Growing Apron Strings…A Separation Anxiety Tale

It is my personal opinion that motherhood should come with a life subscription of tissues. We’ve recently changed our schedule where Syd goes to stay with her grandparents every day. My husband works long days and sometimes long nights, which means that our little one doesn’t see her dad as much as she used to. Now instead of seeing her grandparents 2-3 times a week, she stays with them 5 times a week. The first week was difficult. Syd wanted to go for a ride, and enjoyed seeing her grandparents, but she didn’t want me and Jason to leave.  I forced myself to give her a quick snuggle and told her that Mommy and Daddy would come back and get her at the end of the day. Tearfully she allowed her Grandma to take her in the house, but her eyes caught me off guard. Hearing her cry “Mommy!” almost caused me to jump out the car and run back to get her. Fighting back the tears on the way to work, I said to my husband, “It’s official, separation anxiety has hit our family hard!”

I am learning that the best thing about the whole situtation is that it will end…eventually. Separation anxiety is fairly common and is good sign that a bond has been established between child and parents. Thankfully, my mom has assured me that Syd will get through this season and I am holding her to her word! 

According to Kids Health, it’s important for parents to say goodbye and not try to rush off when the child isn’t looking.  Other ways to ease the goodbye anxiety include:

  • Timing is everything. Try not to start day care or child care with an unfamiliar person when your little one is between the ages of 8 months and 1 year, when separation anxiety is first likely to appear. Also, try not to leave when your child is likely to be tired, hungry, or restless. If at all possible, schedule your departures for after naps and mealtimes.
  • Practice. Practice being apart from each other, and introduce new people and places gradually. If you’re planning to leave your child with a relative or a new babysitter, then invite that person over in advance so they can spend time together while you’re in the room. If your child is starting at a new day care center or preschool, make a few visits there together before a full-time schedule begins. Practice leaving your child with a caregiver for short periods of time so that he or she can get used to being away from you.
  • Be calm and consistent. Create a exit ritual during which you say a pleasant, loving, and firm goodbye. Stay calm and show confidence in your child. Reassure him or her that you’ll be back — and explain how long it will be until you return using concepts kids will understand (such as after lunch) because your child can’t yet understand time. Give him or her your full attention when you say goodbye, and when you say you’re leaving, mean it; coming back will only make things worse.
  • Follow through on promises. It’s important to make sure that you return when you have promised to. This is critical — this is how your child will develop the confidence that he or she can make it through the time apart.

 Just think, if we fast forward to 13 years from now, I will probably be composing a blog on how my child now a teenager wants nothing to do with me…the joys of parenthood!



Hard-Cover vs Digital Portfolios: How to Best Showcase Your Skills

No matter your profession, having a portfolio is still the best way to showcase your skills in an interview. A portfolio allows you to tell the story of your career and show what you can do with the position you are interviewing. I have always benefited from bringing a portfolio to interviews and often it helped the interviewer to really get to know me and what I could offer the company.

While most experts recommend having a hard copy portfolio on hand, digital portfolios are becoming more and more popular. Freelance Switch offers advice for professionals seeking to make the decision of whether to go with a hard cover or digital portfolio in an article How to Make Your Portfolio Work for You. The article recommends taking a hard cover portfolio to the interview, but can’t put down the benefits of having a digital portfolio available as well. The benefits of having a digital portfolio include the absolute pure ability to reach a broader audience in finding a job or new clients for your business. The article recommends and as an option for those who want to get started uploading their portfolio items.

Got a new way to stand out in the interview pool? Add your comments here!

The Mommy Track

I now understand why women wait later on in their careers to have children. It can be difficult once you are getting started in your career to have a child because not only do you have to make sure that you do your job correctly and efficiently every day of the week (meaning getting a case of “Mommy Brain” is a major no-no.), but you also have to find a way to juggle the care of your family and maintain the high level corporate lifestyle you planned. Many of us are doing the best we can only to deviated to the “Mommy Track.”

Today I read an article about Goldman Sachs being sued by a former vice president who felt she was pushed onto the Mommy Track. Apparently, the woman was demoted when she came back from her first maternity leave and fired when she returned from her second maternity leave, after she switched to part-time; an option that is available to all employees.

