Friday, July 25, 2008

Podcast will return; Judith Warner's latest blog

The Mojo Mom Podcast is taking the week off, I hope you'll visit our podcast archives and listen to a previous July episode to learn how to enter our drawing to win an iPod Nano.

Entries are coming in and I love hearing from real podcast listeners in Iowa, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, and Canada, to name a few places we've heard from.

Next week I will be talking to Julie Shields, author of How to Avoid the Mommy Trap. I am excited on many levels. I adore Julie's book and it has been a big influence on me. I found it after Mojo Mom was already in press, but I have blogged about it and I'll incorporate some of those thoughts into the new edition of Mojo Mom.

I am working on the revisions and yet I keep coming across new relevant material every day. Take Judith Warner's latest Domestic Disturbances blog post, "The Other Home Equity Crisis." I have not had time to digest it thoroughly yet, but the piece takes a look at the post-Opt-Out narrative. This is the very topic I've been thinking about for Mojo Mom. We need to move beyond that limited storyline, but I can't help but worry that as we risk throwing stay-at-home Moms under the bus in the process. Warner describes "opt-out" Moms (in the context of the media zeitgeist) as "a sort of angel [who] has appeared to guide their way and re-label their unfortunate circumstance as virtuous choice."

Argh. I realize that women leave the workforce for many reasons: choice, circumstance, being pushed out. On a societal level we need to understand these contexts. But on an individual level, what is wrong of making the most of the hand you are dealt? Given our current situation that expects many workers to put in 50+ hours per week, it is rational for one parent to decide to stay at home to care for the kids. It's not always ideal and need not be idealized, but it's a valid choice. And while we are there, why not enjoy ourselves? I'd like to combine work and family with enough time to enjoy and succeed in both roles. This is my idea of an ideal life, not an "unfortunate circumstance."

And do other people somehow get to be career mavericks, but we Moms have something to prove? Timothy Ferriss wrote a bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, built on the premise that he wants to generate an automatic income so that he can race motorcycles in Europe, ski in the Andes, and dance tango in Buenos Aires. He gets to be completely brazen in his life's goal to be a professional dilettante (and he's laughing all the way to the bank right now). Somehow Moms risk getting labeled as a loser for wanting to go off script. And the real kicker is, there are so many scripts out there that there is one to potentially bash every Mom, employed (a la Caitlin Flanagan) or at home (a la Leslie Bennetts).

That's one reason I am excited about the book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It. In addition to having a real solution, Cali and Jody acknowledge that work as it is currently constructed does suck a great deal of the time, particularly for caregivers who are expected to function as though they have no other responsibilities.

We have the potential to make work more rewarding, productive and efficient, and less punitive. That would be good for everybody.

We also need a corrective narrative to the Opt-Out storyline, but in the process let's make sure that we don't come up with something that is equally divisive.

That's another reason why I am excited to talk to Julie Shields. She is able to cross the gender divide with really good strategies to help Moms and Dads share parenting. And in the long run, getting true workplace flexibility (i. e. with proportional benefits and promotional schedule) for everyone will allow men to create humane work schedules for themselves, which will allow them more time as Fathers and more options for Moms to work as well.

More on this next week after I talk to Julie!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My love for ABBA....

I saw Mamma Mia! on Friday night, seriously in need of some cheering up. It worked. The movie is totally cheesy but fun if you are wiling to throw yourself into it. In other words, if you want to like it, you will. If you think you'll hate it, you will.

We went as family with my husband, almost-9-year old, and my Mom (Grannie Annie). I felt a little weird taking an 8-year old into a PG-13 film, but I have to say it was pretty innocuous. If you don't mind explaining the theme of a young woman with three possible fathers, most of the innuendo is either mildly naughty or pitched at a level that will go over a kid's head.

Thoughts about the movie: The plot is just an scaffold for the ABBA songs. Meryl Streep really goes for it. She's not acting with a wink-wink approach even though the overall movie is. Streep goes with the flow with gusto. She has a fine voice (unlike Pierce Brosnan, who nonetheless gets points for trying) but seeing her act out the actual feelings behind an ABBA song is a little like hearing William Shatner sing his dramatic version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. (Oh yes, it's real, I am not making this up.) The words, tone and emotions in an actual ABBA song really never matched up to the extent that Meryl Streep brings out, and it's a little disconcerting.

