During my trip to my head office in Orlando last week I was confronted with some unsettling presumptions.
I work in a company where the employees are primarily young, un-married and childless. The company has grown from a start up to a teenage company and the employees have grown with it. As such, some of these people are starting to have babies. As I joined the company less than a year ago was the first Canadian employee I have a pretty unique perspective.
One relatively new parent mentioned to me that she is battling post partum depression. She is back at work, not sure how to manage it all and feeling stressed. Her son in daycare is 3 months old and she’s flustered.
I’ll just let you sit on that one…
Coming from our lucky Canadian perspective of being able to stay with our kid for 12 months before returning to work no joke she felt flustered! She just went through the most traumatic body and hormonal experience she will ever go through and she’s back at work! I know most Canadian friends I spoke to when I had my son mentioned they didn’t leave the house for the first 3 months! I assured her she may have post-partum but she may also just being going through regular motherhood.
Moving through the week, a few of my female colleagues were shocked to hear I had a young son. They’re eyes asked the question, how do you balance a high level career, family, baby and finances. One went so far as to say “I’d like to be just like you” well that’s a compliment. I didn’t understand why this was so surprising or why they were so shocked.
And then it hit me – as I looked around at my friends and the companies I call on I had to stretch to think of some key people who were balancing having a kid, family and high level career all at once.
On a 2 hour plane ride you get to think a lot about these things. Serendipitous enough. I had recently read Anne Marie Slaughter’s Book Unfinished Business which sheds light on pulling back the curtain on our pre-conceived notions relative to men, women and careers. We’re vastly lacking the role models who can show young women and men how to balance all the balls. The role models and mentors I have are all senior women with college-aged children. Wonderful for career advice, but they come from a different child rearing time and their advice is sometimes antiquated.
So where are all the role models? Where are the women and men in their late 20 to early forties who are having children now and balancing careers, families and kids? I’ll tell you where. They’re buried under to do list, loot bags, Paw Patrol and Elsa figurines. They’re just trying to stay afloat and they’re not talking about the balance because they’re just-too-busy. So my call to action is to try and put some words to these feelings that I know so many of you feel. I don’t know everything but I’ll do my best to at least try and verbalize what so many of us are going through.
I’ll see ya amidst the mega blocks