The article reminded me of my experience with maternity leave. I planned my exit plan down to the last second of my pregnancy. I shared my plan with my supervisor and her supervisor in a meeting/writing. We agreed that I would be out for the typical time and that when I came back I would work part-time for the first two weeks so that I would be able to be get adjusted to the Mommy/Marketing Coordinator life. The result? Laid off the month after my return. Now granted the company wasn’t doing well, but in looking back I know I was on the list to terminate because my supervisor called me the week before my return to see when I was coming back. At the time, I thought they were genuinely interested in me coming back. I won’t be able to prove that allegation, but needless to say that it has caused me to plan my next pregnancy and be as prepared as possible for any negative consequences.

In the case of the woman from Goldman Sachs, that was case was dismissed, probably because this type of discrimination is extremely hard to prove. Especially since now many women are “trading money for family.” The lesson for all career-minded women who are considering having children is to do thorough research on the company you currently work for. Find out if there are women who have successfully gone on maternity leave and what was the result when they came back. And even though it shouldn’t matter, find a way to gauge your boss’s attitude about working mothers. This will help you find out whether you should look for another job or begin the baby making process!

For more information about the Mommy Track, take a gander at the following article from

Equal Work Doesn’t Mean Equal Pay

It’s a proven fact that women comprise half the workplace. And it’s even more documented that women make less than men, even if they occupy the same position.

Over and over again, these reports can be seen and yet no one seems to want to rectify the issue. Instead of coughing up the dough to make equal work mean equal pay, companies are creating better flex-time and working from programs that will assist working mothers and there are even some companies that offer reimbursement for adoptions.

As someone who takes advantage of these programs at my own place of employment, I have to admit that while I am thankful to have the opportunity to work from home if needed, I would rather have the money. Don’t’ get me wrong, I enjoy my job, but I still have to do my part to take care of my family.

I think what bothers me the most is that companies fail to realize is that gender roles in this country are changing. They have yet to understand is that there are some women who are the breadwinners of the home and rely on their paycheck to handle the majority of the bills.

There are companies that offer mentoring programs for women to help them further advance in the company, but what is the point of these types of programs when the women will not make as much as men in the position.

Career vs Parenting

I was late to work this morning because I was stuck watching The Today Show. The topic was on pregnancy after menopause and is it advisable for women to get pregnant later on in life. When posed with the question on whether older women should engage in the activity of attempting to get pregnant, Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC responded with a question of her own. “Women should ask themselves, do they want to have a baby or be a parent?”

Some women believe the question should be if they want to have a career or be a parent.  And for some women, career comes first.  Time ran an article, “Making Time For a Baby,” that featured women who chose their career first and ended up dealing with the challenge of trying to get pregnant after 40. Sylvia Ann Hewlett said, “many women embraced a “male model” of single-minded career focus, and the result is “an epidemic of childlessness” among professional women.” The article also presented a terrible statistic. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, once a woman celebrates her 42nd birthday, the chances of her having a baby using her own eggs, even with advanced medical help, are less than 10%. At age 40, half of her eggs are chromosomally abnormal; by 42, that figure is 90%.”

I watched a program on the Discovery Health channel focused on women who were struggling with these statistics. The women featured were over 60 and were very much interested in getting pregnant. They followed the women through the process of contacting doctors to solicit their help and interviewed family members to gauge their response. As to be expected, most of these women had some sort of health issue and were seen by those around them as crazy. But the women deeply wanted a child or for some, another child and were determined to make this happen.

While many of us, myself included would never think of having children so late in life, perhaps it’s not our place to judge. Who are we to judge, when we as working women, are more often than not penalized for having children. If you don’t think so, think about the looks you get when you have to run out the door early to take your child to the doctor or a soccer game and then come back to me. It is easier for career-minded women to focus on being successful in the workplace because they don’t have to worry about maternity leave or being passed up because it is perceived they can’t be a mother and do their job, so they can focus on getting ahead.

Watching these women reminds me of Hannah from the Bible. Hannah struggled in her family because everyone had what she wanted and some of the women around her didn’t mind reminding her that she didn’t have a child to call her own. The agony of having to watch these women with their children must have been terrible. But with a prayerful spirit and a belief that God would grant her request, she received a child at a late stage in life.

Perhaps the women of today symbolize the modern day Hannah.  At a later stage in life, after their career has come and gone, they look around and see that they missed out on raising a child. And while for some of them, their biological clocks have gone into retirement, there are some who receive a “late” blessing.

And who can turn a good blessing down?