A. O. Scott's New York Times review of Mamma Mia! was one of the funniest things I read last week. Most of his 13 paragraphs are devoted to convincing oh-so-hip New Yorkers know that it's okay, really to go to an ABBA movie.

What I finally realized by watching Mamma Mia! is that my love for ABBA isn't actually ironic. I just love the music, without thinking or analzying. I don't need a protective layer of kitsch or an excuse to listen to ABBA. I'll just pop ABBA Gold into my CD player and off we go. (Time to confess a fun fact you didn't know about me: Michael and I had Dancing Queen arranged for string quartet played as the recessional music at our wedding. It sounded really nice, actually, and you could hear a ripple of laughter pass over the crowd as it dawned on them what the music really was.)

The other funny thing was that after seeing Mamma Mia!, I was reminded how great the 1995 Australian comedy Muriel's Wedding is. I posted an review saying that Muriel's Wedding is the best ABBA-themed (and wedding-themed!) movie, and then today A. O. Scott posted a video on the very same topic. Muriel's Wedding weaves in the ABBA music thematically rather than just having characters break out into song.

So it's a consensus between Mojo Mom and The New York Times: one way or another, this is the summer to give in to your ABBA-licious impulses.

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Mojo Mom Podcast with internet expert Linda Criddle

Our latest Mojo Mom Podcast episode is now available.

Listen to the podcast now (49 minutes):

Or, just get a taste of our show by listening in to an exclusive blog-only segment with Linda Criddle about how to introduce kids to the internet (3 minutes).

Amy and Sheryl talk more about Sheryl's new job working on social networking for the MacArthur Foundation and HASTAC.

In addition to her work with the MacArthur winners, Sheryl is excited about the potential that social networking has to expand social horizons for Moms.

Then Amy welcomes internet safety expert Linda Criddle back to the show. Linda is the author of the book "Look Both Ways: Help Protect Your Family on the Internet" and the website

Amy has gotten to know Linda well over the past year, through interviews for Amy's CNET blog and Linda's trips to give seminars in North Carolina. Linda looks at safety and privacy issues for everybody, from kids to parents to senior citizens, to help people have positive and safe experiences online.

Writing for CNET for ten months got me to look into internet safety issues pretty closely. Of all the internet safety experts I have interviewed, Linda is by far the most knowledgeable. She's an industry veteran, mother of four herself, and a straight-shooter. She combines her technical knowledge with her independent advocacy platform to act as a strong voice for all consumers. In other words, she is the real deal!

Linda has just contributed new tutorial materials to the Washington State Attorney General website. Her step by step guides include the "sharing videos and photos online" information that I mention in our podcast interview.

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"Pushed out" of work by a weak economy?

So The New York Times, the source that brought us the so-called "Opt-Out Revolution," back in 2003, now reports that the "Poor Economy Slams Brakes on Women's Workplace Progress." Here's a quote:

After moving into virtually every occupation, women are being afflicted on a large scale by the same troubles as men: downturns, layoffs, outsourcing, stagnant wages or the discouraging prospect of an outright pay cut. And they are responding as men have, by dropping out or disappearing for a while.

“When we saw women starting to drop out in the early part of this decade, we thought it was the motherhood movement, women staying home to raise their kids,” Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, which did the Congressional study, said in an interview. “We did not think it was the economy, but when we looked into it, we realized that it was.”

Now they tell us!

Actually, sociologist Pamela Stone already did. For an in-depth look at mothers & work, be sure to read her book, Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home.

If you live in the Triangle, you can hear Dr. Stone speak in person this fall at the annual Carolina Parent Women@Work breakfast. Whether you are currently employed or taking time out of the workforce, this is one talk you'll want to hear. That day you can also attend an optional satellite workshop, On-Ramping: Strategies for Re-entering the Workforce, conducted by our talented local experts Kella Hatcher and Maryanne Perrin of Balancing Professionals.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Life's choices in a stark context

Today I was going to write about that fact that I've felt immersed in bad news this week, and I am therefore looking forward to seeing Mamma Mia! rather than The Dark Knight over the weekend. But this morning I read an newspaper article that shed some light on our local bad news in a relevant way. So I am going to go ahead and dive in to the real-life darkness.

