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Time Magazine Asks “Are You Mom Enough?” Every Mom Should Be Offended

13 May

From my post on ForbesWoman:

The latest Time Magazine cover is just too alluring not to write something about it. As a mother of 3 little boys, and a mother who breastfed all 3 of them until they were 18 months old, I can’t help but be drawn to the cover and at the same time be annoyed by it. The article surrounding the cover is all about Dr. Sears and his theories of attachment parenting. What bothers me though is that the mainstream thought is that only women who stay home can practice attachment parenting. Just recently I wrote an article rebutting  Elisabeth Badinter and her book about how modern motherhood undermines the status of women. The Time magazine cover bothers me in the same way.

The staff writer at TIME behind the cover article, Kate Pickert, is interviewed about her article,  and in her opinion the idea that  working moms can practice attachment parenting is not valid. Apparently Dr. Sears himself talks about how attachment parenting can be great for working moms because it allows them to be very physically close to their babies when they do come home from work. Pickert comments that working moms who try to co-sleep and breastfeed all through the night won’t be able to work the next day and won’t be able to actually perform their job duties.

I object. In the same way that I object to Elisabeth Badinter saying that this sort of “liberal” motherhood is anti-feminist  and is working against women seeking equality in their public lives.  For me attachment parenting (in my way of practicing it) has been wonderful. I brought my 3 boys into the office for the first 4 months of their lives. I wore them in a baby sling, and breastfed them on demand.

Read the rest of my article on ForbesWoman

Infographic: What It’s Like To Be A Working Mom

11 May

In celebration of Mother’s Day on May 13th, TheLadders released a new survey today revealing that working mothers care more about having flexible hours than any other benefit an employer can offer. The infographic is below, and I think nicely shows what working mothers want, how they are regarded by co-workers and their biggest challenge: Work/Life Balance.  It would have been interesting though to get an idea of working moms in leadership roles, and whether they feel the same as all working moms.  I would be willing to bet that the question about how co-workers perceive working mothers in leadership positions would have different results than those in the infographic below.

Read the rest of the article, and see the infographic on ForbesWoman

Back From BlogHer 08

21 Jul

Back in the office, digging out, after being gone for only one day. I had a great session on “Taking Care of Business” at BlogHer 08 where I spoke on how to figure out how to make money from blogging. The session was very well attended and I had a great time. I shared the spotlight with 2 great speakers, Linsey Krolik who spoke about legal issues and blogging, and Kelly Philips Erb who spoke about tax issues and blogging.

I know ‘Chelle Parmele, my social media manager at Palo Alto Software, had a great time and felt like the conference was invaluable – especially on Sunday.

There are a few things I would have liked to see done differently:

1. There were no feedback forms at my session or any other session. I think getting immediate feedback is critical to running a better conference next year. If I had known there would be no feedback forms I would have brought my own to my session, and my take away is to ALWAYS bring my own feedback forms. I think getting information about what attendees liked, disliked, and how useful the session was, immediately, is invaluable.

2. The conference, I think, has gotten too big for so many volunteers with very little training/knowledge. BlogHer is a very big, very successful conference. I think next year the BlogHer folks should contract a professional event management team to run the conference. I think the number of attendees is a testament to how successful these ladies have been (they just raised $5 million dollars!!). But when that many people come together at a conference you need a little more infrastructure.

3. I attended a session (well unfortunately I got there late – as I had a meeting with journalists for an interview) about entrepreneurship that I think was poorly managed by the moderator. It seemed like it turned into a b***h session about men and how women must have “balls” to make it in the start-up world. I would have much preferred a practical session where people talked about real practical things that worked — or did not work — when starting their companies. I personally do not get that much out of a b***h session and I don’t think they belong in serious conferences.

4. I would love to see a place on BlogHer right now to fill out a feedback form. But I can’t find one.

But overall I am really excited for the BlogHer organization and the fact that they can pull together so many fabulous women in one place. Hurray!

-Sabrina Parsons

The judgement never ends….

8 Jan

Its been a little while since I posted what with the holidays and then getting back into the groove at work. I wish I was posting on a more cheery subject but I feel like this topic is one that I will face for the rest of my working life, as long as I have kids at home.

So first the background to the story. My 16 month old son who is usually a great sleeper had a few night of restless sleep the week before Christmas when we were leaving for a family trip to Mexico. He did not seem to have cold, no runny nose, no cough, but was drooling quite a bit. He looked like he had a few teeth coming in so my husband and I just figured he was going through the seemingly endless and painful process of teething. Poor baby!

