I'm not a big fan of the Obamas. Not that they've ever done anything to me personally...I just don't align with them on most of my political and social views. That being said, the couple has some rather impressive achievements...and they did it while working like crazy and raising two young daughters.
My husband and I work like crazy and we are raising two young daughters. However, Mountain Green, Utah is about as far from Chicago, Illinois or Washington DC as a family can get. But today, I finally found some common ground with the First Couple.
I was following tweets from @ForbesWoman on the White House conference addressing Work/Life issues for parents caring for young children. With each tweet I wanted to yell "Hallelujah"! They were actually discussing a topic near and dear to my heart...why corporate America needs to provide more flexibility in the workplace.
If you have a moment, check out this article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/31/white-house-launches-push_n_520909.html. The article quotes Obama talking about workplace flexibility, saying, "Ultimately, it reflects our priorities as a society -- our belief that no matter what each of us does for a living, caring for our loved ones and raising the next generation is the single most important job that we have. I think it's time we started making that job a little easier for folks."
Amen Mr. President!
The First Lady talked about the time that she actually took her daughter with her to a job interview because she couldn't find a babysitter.
Love it Michelle!
The future of this nation is our children. With two-thirds of families with young children headed by two working parents -- or by an unmarried working parent -- workers need flexibility from their employers more than ever before.
I realize that I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I'm going to say it anyway: Just because a mom is at the office 40+ hours a week doesn't mean her children and family aren't her #1 priority. Any working parent should not have to worry about putting their career in danger because they are tending to the needs of their family.
Providing flexibility often means giving up some control...and from what I've seen in my 16+ years in the professional world, that's not a risk most employers are willing to take. Employers may be missing out on some of the hardest, multi-tasking talent out there because they won't provide the flexibility that a working parent craves.
With all of this praise I'm giving the Obamas for bringing this issue to the national level, I must say that I don't think that federal government should dictate to companies if/how they provide workplace flexibility. I'm too much of a capitalist to go down that road.
I believe this should be a grassroots issue...something that all working Americans caring for young children or elderly parents should demand from their employers. Don't be afraid to go after another job if it can provide you with the flexibility you crave...even if it means a pay cut. The benefits outweight the costs.
Six years ago I left an organization because I felt they were not flexible with my schedule as a mom + career woman. I took a $12,000 annual paycut to go to a more family-friendly company. It was tough on our family financially, but I have never regretted my decision.
As a society, we may no longer have "traditional families" with a male breadwinner and female homemaker to stay at home with the children and run the PTA. However, that does not mean that we have let go of traditional family values.
If you haven't already told your employer that your family is your first priority, do it today. Make sure they know where you stand...with your family!
Follow me on Twitter @DiWin