Women and Their Managers Struggle with the “Big News”

Suz O’Donnell

Guest Post By Suz Graf O’Donnell, President and Lead Coach, Thrivatize LLC

Women are having children later in their careers and therefore have more responsibility on their plates when they start a family.  For those that want to maintain a fruitful career, they need to do a little extra work to make sure everyone at work (including their boss, employees, customers, and peers) know they are coming back as strong as ever.  

While every good manager puts on a happy face and genuinely congratulates the woman on her big news, they also secretly struggle with concerns about whether she will return after having the baby, if she’ll want to go part time, how this will impact team performance, and whether they need to begin recruiting now to backfill part or all of her work.  These are real concerns that affect team engagement, effectiveness, and morale.   

To help both the women planning families and the managers of these women cope better with these situations, check out these resources:  

  • Women planning families:  If you are planning a family and want to make sure your career trajectory stays on track, you should apply the advice in The Career-Family Formula™:  Three Steps Female Leaders Must Take When Planning a Family.  In this eBook, Suz O’Donnell, President and Lead Coach of Thrivatize LLC, shares tangible advice for ensuring everyone around you knows you are coming back to work after you have your baby and that you want to maintain an amazing career while your family grows.  She also offers additional resources on her website PowerfulWomenPlanningFamilies.com.  
  • Managers, Human Resources, and Diversity Officers:  Even in the most supportive environments, unconscious bias can make a pregnant woman feel like her career trajectory is at risk.  The more you can do to prevent these feelings, the more likely she is to come back feeling that you support her ongoing career development and success.  Check out Suz Graf O’Donnell, President and Lead Coach of Thrivatize LLC’s whitepaper The Overlooked Opportunity To Retain More Women In Leadership.  This whitepaper includes an engaging story of what can go wrong when well-meaning managers aren’t certain about the career desires of their employees who are planning a family.  It also highlights team performance risks and costs savings that you can address by properly preparing your female leaders for this big change in their lives.  You can find additional resources or contact information regarding this hot topic at PowerfulWomenPlanningFamilies.com.  

   

Negotiate for a Better Maternity Leave

IMaternity-Leave-Proposalt’s no secret that maternity leave benefits in the US are lacking.  You know it’s bad when our own President fronts us out.  To quote him directly, “the United States is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.”  But, we can’t let that get us down because bringing a child into this world is one of, it not THE most rewarding and important thing we can do to in our lifetimes.

The good news is that even when you think the deck is stacked against you and you’re concerned that you won’t get a fair shake when you ask for maternity leave, there are experts out there who have successfully helped women to not only get a fair maternity leave but also a great maternity leave.  Today I would like to introduce you to an expert in this area, Pat Katepoo.

Pat has been a work options advisor since 1993 and her website Work Options has been online since 1997. Thousands of busy professionals have found answers and relief through her services.  Pat says, “Women aren’t socialized to negotiate and so they are less inclined than men to ask for what they need or want. And research shows that often women fail to see their options or even think to ask for them.   So maybe you don’t know what you don’t know.”  Pat can help you see your options and ask for them.

Whether you choose her do-it-yourself guides or her personal services by phone you get practical help negotiating various work options to make your life calmer and easier. Options such as job flexibility, a fabulous pay raise, and more maternity leave and other time off.

Please take a few moments right now to visit Pat at WorkOptions by clicking any of the links in this post.  I really think she’s the best in this subject area and definitely the most experienced.  I always keep a link to her site on the side of my blog posts because I think her services are so valuable to working women.  I’m an affiliate for Pat’s tools and resources so each purchase you make drops a few coins in the bucket to fund The Maternity Leave Coach, so “thank you” in advance.

 

Oh La La – French Parenting and Sleep Sense

bonne-nuitEven before that beautiful baby arrives you may find yourself not sleeping as well as you had before.  Maybe it’s a cruel trick to prepare you for the months, and for some, years to come!   I recommend that you get informed now and prepare yourself for how you will handle those cries in the night.  As a matter of fact, I put down the pregnancy books and started to read parenting books.  One situation lasts 9 months and the other goes on for 18+ years.  I figured I should devote my time and energy to the much more difficult and longer term commitment of parenting.

One book I recommend you read is Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.  It is not only informative and helpful, it is also entertaining and enjoyable to read.  Taking the French perspective and comparing it to the parenting world you see around you in the US will definitely open your mind.  This book covers not only sleep but also how French moms approach feeding schedules as well as the mysterious “pause” – a method to teach patience in children.  Fascinating book that just may cause you to reconsider your approach to parenting.

How about the question you’ll inevitably get…”Does your baby sleep through the night?”  The second recommendation I’ll make is for The Sleep Sense Program.  I think the reason that The Sleep Sense™ Program is so popular is because it’s clear, simple, and easy to follow. Plus, it allows parents to choose one of two different approaches based on their child’s temperament and personality.  You may have read every book out there already but if you’re concerned that you won’t learn anything new with The Sleep Sense™ Program, my best advice to you is simply this: “Why not give it a try?”  It’s got a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee that’s good for a full year.  Also, Dana at The Sleep Sense Program offers a free sleep assessment to get you started.

So there you have it.  Two great resources for learning more about parenting and reclaiming your sleep.  As the French would say, “Bonne nuit!”

Maternity Leave Book Club – Good Reads Before You Return to Work

If only I were Oprah I could really make a Maternity Leave Book Club happen.  Actually, if I were Oprah I wouldn’t waste time with a book club.  I’d pay people to write books about me and then have William Shatner read them back to me while trained pandas massage my feet.  (Jealousy is a form of flattery right?  I got no beef with Oprah).

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