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Just this morning, I was listening to the news, contemplating what a woman president might mean for the USA. Just as having a black president in the White House hasn’t cured America of racism, nor will having a woman president solve all problems facing women and families. But it’s highly possible that having a woman head the White House would allow some issues to be discussed where some people haven’t even recognized that there are problems. But then, I brushed the thought away, knowing that the field is crowded with middle aged white men, and the odds really aren’t in her favor.

I’m thrilled to read that the city of San Francisco has passed a groundbreaking law for paid maternity leave. Normally I would just link here, but this is so important, I’m going to import the entirety of the article by Kate Schweitzer. Although this doesn’t, perhaps, solve problems specifically for the pregnant entrepreneur, this is one very important part of recognizing that the US can do better in supporting our families, who are also our citizens. It should be noted that this law was signed into law by the California governor Jerry Brown, who is most decidedly not a woman, but he gets it.

There’s a billboard in my town for the local hospital that says something pretty profound, “One way to have a strong local community is to have more babies.” At the very core, this is true. We’ve seen the reverse work against struggling steel mill and rust belt towns, where young people move away and take their babies – future citizens- with them. I’ve come to understand that caring for babies and their parents isn’t just a humane and decent thing to do, it’s economically and even politically smart. We pool our collective resources for all sorts of things, including public schools, a strong standing military, and an excellent road system, among many, many others.

This morning, while I pondered a woman, any woman, leading the White House, I didn’t dare to let myself see her there. But after reading this news, I’m not going to censor myself anymore. What can we do together, as citizens, as a strong economy, as parents???

 

One City in the US Just Mandated the Most Groundbreaking Parental-Leave Policy to Date

as reported on PopSugar.com

 

If you’re looking to start a family, you might want to first make a move to San Francisco. Lawmakers unanimously approved a measure making it the first city in the entire nation to require fully paid leave for new parents.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the law with low-wage workers — who so often struggle with the effects of taking a pay cut to bond with their child — top of mind.

“Our country’s parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world, and today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers,” Scott Wiener, the bill’s author, said in a statement after the vote. “We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table.”

What does this groundbreaking law mean for those living in San Fransisco — and for you? Here’s what you need to know.

What does the new law provide?

Because the state of California already allows workers to receive 55 percent of their pay — through a state insurance program funded by the workforce — for up to six weeks, this new measure will require private employers in San Francisco to cover the remaining 45 percent of a parent’s full pay for those same six weeks.

Who benefits from it?

The new mandate covers both mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples. It is offered to those who deliver a child themselves or adopt. Additionally, both full-time and part-time employees who work in the city limits can benefit from the law.

When does it take effect?

The new regulations will be phased in gradually. Businesses who employ at least 50 workers will offer it starting January 2017, and those with 35 to 49 workers must comply the following July. Finally, those with 20 to 34 employees have until January 2018 to provide the benefit. At this stage, companies with fewer than 20 employees are exempt.

What’s the catch?

Despite San Francisco’s progressive stance on parental leave, it’s still cost-prohibitive for many working families to live there. Coupled with skyrocketing rental prices – the average one-bedroom apartment costs $3,590 a month – and a cost of living nearly 90 percent higher than the national average, it’s not the most affordable option.

Additionally, many small businesses in the municipality have argued that the financial requirement is an expensive burden they simply can’t afford. According to the city’s Office of Economic Analysis, the ordinance could “increase the cost of hiring and slow job creation and replacement.”

How does it compare to other policies?

California has one of the more expansive maternity laws in the country, and at this moment, only two other states — New Jersey and Rhode Island — require paid parental leave. None currently offer such leave at full pay. But just this week, New York passed a generous law requiring up to 12 weeks of partially paid time off for new parents funded through a weekly payroll tax.

Globally, however, the US still has a long way to go: it’s the only advanced nation on the planet that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.

 

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It started with an age old question from a friend, “How do women go back to work full time? What do working parents do with their children? Especially, during off school days like Election Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, etc.? How about snow days? Full time camp in summer?”

Yes, working for yourself might seem like it’s going to solve the childcare problem, but an entrepreneur has commitments, too. If you want to keep your professional credibility, you need a plan B (and maybe plan C and D) for your baby, your toddler, and even your school aged child.

Another friend provided one of the best responses I have ever read. She’s agreed to let me print here.

—————–

How do you solve the child care puzzle?

This is a really tough question. Here are my thoughts:

1. In my fantasy world, you have family in the area and they step in to provide babysitting– regularly or on an as-needed basis for those strange holidays. We do not have this arrangement (parents are out of state or not well enough to help)– but a few friends of mine do have families who help out majorly.

2. Neighborhood grandma: Growing up, when my mom entered the work force, she had to find a place for my little brother to go before and after school. She found a retired grandma who would take in my brother before and after school. It was easier in the “old days” because, for example, you could get the school bus to stop pretty much anywhere (or even take a different route home)– now, the rules are much tougher, but allowances are made for regular transportation to babysitters.