I've been immersed in rewriting the Mojo Mom chapters about relationships, work and money. I have worked on these three topics simultaneously because to me they form three strands of the puzzle knot at the center of our lives.

So with this on my mind, a local tragedy has hit me on several levels. This week in Cary North Carolina, Nancy Cooper, a mother of two young girls, went missing. After a massive two-day search, she was found dead, not far from her home. Cooper was remembered as a fast friend who was at the center of a tight-knit circle of young families.

"The ease with which she bonded and made friends was amazing," said Brett Adam, [a friend's] husband.

Even children flocked to her. She'd lead gaggles through the neighborhood on a hunt for frogs, even though the creatures made her squirm.

Cooper seemed to revel in motherhood, but she had hoped to go back to work after her daughters, now 4 and 2, got a bit older, said friend Damia Tabachow. In Canada, Nancy Cooper had run a clothing boutique and an information technology company, friends said.

Though she spent her days chasing after two young children, friends say Cooper always looked glamorous, somehow making even a baseball cap appear fashionable.

"Everything just came naturally to her," Tabachow said. "She made it look easy."

Life is rarely that easy once you look below the surface. Police have not named a suspect in her murder, but today's newspaper reporting looked into the details of the Coopers' marital troubles. Nancy and her husband Bradley were both Canadian. They moved to the United States for his job and that effectively made Nancy "stuck" in the United States. She had wanted to go home to Canada with her two daughters this spring, but her husband hid the girls' passports.

Nancy was here on her husband's immigration status. He had applied for green cards for both of them but they had not arrived yet. So Nancy could not get a job, and she could not go home to Canada. An immigration lawyer was quoted as saying "Whatever her status she had is dependent on his status and his willingness to include her."

As I have been rewriting my book the idea that choices are made in a context keeps going through my head. (Lisa Belkin recently said this in the NY Times and that phrase really stuck with me.) Nancy Cooper's life illustrates that starkly. Choosing Bradley's transfer from Cisco in Calgary to Cisco in NC may have seemed like a great opportunity for the family. Choosing to embrace staying at home with her kids was making the best of her available options since she couldn't work in the US. But the element of choice doesn't make the context any less important:

To move to the U.S., Nancy Cooper shelved a budding career in the tech world and left a clothing boutique she ran in Calgary, her friends have said. Here, friends said, Nancy Cooper's visa didn't allow her to work, so she raised her daughters full-time.

"We had talked about how difficult it could be to be confined," said Adam, a friend of Nancy. "But it was a reality that she chose and knew -- for Nancy being a mother was everything."
(from the Raleigh News & Observer, "Family: Cooper stuck in U. S.")

This is an evolving situation and I don't even have a take-home message yet. Just sadness and anger about Nancy Cooper's tragic death, and the fact that mothers are so often put into vulnerable positions.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get more by caring less

As I write the new edition of Mojo Mom, I have been thinking a lot about negotiation skills. After all, working with a spouse or co-parent is all about negotiation in the long run. (Sorry, Disney Princesses and Bridezillas--it turns out it's not just about romance and having a fantasy wedding after all.)

The negotiating principle that sticks in my mind is that the impatient person loses. That goes a long way toward explaining why women often have less bargaining power than men. We may feel that we have to be impatient if we want to have a baby. We have the biological clock, and as that runs out, our options narrow in a way that a man's does not. In the case of a woman convincing her male partner that they should have children, an urgent desire on her part also weakens her relative bargaining power--she may feel that she has to make more lifestyle accommodations than her husband to secure his agreement to have kids.

One thing I appreciate as I get older is that I feel less impatient. I am more confident in what I want and I am willing to state my position and stick to it. Have you ever found that when you turned down a job offer, you were offered an attractive counter-offer to win you over? When you negotiate a salary, it helps to feel that the employer is fortunate to get you, rather than feeling that you are extremely lucky to get this particular job. I worry that women get emotionally attached to opportunities and therefore have less power in a negotiation. This is especially true in first jobs: when women accept lower starting salaries, the pay gap continues to grow when subsequent raises are based on a percentage of that starting point.

