YES! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: parenting is a leadership asset. Researchers surveyed over 130 employees who also engaged in caregiving activities (either childcare, elder care, caring for someone with a disability, or caring for someone with a long-term illness) about how this unpaid care work impacted their skills in the paid workforce. They coded the responses into three categories: humanity, productivity, and something they called “cognitivity” (which they define as the “invisible work critical to running [an operation]”. Below is a summary of the top skills:
Does this resonate with you? What skills do you feel that you’ve developed or refined since becoming a parent?
Are you my momager? (Bustle)
If you’re a manager or mentor, you need to read the full article, because I’m confident it’s going to resonate. I hear about this bind from so many of my clients—they want to be supportive, sensitive managers, but still hold direct reports accountable and ensure their kindness isn’t being taken advantage of:
This phenomenon of managers feeling responsible for their employees’ mental well-being as well as their output — let’s call it “momaging” — has become a hallmark of the Millennial boss, particularly among women. Now mostly in their 30s and the largest generation in the American labor force, Millennials have developed a reputation for bringing sensitivity and compassion to the workplace, a stark contrast to the more authoritarian bosses of the Gen X or Boomer eras.
Though there's no doubt that empathic leadership is effective, we also need to protect our own boundaries. This is especially true when we’re parents, because it can feel exhausting when we are constantly providing care for others.
You probably already know that maternal mental health care in America is less than ideal, but did you know that a recent report graded 40 states a “D” or “F” on key measures of maternal health? California received the highest grade of a “B-”. The situation is expected to get worse in light of the increasing number of statewide abortion bans and restrictions.
One major piece of good news on this front is that the FDA recently approved a new drug for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). This new drug, zuranolone, is an allopregnanolone agonist. Unlike SSRIs, which impact serotonin levels and typically take weeks to reach full effectiveness, zuranolone works within three days. This could be a game-changer for new moms struggling with PPD.
I recently finished (and really enjoyed) Kristen Ghodsee’s provocative new book, Everyday Utopia, chronicling 2,000 years of utopian experiments and thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot about how modern Western society has moved away from more communal models of childcare and the (mostly negative) repercussions of this decision.
Alloparenting refers to care provided by someone other than a child’s parent and Ghodsee talks about the history of alloparenting in her book—and in her own life experience in this article. She shares the important role that her longtime partner has played in her daughter’s life and challenges all of us to consider the benefits of meaningful, long-term, parent-like relationships for our kids.
We all know that access to affordable, quality childcare is a national issue, but it’s particularly difficult for farmers and other parents in rural areas. A new bipartisan bill aims to access US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) funds to help subsidize the cost of childcare in these rural areas. I know most of us don’t work on farms, but I want to point out how important this is from a broader perspective. The Department of Defense already runs the nation’s largest employer-sponsored childcare system. The USDA could soon subsidize childcare for agricultural workers. There is existing bipartisan acknowledgment that childcare is essential in some sectors of the economy—why not for all?
With all of the changes and transition of the new school year, I thought it would be beneficial to re-share an article I wrote over a year ago. The concept of “the highly sensitive kid” was a game-changer for me. Not only did it provide a framework for thinking about the behavior and reactions of one of my kiddos—but it also helped me understand myself (I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “you’re too sensitive” when I was a kid. I hope it can be helpful to you, too.
It’s back to school time and it’s honestly my favorite time of year! I love the anticipation of a fresh start (and the excitement of school supply shopping). I loved school as a kid and one of the things I hope to model for my own children is that learning is a life-long process. With that in mind, I invite you to reflect on the following:
How do you model a learning mindset?
What specific goals do you have for your own learning, development and growth this year?
What steps will you take to meet your learning needs?
Who will hold you accountable for meeting your learning goals?
A Cup of Ambition is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.