3. Nanny share: Some families (more common in some neighborhoods) share nannies– they might have a nanny two or three days a week, which lets them work on those days.

4. Au pair: The current rate for au pairs is around $355/week, which for 40 hours of care would be doable, since we normally pay $15/hour to babysit just the two older kids. I’d be able to work at least a day a week (probably more like 2-3) and could cover the au pair fee myself with earnings. The downside would be that the person would have to live in our house– which is big, but not set up for that type of sharing. For example, we do have a guest bedroom, but the bathroom is currently being used by the kids.

5. Stop funding retirement and hire more help: If we needed to hire a nanny, that would be what we might have to consider doing– but retirement savings is so important so we have been unwilling to do that.

6. Don’t go back to work full time. I ended up quitting a job that I loved to stay home because it was so hard to work out childcare. I just decided that for now, I should be home with them. I am lucky in that I have a nursing job that I can do per diem, part time, or full time, and pretty much any shift– but even with all that flexibility, it was just too hard for me to figure out the daycare aspects– so I quit.

7.  Some schools run programs before and after schools. You can pay for care on a daily basis (as-needed) or routinely.

8. Local college students might have students who are able to work for you; many have their own cars. Contact the career placement office to post a job ad.

9. Local daycare facilities. When we did a large school (franchise chain), it was nice because they were open from 7am-6pm, and they never closed down if someone was sick (i.e., if you had a babysitter and they called out sick, you’re out of luck). The downside was that for my kids, the noise was overwhelming– I felt like for me personally it ended up being more like a parking lot for my kids rather than a place where they grew and thrived.

10. Local pre-schools: Nice for enrichment & social aspects, but it’s only 3 hours a day. You can pay for more care there (at $7/hour for up to 3 hours)– but even with 6 hours of care a day, that’s not enough if you have an 8-hour shift somewhere. However, it does make it a little more possible for a neighbor or friend to pick them up and only watch them from 3-5 or 3-6.

11. Local sports facilities. See if yours has a busing arrangement with area schools.

12. I’ve also heard of the local Karate place as taking kids after school (I forget if it’s once or twice a week)– they pick up and then provide a class.

13. Building Blocks: They are a daycare facility that also allows you to buy a day at a time. If I were working and needed care for a school holiday day, I might consider them. I think someone told me that it was $150/day, but don’t quote me on that. I have only talked to one parent who sent their kids there– they ultimately switched– but they had some challenges with their kids so that might have contributed.

14. There are also online resources like sittercity.com and care.com — as well as joining local Moms Club and trading babysitting (which I’ve done and is usually great). Ask at your local church (if you have one). I would stay away from Craig’s List– too many weirdos.

Closing thoughts: It’s just really, really hard to make it work. I look at families with grandparents who help out and I’m envious. However…. not having my parents so close also means that they don’t interfere with my parenting–which is nice, too.  (Trying to find the positive!) When I drive around in the morning dropping my kids at school, and returning home with the baby, I’m always struck by the thought of “Wow, I could be doing so much, but instead I’m home with the baby, and she would probably be just as happy hanging out in a room full of babies”– but then I need to pick my second one up at noon, and be here to greet my oldest at 4 when he gets off his bus– so I feel like I’m at the mercy of their schedules— but in a few years, once they are all in school for a full day, I’m hoping it gets easier (or at least less expensive)– then I could potentially either work overnights (with a shift starting at 11pm and ending at 7am) or weekends, or something…. but right now, I just don’t know how people do it. If anyone solves the puzzle, please clue me in.

Put together by just another mom…

What’s your childcare solution while working? Does it feel like it costs you a million dollars?

 

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New Book Alert:                                            Mastering The Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids in Uncertain Times

by

Erin Flynn Jay

 

ADVICE FOR WORKING MOMS TO GET THROUGH UNCERTAIN TIMES AND ACHIEVE HAPPINESS AT WORK AND HOME:

–Publicity expert addresses struggles working moms face during economic downturn and solutions to overcome them

 

         Many working mothers today face great tension between their families and careers. They are more likely than men to feel pressed for time and conflicted about being away from young children while working. They are also more likely to seek out help or guidance.

         In Mastering the Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids in Uncertain Times (ISBN 978-1780991238, 2012, John Hunt Publishing, 206 pages, $19.95, available on Amazon), Erin Flynn Jay tells the stories of everyday working mothers, the challenges they have faced and lessons learned. She also offers solutions from experts on how mothers can overcome current issues in order to lead happy, healthy lives at home and work.

         The Great Recession has had a deep impact on working mothers; this book delves into the issues these mothers have faced and timely solutions to overcome them. The Great Recession saw women working harder than ever before to support their families, many being the sole breadwinner while Dad stayed at home, caring for young kids. Many women also experienced burnout and depression, putting their children and spouse’s needs above their own.