It is liberating to negotiate from a non urgent, take-it-or leave it point of view. Once I was buying a Honda Civic that I knew I wanted, and the salesman was jerking me around, so I started to leave. I wasn't jerking him around in return, I was truly walking out the door intending to go buy a different car. This got under the salesman's collar and he chased me down in the parking lot, a little more willing to give me a good deal.

I reached the place of negotiating peace in an important discussion with my husband. At the risk of over-sharing, I thought this was an interesting situation. We have decided that our family is complete and that we'd rather not risk a surprise pregnancy as I enter my forties, so after many years of being open to more kids, I looked for a new form of birth control. I had good reasons to try it, but my body is not adapting very well so far, so I am thinking of going off it again. I decided that if birth control was going to make me feel constantly crummy, I could accept our unlikely odds of a surprise pregnancy, and asked my husband what he thought. In reply he volunteered that he was willing to explore his birth control options.

After being the primary person in charge of contraception, pregnancy, birth and caregiving all these years, it was such a relief to feel that he was finally the one ready to step up the plate in this situation. It goes to show that even in cooperative negotiating situations, it can be helpful to care less about the specific outcome than your partner. A weird concept for many Moms, including me, but it's essential--especially when you are trying to get your partner and kids to participate in housework. If you care about it a lot more than they do, and can never outwait them, you'll end up doing the lioness' share of the work.

In the new Mojo Mom I am drawing on the ideas in Rhona Mahony's book Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies, and Bargaining Power. It's a somewhat obscure book and not entirely accessible, but brilliant and provocative. She delves deeply into the balance of power in different types of couples. A take-home message is to always keep investing in your own personal power and options.

To prepare for salary discussions I highly recommend the book Negotiating Your Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute.

Now, I am back to work on the revisions.....

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Mojo Mom Podcast with Mothers & More

Phew! We took a quick trip to Peoria, Illinois this weekend for my grandmother's 90th birthday party. It was a lot of fun but the travel really wore us out.

In all the rush to get out the door on Friday, I uploaded the latest Mojo Mom Podcast to the show's page but did not get to blog about it.

Listen to the podcast now:

I hope you'll take a listen because we have a great guest, Debra Levy from the national leadership of Mothers & More. I always know that Debra is on top of the latest stories about motherhood because she posts them to the Mothers & More POWER email loop.

That's just one of the benefits of Mothers & More membership. I have always liked the group because it provides support to Moms in many ways, from playgroups, to evening meetings with socializing and guest speakers. When I moved to North Carolina in 2000, my interaction with local Moms through Mothers & More helped convince me that I'd be able to make friends here.

On a more global level, Mothers & More does excellent advocacy work, and they have some powerful resources on their web site. Debra wished we'd had more time to talk about the effort to save federal funding for the American Time Use Survey, so I hope you'll take a minute to read about this issue. Mothers' caregiving work will never count if it's not even measured!

I hope you'll listen to this week's show. I announce a new iPod giveaway, so listen in and find out to win.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Camp as a cure for overinvolved parenting

I read with interest this article about "Kid-sick parents" who are sadly missing their children who are away at camp. It used to be the kids who missed their parents, but now the roles are reversed as parents face "an empty house."

I believe that overinvolved parenting is a real phenomenon, one that has affected me to some extent. We're so focused on creating a close bond with our kids that we may remain attached to the point where we are depriving them from independent exploration.

So when I signed up my daughter for a three-day beginner camp this year, I was consciously choosing this opportunity for her to operate "on her own" within the boundaries of a safe community.

She is definitely ready to give it a try, and I really hope she likes it. I look back at my own childhood, and I realize that even as I am seeking out opportunities for my daughter to grow into independence, she still has so much less autonomy than I did at her age. By fourth grade I had the run of the neighborhood on my bike.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that on many levels, increased supervision is a good thing. But it looks like a quality summer camp is becoming one of the best opportunities to give our kids some growing room, as we step away from our helicopter parent tendencies and allow them to navigate camp culture on their own.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Linda Hirshman on one shoulder, Momma Zen on the other

I am immersed in the writing process but frustrated that I don't always have time to sit down at the keyboard. As always, LIFE takes a lot of time. The background work that doesn't even make it onto my calendar or to-do list wants to expand to take over my work days. I have been enjoying time with my family this summer, but occasionally my frustrated mind plays a few tricks on me in the process of trying to get my work done.

