Millennium Mom

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Millennium Mom 3/19 Blog - to lean in or not?

To “lean in” or not? This has been by far the biggest question in the media this past week. Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook released her first book entitled “Lean in – Women, Work and the will to lead” this week, and it started a media frenzy and debate among women. Today I will give my take on the book, why I think the overall message is right, and what every working women, regardless if you are an executive or not, full-time or not, with children or not could learn from her book.

1. Make sure you, or your daughter, has a seat at the table. Despite women having equal rights for years, women do not have equality in the world. Sandburg points this out in her book. Less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies are led by females, only 17% of heads of state are female and when doing the same job as a man, women are paid less. This is reality today. Sheryl pushes every woman to make sure they have a seat at the table. Make your presence known, speak up, have a voice and importantly an opinion and share it. We are all capable, but often we are in the background, it is just second nature to let others speak first. Importantly, if you are a mom, make sure your daughter has a seat. Ask her how her day was, maybe before your son, encourage her to share her thoughts and speak up for herself, the best way to make having a voice second nature is to start young, as it is with most behaviors.

2. Don’t leave before you leave. Women are planners by nature, and multi-taskers. While we are successfully doing one thing, we start thinking about the next thing. The same can be true in life and at work. When we start dating someone we think of marriage. When we get married we immediately think of children. Unfortunately thinking ahead like this can be quite a distraction at work. And when you get pregnant it is easy to begin to check out earlier before your leave. Sandburg encourages women to not leave before they leave, to mentally be present up until you do leave or your maternity leave. This makes sure you make the best impression until the end and have people yearning to have you back

3. Make sure you have a true partnership at home. Sandberg argues that it will be impossible for women to have equality in the workforce if they don’t have equality at home. And that if we don’t respect fathers staying home, and chipping in at home, then the work will always fall onto the women and hence take away from her efforts outside the home. In a dual career family if it is the women who has to stay home every time someone is sick, or do every load of laundry and cook every meal, it is impossible for them to have the energy to succeed at work. I also talked about this in my book, that it takes a true partnership to succeed, that the biggest decision you will make in your life will be who your life partner and father of your children will be. Make sure before you get married you have the tough conversations about each of your jobs, how it will work once you have children and so forth. Once the children come make sure you divide and conquer the work at home and get clear on who is doing what so there isn’t constant debate about it. If you are a mother of a son, make sure you treat him equally to your daughters about chores at home. I was raised in a house where my sister and I were expected to really help out, but the same standards were not put on my brother. I am making sure this is not the case in my house. I want my kids to see the example of my husband and myself truly partnering in life, in all aspects in life. I hope this and other things will help ensure my daughters grow up in a world where they can do anything they want, and be truly treated equal to their male peers.


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