At Button, we like to say that family is P0 — the top priority.
Surprisingly, this still isn't true for a lot of organizations. For example, when I started my career in civil service and took a job with the City of New York, some of the drawbacks to government employment quickly became clear. First, there was no paid family leave, which feels unheard of today. More importantly, there was no infrastructure in place for me to work remotely, or ease back into working life after having my first child, Theo.
I realized that it was important for me to be part of a workplace that recognizes and accommodates new mothers as they re-enter the workforce. Balancing the needs of a newborn, a new family dynamic and finding success professionally is a challenge that many new mothers face, and I strongly believe that employers have a social responsibility to be a part of the solution.
Fortunately, when I started at Button, the company already had a set of benefits that allowed me to feel like I was successful in all aspects of my life. Button also helped me understand the importance of what I call "parenting non-negotiables," the essential commitments that parents make when balancing work life with family life after returning to work. I wanted to share mine, and offer other new mothers some advice on how to develop their own.
For me, thinking through your parenting non-negotiables is important because it helps you figure out what's most important to you about family time and where you are willing to be more flexible. This gives you a real, codified set of guidelines that can ground you as you deal with life's hectic day-to-day.
For example, if being home for the morning routine is most important to you, then you can block off your calendar and commit to not taking meetings until 9 A.M. But, maybe you are okay missing the bedtime routine, so you can schedule those meetings for the evening.
For me, it was important that I was always home for bedtime and, at least a few days a week, be available during the after-school hours for my baby. Button has allowed me to work from home many days so that I can pop out and see my kids after school, or before they head out to their various activities. This flexibility in my schedule takes the anxiety away - I know that my work is getting done, but I'm also able to feel like I'm succeeding as a mom. For me, that's a win-win.
Here are a few ways to approach developing your parenting non-negotiables. After thinking through these ideas, you'll have a handful of your P0 priorities, which you can use as you navigate the new reality of parenting.
1. Divide your time. The easiest way to figure out how to balance work and parenting is through your calendar. Decide what times during the day you can be fully focused on your role and fully focused on being a parent. Try to avoid parenting during work time and working during parent time.
2. Decide what you'll own versus "outsource." You will inevitably need childcare, so decide what activities you really need to do yourself, versus ones that can be outsourced to caretakers. For me, shuffling my kids between after school activities isn't valuable time spent together so I have help for this part of the day. However, putting them to bed and hearing about their day at school is quality time that I am not willing to give up.
3. Accept that things are not going to be perfect. You are going to have more demands than you have time to handle, you just have to do your best.
We offer the following benefits to our employees who are building their families and have been at Button for at least 6 months:
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