My mind has been thoroughly colonized by the Mojo Mom revision process. I find that to hold such a big project in my attention at once, it really has to seep into my brain. The other night I dreamed that my literary agent was trying to recruit me to work for them and I was trying to figure out how to tell my husband that I could realistically commute between Chapel Hill and New York on a daily basis. Most days I wake up thinking about my writing one way or another.

Over the Fourth of July Weekend I had a truly surreal experience. My daughter and I went shopping at our local big box retailer shopping center. It was a descent into retail hell but so we dove in to a few specific things, tying up several loose ends in one trip. Our last stop was at the craft store A. C. Moore. I avoid it as much as possible, because crafty clutter is the last thing we need in our house. They might as well call the store CRAP I DON'T NEED. But we went in because I wanted to get some Crayola Model Magic. This stuff is a tactile delight--it's like a spongy cross between Play-Dough and clay. We're going to a family reunion and I needed something that could entertain an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old together, and take the edge off the tension of a family gathering. It's my favorite stress-buster toy in disguise.

So we found what we needed and got in line to pay. There were about five people ahead of us, and a grand total of one register open in the store. We stood there for a while and were not making any progress. The check-out woman called for help over the loudspeaker about four times, "Linda to the front register....Linda to the front register...." The line grew to over a dozen people and there were in fact two A. C. Moore employees in line behind us, but no one to come up and help check us out. It was truly the nadir of retail hell (with dramatic storm clouds gathering outside ready to break loose into a thunderstorm, by the way). I noticed that the other people in line were all women. Mostly elderly women. Women who looked like they were used to doctor's the bus stop...waiting for something to happen. And they were here at A. C. Moore, waiting to buy something they could work on to pass the time while they were waiting somewhere else.

I heard a voice inside my head. It was my inner Linda Hirshman speaking (and believe me, I didn't realize I had an inner Linda Hirshman), like an angry little orthodox feminist cartoon devil sitting on my shoulder. She said, "If making crappy crafts is so great, how come there aren't any MEN in here?" I told her to shut up, reminding her that I didn't even want to be here and had stopped in for one specific thing. This was a little detour--it wasn't supposed to take all day long.

Luckily my inner Momma Zen spoke up, like an angel sitting on the other shoulder. She reminded me to breathe and said, "Relax. Just be here. You're having a fun day with your daughter. Yes, retail hell is exhausting, but who cares if you have to wait five extra minutes? It's no big deal. Don't let it get to you."

I did my best to shake off my sense of hurry and consumer huff about the fact that the store was so poorly run. It wasn't the fault of the woman behind the cash register. A second cash register finally opened....just in time to be no help at all to us, but that's just the way it goes.

So we got out of there with our Model Magic, but there is probably not enough squishy compound in the world to calm my racing mind right now. I just need to harness the energy of this mental cyclone to fuel the book revisions, find time to sit down and write it all out, and then look forward to a calm weekend later in the fall when I can relax...and give both Linda Hirshman and Momma Zen some time off.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

A powerful coalition for caregiving

Yesterday I wrote that our best chance to get family caregiving taken seriously will be to create a coalition with Boomers facing the challenge of caring for their elderly parents.

This morning I discovered that The New York Times launched a new blog on July 1 called The New Old Age. The initial post by blog author Jane Gross clearly struck a nerve as evidenced by the fact that it has received over 550 comments so far.

In her follow-up to her first post, Gross said,

Striking to me in your responses is how desperately adult children want to do right by their parents, how desperately their parents want to spare them this burden, and how the American health care system and our government’s safety net for the elderly make this all but impossible for both generations at almost every turn.

The heartfelt sharing on The New Old Age blog sounds a lot like the caregiving conundrum that parents of young children face. I am saddened by the problems families encounter, but heartened at the possibility of creating a coalition. Let's work together on these issues. 77 million Boomers plus young parents? We could really get something done.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Feminism I can live with

My Mojo Mom book revisions are going well, though it's always a challenge to find uninterrupted time to write. It helps to get out of the house, which is full of other distractions and obligations (i. e. potential work) even if I am the only one home.