Friday December 21st at 4pm our nanny called me. She said that Leo had been doing great all day, but had just woken up form his nap screaming inconsolable and with a fever. I knew right away that what we had mistaken as teething must have been the beginnings of an ear infection. Both my kids have gotten them throughout their baby years, and this would be Leo’s 5th one. I called the pediatrician right away, as we were scheduled to leave at 5:40 am the next morning for Mexico. Our pediatrician practices in a very small practice with only 2 other Doctors. We chose them because they were small and seemed to pitch more of an “old school” care for kids. Really hands on, with real time devoted at each appointment to the child and their parents. Their hours, as posted on their web site are Monday through Friday 8:30am-6:00pm. They do not have any after hours care.

At 4:05 when I talked the receptionists and let her know what was going on, I fully expected her to just say, OK rush him in here so that we can see him before we close. But no. She told me a nurse would call back. At 4:25 I got a call back from the nurse. She basically said the only Dr. that was there was on his way out. I begged her and told her we were leaving to Mexico very early the next morning, and that I was pretty sure it was an ear infection and that he would need antibiotic. She put me on hold and talked to the Dr. A few minutes later she came back on the line and said that the Dr. was on his way out and that he said I should go to urgent care. I rushed my 16 month old to Urgent care, hoping that if I got there before 5 it would be a shorter wait. I got there at 4:40 and was at urgent care until almost 10:00 pm. My son got the antibiotic he needed and was cleared by the urgent care Dr. to fly the next morning.

When I got back from my holiday on a Sunday, I wrote an email to the Dr. expressing my disappointed in the care (or lack thereof) that I had been given. I thought that pediatricians understood that you can not predict children, and that when they get sick is beyond your control. I was polite, but I wanted the office to know that I did no think they had handled the situation well. I heard nothing from them for 5 days. On Friday I took my 16 month old in to check that his ears were clear as he was pulling them and having some restless nights again. Thank goodness this time it was teething. But more interesting this is what the Dr. (a woman) had to say about my email:

Dr: “We got your email. In the future it would be better if you could call earlier”

Me: “I completely understand, but it was not clear he was sick until 4pm when he got up screaming and feverish from his nap”

Dr.: “You and your husband both work right?” I nodded yes. ” Well maybe our practice is not for you”

She was basically telling me that because I worked I was not able to care for my children in a manner that she approved of. that somehow if I had been home with my child I would have been able to call the office earlier. She herself, a working mom, was judging me as a working parent, and insulting my choice to work. My jaw was on the ground that she had judged me for working. I never expected a very highly educated woman to try and make me feel inferior for choosing to work. Needless to say we will not be going back to that practice. We are on the hunt for a good paediatrician that can support our family choices. All of them — from our choice to co-sleep with our babies, to my choice to nurse them pas a year of age, to our choice to work and run our own business.

I just did a little searching online to see if I could find any related articles or blog posts about  another working mom having the same experience and no surprise I found one within minutes of starting the search.

Newsweek’s “Women in Power” issue

11 Oct

The October 15th issue of Newsweek features 11 “Women in Power.” While its great to see women on the cover of a serious magazine, I wish that it didn’t always seem that to be really successful in business you should stick to a “women friendly” industry like, food, music, acting. Its a good article, and its always interesting to me to see the perspective of a woman in a leadership role. But can’t they find a more balanced list?

I actually prefer the the Fortune article about the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. It has a greater variety of industries and features women leaders in some very large traditional companies. The Fortune article just makes me feel like women really have broken through the male business world.

Read both and let me know what you think!

**** Addition to my post****

I just read the blog post At IntLawGrrls titled “Newsweek Women and Power, Is that all there is?” and am amazed to see how similar my post is. I guess great minds think alike!

Cute AND Smart?

8 Oct

This weekend I spoke at a conference on the topic of The “5 most ridiculous myths about working women.” One of the myths was:

You can’t be cute and smart

I just read a great post on the Huffingtonpost.com by Marie Wilson about “Valuing Female Brains as Highly as Female Beauty” that discusses how today females in the workplace still trade on their beauty. I strongly agree with Marie, and wish all working women would read her post.

While I understand that many women (particularly younger ones) will use their beauty to help get ahead in their career (and I am sure it works) I strongly believe that as women we are better off doing the opposite. Dressing more professional, and less “sexy” so that the men around us judge us for our business skills and talent, and not for what we look like. What we as woman should strive for is to break through the barrier that prevents women from joining the business “boys club.” The more that we can prove our business savvy through pure talent, intelligence, and hard work, the less we will ever need to rely on our looks to get us by.

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