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Why women say no to leadership positions (Frontiers in Pediatrics)
This article was written by a pediatric critical care physician, but many of her points are relevant across fields. Working moms have so many factors to consider when they are offered big promotions—especially when they involve a major move or shift in work-life balance.
“As I considered a leadership position, I searched for women who were succeeding in that role. I struggled to find many role models who were mothers of young children who had relocated to accept that position. When I chatted with a recruiter, she asked, ‘What will it take for me to move you?’ I responded, ‘The question you should be asking is what motivates me?’ She then asked and I responded ‘Anything I do has to validate my role as a good mother.’
If we want more women in academic leadership, especially women of color, academia must bend—speak our language, recruit women earlier in their career, retain them at their home institution, offer salary transparency and recognize the unique challenges of leading while mothering. We can do the job, make us WANT the job.”
How to create safe teams (Why Would Anyone?!)
My friend Tania conducted a really great interview with Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School professor and guru on psychological safety in the workplace. This interview is a great primer on the topic and Tania also probes the connection between psychological safety and intrinsic motivation. You can listen to the entire conversation in podcast form, or read the highlights.
Stop pretending that intensive parenting doesn’t work (The Atlantic)
This is an interesting take about the ongoing debate about intensive parenting; i.e., when parents devote significant time, money, and energy into raising their child. The author argues that 1. these investments generally pay off, and 2. investing in families, so that all children can reap the benefit of intensive parenting, is wise economic policy.
The simple fact is that we need greater public investment in child development. Just as Medicare makes health-care services more widely available to seniors, we need to make skill-development services—paid leave for parent-child bonding, early education, after-school and summer programs, tutoring, counseling, college preparation, early-career development—more widely available to families.
These services, when we’ve bothered to offer them, have proved better than free: They make kids so much healthier, richer, and more productive that they pay back taxpayers and then some. Our stinginess toward children amounts to a kind of national self-sabotage. [emphasis added]
This article summarizes a new report from March of Dimes, which found that an alarming 36% of counties in the US qualify as “maternity care deserts”, meaning that these counties lack a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and are without any obstetric providers. This is driven by a number of factors including physician shortages, the closure of rural hospitals, and a lack of investment in many of these already marginalized communities. Additionally disturbing is the fact that many of these areas are in states that restrict access to abortion care.
The report recommends a number of policy solutions including: expanding Medicaid access, extending the Medicaid postpartum coverage period to one year (as opposed to the current 60 days, investing in midwife and doula services, and providing insurance reimbursement for telehealth maternity care.
We need to talk about dads, depression, and suicide (The New Fatherhood)
In recent years, there has been a concerted effort on social media and in the popular press to both discuss and de-stigmatize postpartum depression for moms. Unfortunately, depression among dads remains, for the large part, woefully ignored.
According to this article, between 10-28% of new dads will experience paternal post-natal depression. First-time dads and those whose partner is also experience postpartum depression are at greatest risk. In his newsletter post, Kevin talks about his own experience with depression after the birth of his son and urges dads to do a better job of checking in on and taking care of each other.
I know it’s not quite Halloween yet, but Thanksgiving will be here before we know it 🤯. Every November, I make a concerted effort to plan some family activities that encourage gratitude. Some of my favorites include:
For younger kids: Create a gratitude tree. Start by going on a nature walk to gather sticks. While walking, point out aspects of nature that are usually overlooked; notice the sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze, observe the ways that birds look soaring through the sky, stop and literally smell the roses. This will cultivate a sense of appreciation for the natural world. Once you’ve gathered a handful of sticks, bring them home and place them in a vase or jar. Cut out leaves made out of construction paper and have your child write something he or she is grateful for on each one. Tape the leaves to the sticks and discuss what your child has written down.
For older kids: Write impromptu thank-you cards. We tend to only send thank you notes after someone has given a gift. This is important, but also ties expressions of gratitude to the receiving of toys. Instead, encourage your child to send an “impromptu thank you card” to someone they care about—it could be their teacher, a friend, family member, or anyone in their life who makes them happy. As they’re decorating their card, ask them to reflect on how they think it will make that person feel to receive their card.
For families: Practice “Thankful Thursdays”. Instilling a sense of gratitude is an ongoing activity. Consider starting a tradition at dinner every Thursday night where you go around the dinner table and ask everyone to say one thing they’re grateful for.
Of course, the best way to instill gratitude is to model it. Researchers from UNC have delineated four skills that are important to practicing gratitude:
Notice the things in your life (both big and small) that you are thankful for.
Think about how these things came to be.
Feel the emotions that result from these things.
Do something to express your appreciation.
With that in mind, I encourage you to reflect on the following questions:
Who and what do I appreciate and why? Who and what am I taking for granted?
Who and what has helped make these relationships/things possible for me?
What emotions do I experience when I show others kindness and generosity? How do I feel when others show me kindness and generosity?
What actions can I take to show my gratitude to others?
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