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Introducing Caring Matters + Summer Guilt
a thought-provoking weekly newsletter by MH WorkLife
I have important news, we’ve been working really hard to transform this weekly newsletter into something you look forward to reading every Thursday and hopefully share with your partner, colleagues, and leaders at work.
So without further ado, welcome to 'Caring Matters: Transforming Our Homes, Workplaces & World' – a thought-provoking and inspirational newsletter that goes beyond the surface, delving into the profound impact of care and empathy in all facets of our lives.
'Caring Matters' offers a unique three-pronged approach, focusing on the transformative power of care within our workplaces, our homes, and our global society.
In the 'Work' section, we delve into how care influences our professional environments, shaping more inclusive, equitable, and productive workplaces. We share insights, research, and success stories that highlight the significance of empathy in fostering employee well-being and satisfaction and organizational success.
Our 'Home' section highlights the role of care within our personal spaces. From a father doing the dishes to enable a mother's time for self-care, to fair sharing of caregiving duties, we illustrate the power of everyday acts of care in creating harmonious and balanced homes.
The 'World' section takes a broader lens to look at the role of care in societal policies and their profound impact. Whether it's the implications of universal childcare on gender equity in the workforce, or inclusive policies making a difference in historically marginalized communities, we explore how a caring culture can drive progressive societal change.
'Caring Matters' is more than a newsletter. It's a movement, a call to action, a celebration of the power of care. Whether you're a business leader, an employee, a parent, or simply a person looking to make a positive impact, join us as we transform our workplaces, homes, and world through care. Because when it comes to making a difference, Caring Matters.
Summer days with little ones have me pulling all my hair out. In between the cooking, cleaning, laundry, activities and more, its actually a miracle that I am still able to write this newsletter, and get any work done at all. Hence, you are not alone right now in this moment having to navigate all the household chores as you work, parent, and attend to other personal matters in your life. One of the things I am burning this summer is guilt or shame for simply being and doing. I am burning that guilt when I feel like I am not enough for my kids this summer or that we don’t have as much planned as last year. I am burning all of that up, and doing exactly what I can do in this moment. It’s also important to note that so many of us are also grappling with aging parents, partners or children with disability or neurodivergence. It’s important to give yourself some grace this summer. Yesterday, I was speaking to a friend whose parent was going through a really rough time as they battle a significant illness. This young man has no newborn or toddler who keeps him up at night, but he has an aging parent who does. He’s having to navigate through what care looks like for her this summer as they attempt to fit in some summer travels, leaving her for a short while with paid help. It isn’t just parents who need flexibility this summer, its all of us.
Now more than ever, remote work and flexibility is super important for employees to fit in all the additional responsibilities that comes with summer. I have always said it, that care is a workplace issue and that includes childcare, eldercare, healthcare, home care and more.
Here is how some folks are feeling about the summer in general:
This summer, make more space in your life for the fun stuff: What Women Can Learn From Men About ‘Me Time’
The Looming Child Care Cliff: In 2021, Congress issued grants to stabilize the child care system. Now the money is about to run out. The pandemic-era funding totaled $52 billion, mainly delivered through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Child Care Stabilization Grants with money from the American Rescue Plan. Some $37 billion of those grants is set to expire, which would be a gaping hole in an already strained and underfunded economic sector.
Parents are struggling at work or quitting altogether because of the childcare crisis. This map shows how bad it is for families in every state. America's wildly expensive childcare is forcing parents to either leave jobs behind or turn down potential new opportunities as they contend with sky-high costs. A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), illuminates how childcare costs and other childcare problems burden families, and explores the ripple effects across the economy. According to the report, 13% of children aged 5 and younger have had to see their families contend with job changes due to issues with childcare. Those job changes, per the report, "include quitting a job, not taking a job or greatly changing a job in the previous year."
It’s funny how guilt moves seamlessly between our personal life and work. Experiencing guilt for being a less present partner or parent is inevitable, but what happens when the same guilt cuts across to our work? Shame. Even more shame. I find myself thinking about all the things we need to do even for MH, as we gear up to launch our rebranded website, individual and corporate memberships, a summit in the Fall, and other things we are getting ready for outside of the United States. It’s a lot. I find myself pausing in between drop-off and pick-ups to check emails, listen to a podcast, and so on just to feel productive. I’d love to hear how your working lives is shaping up this summer.
In the meantime, a few highlights of how we are working this summer:
Are you working through your summer vacations? According to a recent study undertaken by ELVTR—an online learning platform—one in five American employees is requested to work during their much-needed and well-deserved vacations. This is not just an alarming statistic but an urgent call for action for leaders and policymakers to rethink and reshape how we approach work and rest.
Why you should embrace being less productive in the summer: Disengagement and resentment may result if people feel pressured into working more during a season they feel should otherwise be reserved for time off and relaxation.
