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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finally...something in common with the Obamas

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction at the Office

Today I wore a long, flowing skirt to the office with matching shirt and vest. One of my favorite outfits because A) it doesn't need to be ironed; and, B) it's super comfy.

While completing a 10-page award nomination form, an e-notice popped up on the monitor that my weekly meeting with the CEO and Executive Vice President would start in five minutes. I rolled back in my chair to put something away in the filing cabinet and then stood up quickly...to hear the sound of material ripping to shreds. I looked down to see my slip staring back at me through a huge hole in my skirt. It was caught in the wheel of my office chair. Uh-oh!

To make matters worse, I couldn't get the skirt out of the wheel of the chair no matter what I tried. I considered my options: A) step out of the skirt, so I'd be standing in my slip and cut the skirt from the wheel; B) keep pulling and ripping...hoping the tear didn't go thigh high; or, C) cry out for help in desperation. A female (thankfully) co-worker heard my pleas and helped me out of the mess with a combination of kneeling, pulling, and more ripping (along with plenty of laughing).

I asked, "Now what do I do...I have a meeting with the CEO?" The hole was at least six inches wide...there was no hiding it. She said, "Grab the stapler" so we did, and stapled up the hole together in the skirt. With what was left of my dignity, I went to the meeting. Not my finest professional moment.

I've decided it's okay to have an occasional non-professional moment at the office. For starters, it keeps you humble. It also helps you and your kids relate with each other better. They can tell you about their embarrassing moments in the classroom or on the playground and you can share with them about your not-so-glamorous moments at the office. It's a great way to bond over moments of distress!

One more thing..."thanks mom" for telling me to always wear a slip with my skirts...it could've been a much more embarrassing day! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Freedom Is Not Free

On Friday night coming back from a TV commercial shoot from my job, I told me husband of my idea for my second blog post on "Mom Means Business". We were sharing thoughts, and I was getting pumped-up to spend Saturday morning blogging.

Early Saturday morning we received the horrible news that my cousin Jake Whetten had been killed while on active duty in Afghanistan on Friday. I was shocked...in utter disbelief. I knew he was a highly trained and skilled soldier, and received particularly dangerous assignments, but I thought he was invincible.

I was not close with Jake as an adult. I remember him mostly as an active little kid...8 years younger than me. He enlisted in the Army right out of high school. Through the years I heard of his different military assignments from his mother or my dad. Jake was an army ranger, and in the 82nd AirBorne Unit in Iraq. Family members often talked of his bravery...that he was made to be a soldier and he loved his life in the military. In the last year or so I had followed him on Facebook, read his updates and viewed photos of him in Afghanistan. I really enjoyed his posts. I now regret that the only time I sent him a personal message letting him know how proud I am of him was on Veterans Day 2009...via Facebook.

Jake left this earth acting on what he believed in, doing what he loved. He gave the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom and liberty for all. I love him for his service, and proud to share the last name of "Whetten" with him. He is our family's hero.

"Freedom is not free." That statement became quite personal for me and the entire Whetten family this weekend. May you rest in peace Jake.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's Important Now

I'm a career mom. That does not mean mom=career. It means mom+career. (As you know, all moms "work"24/7.) I have to blend the two full-time jobs seamlessly to build success on the homefront and at the jobsite.

Without question the mom job is the most important...and my most favorite. However, I must do well at the career job to help sustain the success of the mom job.

For example, the career job provides benefits that help keep a healthy family in the mom job. The career job provides a paycheck that helps house, feed, clothe, and educate in the mom job.

Striking a balance between the two jobs is a tricky and sometimes risky business. I can't tell you how many times I feel like I've failed at one, the other, or both.

When you find a successful balancing point between your professional career and motherhood, you've hit nirvana.

I find success when I live by this acronym: WIN. It stands for "What's Important Now". It also happens to be the first three letters of my last name...so it's easy for me to remember. As I go through the day, I try to stay focused on the task that is most important at that moment. Is it a work meeting? An office project? My daughter's homework assignment? My husband telling me about his day?

Ladies...get the most out of your mom+career jobs by focusing on W-I-N. It's a strategy that spells SUCCESS!

Follow me on Twitter @DiWin