
  10. Encourage with love


Visit my blog Married with Two Boys follow me on Twitter like me on Facebook and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Originally published www.elephantjournal.com

Photo: Allen Cooley Photography

Learn more about Bert's Big Adventure!

Bert's Big Adventure 10th Year Anniversary directed, edited and music produced by Joshua Marable.