From Motherhood Penalty To Baby Bonus: Companies are paying cash, to attract parents back to the workforce. It makes perfect sense, as companies grapple with retaining employees, the focus is on parents, especially mothers who are likely to leave the workforce after baby. According to Insider, Parents of any gender who work at women’s health app Flo get a one-time bonus of $5,000 if they return from leave before the child is 12 months old. Chief people officer Ann Roberts says the company wants to demonstrate that it supports parents’ reintegration into the workplace. “It’s during this time where people become more open to other opportunities as they have concerns such as, ‘Am I still relevant? Do I still have a place at Flo? Will I be able to adapt back to work with my new life context?’” she says.
State of The Global Workplace 2023 Report: Although employee engagement is rising, the majority of the world's workers are still quiet quitting. An improving job market may encourage those workers to quit for real.
AI Is Already Transforming Care: AI is already helping to manage and delegate tasks at home, from setting reminders for medications to creating shopping lists, organizing calendars, and even suggesting healthy meal plans. By taking on some of these tasks, AI can alleviate the mental overload that comes from juggling multiple responsibilities. Check out these five functions we are already seeing AI play, along with corresponding case studies, and get inspired.
Paid sick leave for workers could prevent 40% of restaurant food poisonings: The CDC found that many food illness outbreaks are directly connected to workers showing up sick. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Code recommends that staff with illnesses that can be transmitted through food don’t work, but many report doing so. A 2016 report from the CDC found that 20% of employees in the industry had worked at least one day while vomiting or suffering from diarrhea.
A Renaissance Of Our Own: I listened to this book in one day, and loved every single bit of Rachel Cargle’s story of dismantling oppressive systems and building liberating ones. Cargle, 34, is a Black woman leading a modern, multi-hyphenate life, improbably filled with “an abundance of ease”—another of her favorite phrases. She spent much of her early years trying to convince white people to value black lives, but she is done doing that now. She is now focused on showing up for Black people with deep investment and care. My favorite quote from her recent interview with Cosmopolitan: I have committed to an ease, a slowness and softness, that roots me in intention as opposed to the reactionary approach that had left me feeling undone. - Rachel Cargle
The Urgent Life: This left me in tears! I love Bozoma with all of my heart. I’ve always seen her as my fellow African sister, so it was no surprise that I pre-ordered her book before it even hit the shelves. I think what stood out to me most in her book, was how she was both a parent and caregiver to her sick husband who later passed away due to cancer.
Something Major: The New Playbook For Women At Work is a favorite! There is a whole chapter in there where Randi and talked about the productivity lie, and the feeling that we needed to be always available to our partner, family, and work. This book will help you discover how to play the leadership game on your own terms and win when it comes to achieving them whether it's cracking the code on your self-doubt by ditching perfectionism, external validation, and the tyranny of your inner critic, or learning new tactics for owning your message (don't miss 16 things she forbids you to say at work).
Radical Inclusion: Wow, where do I begin. This book is a first book published under the new Moment Of Lift Books by Melinda French Gates in partnership with Flatiron Books. I love that the writer David Moinina Sengeh is African, and that the book centers events that happened in Sierra Leone where pregnant young girls were held back from attending school, and what it took to include them in a society that was not designed for them. Through remarkable storytelling and examples, David provides concrete strategies and steps to practice radical inclusion at home, in the workplace, and in our world.
Mamava has been a great partner centering care not only for breastfeeding moms at home, but also at work, and in various public spaces around the world. They design freestanding lactation pods and lactation room solutions for breastfeeding parents at work and on the go. The lactation pod provides a private, clean, and comfortable space to pump or nurse babies. The Mamava Lactation Pod is powered by a smart technology system that enables easy location sharing, autonomous access, and remote monitoring through the free Mamava app available on iOS and Android devices.
We are so excited about our upcoming workshop on parental leave. The landscape of parental leave in the US is experiencing a significant transformation. Fresh statistics from the Labor Department reveal a remarkable increase in the number of parents opting for both paid and unpaid leave following the birth of a child - a surge of 13.5% since 2021. More workers, especially dads, take parental leave as states and employers expand eligibility.
In this workshop, you’ll learn about innovative leave management solutions, how personalized coaching can enhance the parental leave experience, and strategies for ensuring business continuity with skilled talent during parental leave.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed our first issue of Caring Matters. My name is Blessing Adesiyan, I’m the Founder & CEO of MH WorkLife, a company building care infrastructure for today’s workforce providing, 1:1 work + care guidance, care reimbursement, and leave gap coverage to today’s foremost employers. Our memberships provides resources and support to employees of all kinds to effectively manage their parenting, caregiving, work, and life. You can reach me directly at email@example.com to learn more about our offerings.