         A 2010 Pew Research survey found that 30 months after it began, the Great Recession has led to a downsizing of Americans’ expectations about their retirements and their children’s future; a new frugality in their spending and borrowing habits; and a concern that it could take several years, at a minimum, for their house values and family finances to recover.

         As we gradually recover from the economic slowdown, women are seeking to reclaim their lives. Mastering the Mommy Track helps them do this, offering timely case studies and solutions that work.

         The dozen chapters each address critical issues women grapple with including: parenting, financial, time management, romance, psychological and nutrition/health. Mastering the Mommy Track, while not grim, takes a serious approach, telling the tales of women who have struggled through the economic downturn to achieve a new working attitude.

The need for such a book has become greater as the US economy still sputters along with national unemployment over 8 percent and 100 million Americans without jobs. “When shaping this book, I thought of 12 trigger areas that cause working mothers anxiety today–these became my chapters,” said Flynn Jay. “This was based on my personal experience, research, and feedback from friends and acquaintances.”        

Through a thoughtful and moving read, Mastering The Mommy Track touches on timely topics including:  

  • Unprecedented challenges moms face during this weak economy
  • Advice for getting through these uncertain times
  • The added stress unemployment and lower income brings
  • How mothers can take their careers to the next level–even with active home lives
  • Why many moms are resentful of their partners
  • Why moms must carve out more personal time for themselves

      “Many families across the country are still struggling to make ends meet, and parents are often too afraid to speak publicly about it. The middle class is facing poverty and many are fighting to survive. Our generation is very different than the one we were raised in,” added Flynn Jay. “My book offers insight that will help working moms improve their personal lives and careers. It is a juggling act to balance home and work duties, and for a lot of women in 2012, it’s a walk on a tightrope–a fear their families will never experience the rewards (vacation, travel, time off) they so rightfully deserve.”

About the author:

Erin Flynn Jay is a writer and public relations executive.

Since 2001, Erin has been promoting authors of new books and small businesses in all industries. Erin has expertise in successfully obtaining print, online and broadcast media placements for experts and authors. She has established on-going partnerships with other public relations agencies and teams with them on projects when her PR and writing skills are needed.

Erin’s articles have appeared in publications including careerbuilder.com, MSN Careers, Brandweek, Costco Connection, Opportunity World, Sales and Marketing Excellence, The New York Enterprise Report and Wealth Manager. In 2010, Erin wrote extensively about timely professional coaching topics for www.coachingcommons.org.

When she is not working, Erin loves to explore all that Philadelphia has to offer with her family. Part time taxi driver for her daughters, she will often be at a park, library or play area like the Nest or Please Touch Museum with her daughters.

She received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Scranton in PA and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two young daughters.

Website: www.erinflynnjay.com

 

Mastering The Mommy Track is available on Amazon and www.jhpbusiness-books.com.

 

Disclosure:  There might be a page of organizing advice by moi in this newest must-have mommy guide, but I’m on my way to check out all the great advice by the experts Assembled by Erin Jay.

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Thanks to a respondent on the www.DailyWorth.com website.  On May 9, 2012, they had a great post about one of the Daily Worth staffers getting pregnant, and thinking through her concerns as an employee of a small company.  Read it here.  http://dailyworth.com/posts/1259-What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Getting-Pregnant-on-the-Job

 

A Canadian reader shared this resource, which allows Quebec residents to claim benefits to stay home with their new baby even if they are self-employed.  Wish we had something like this in the good ol’ USA. Read more here.

http://www.rqap.gouv.qc.ca/index_en.asp

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My bank account just tipped over into “significant money” territory.  I tell you this because it is, well, significant in my mind.  And I want to give you a benchmark for your own business.

I’ve been trying to decide whether to disclose the amount, but I decided not to because every business has a different “significant” number.  Yours might be a steady $25 per week or six-figures a year or a certain dollar figure in your checking account.  It makes no difference, really, except that you track it, watch for it, and celebrate it when it happens. 

My business has been profitable since day one.  Profitable just means that that the income completely pays for all the expenses in the business, including all the indirect expenses like my home office space, business lunches, and office supplies, and of course all the direct expenses like advertising and supplies for my clients. Profitability is good, because no one else, including my spouse, needs to be involved in how my business decides to spend it’s money.

Especially service businesses, like mine, may take a while to get off the ground and produce significant money, but it is a great feeling when you are able to point to a healthy bank balance, something that is large enough to pay for a family vacation, a car, or even a home, and see that your efforts are paying off in the same way they did when you were back working in cubicle-land.

If you are still struggling this year to make your business pay, and you aren’t already working with a CPA, you owe it to yourself to get some qualified advice on your taxes to keep more of your business earnings and get to your “significant money” threshold sooner.  Here are a couple of places to go and look for your next CPA:

http://www.daveramsey.com/elp/home/ictid/tp.nav

http://www.cpadirectory.com/

Best wishes for a healthy business and a healthy baby.

 

 

 

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