Writing the book is such a linear process. I am blogging today because I just had to sink my teeth into some juicy hyperlinks. I am writing about feminism this week, revisiting the fact that I would never have predicted the fault lines that developed between myself and the Second-Wave movement. But between motherhood and Obama/Clinton, the gulf is there.

In book form, I have to explain all this in more detail. But on the blog I can reasonably say that we do have to first remember and appreciate what feminism has already accomplished, and remember that those gains are currently threatened--and then jump into the hyperlink dimension to point you to recent writings by Katha Pollitt and Dahlia Lithwick. From the Supreme Court's rejection of Lily Ledbetter's pay discrimination case against Goodyear Tire, to the fact that our reproductive rights including contraception are under fire, we need to wake up and smell the backlash.

At the same time, many mothers including myself feel that feminism left us behind in favor of a focus on the paid workforce that invited us to work in the guise of male clones. This approach to feminism did not address the realities of motherhood and the unreceptive atmosphere created by many employers. I don't quite consider this a failure of feminism, but rather serious unfinished business that is left up to today's mothers to take on.

Which is why I was so excited to read Joan Williams' book Unbending Gender last week. I have been a fan of Williams' for quite a while, but had never read her book cover to cover. It's quite a challenging read, written with the detail and scrupulous referencing of a talented law professor. I wasn't sure if I'd get past the first few pages, but I soon felt engrossed in a description of feminism that truly spoke to me, Aha, here is feminism I could live with. As I dove into the book, there were pages where I started highlighting and didn't know where to stop.

Wiliams' model of reconstructive feminism values parents' contributions within the family, and realizes that paid child care is not the sole solution. Family caregiving must really count and be reflected in laws and social safety nets.

Williams exposes the Myth of the Ideal Worker as a privilege that employers think they are entitled to. The Ideal Worker standard discriminates against women, particularly mothers (from a Mothers and More Q&A with Williams):

A The term "ideal worker" is designed to focus people's attention on how we define our ideals at work. Good jobs typically assume an ideal worker who is willing and able to work for 40 years straight, taking no time off for childbearing or childrearing. This ideal is framed around men's bodies-for they need no time off for childbirth- and men's life patterns-for American women still do 80% of the childcare. Not surprisingly, many mothers find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet a standard designed around men's bodies, and around the assumption that workers are supported by a flow of childcare and other family work from their spouses that many men enjoy, but most women do not.

Two-thirds of mothers aged 25 to 45 do not perform as ideal workers even in the minimal sense of working full time all year. Ninety-three percent of mothers do not work substantial overtime during the key years of child (and career) development.

Williams' approach unites women who may have appeared to be on different sides of the Mommy Wars or the Opt-Out Revolution. She puts choice into context: women choose from the options available to them. If continuing their careers as before becomes a non-option, many women will "choose" to stay at home. But many of those women might choose employment if they were presented opportunities that were compatible with their family caregiving responsibilities. I think most of us could agree that truly expanding the range of authentically fair choices offered to mothers would be good for all families.

For alternative work to be genuinely family-friendly, it must be available to all workers (rather than a dead-end "Mommy Track"), paid proportional wages and benefits, and retain possibilities for advancement in proportion to work experience.

A focus on performance and productivity rather than time ties in with the new movement toward the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) model that I am so excited about.

Movement in this direction will end up helping men,too. One-third of male workers work 49 hours a week. How many couples would jump at the chance to have each parent work 30 hours instead?

Reading Joan Williams, I can see a glimpse of where we need to go in the future. It will take a lot of work to get there. In the meantime I'd like to mend the rift with older feminists. We have a wave of caregiving coming that will affect all generations, and we are going to need the Baby Boomers' force of will and political clout to get these changes made. I am hopeful that when they decide they want to take phased retirement, truly flexible careers will become the norm.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We have a winner in our iPod giveaway

We drew our iPod Nano winner this morning from all eligible responses submitted by Mojo Mom Podcast listeners. Our random number generator program came up with #1, so our very first entrant takes home the iPod Nano.

So congrats to Kimmy from Virginia as the latest winner in our periodic giveaway. She says she listens to The Mojo Mom Podcast because "I know we can make a difference in each other's lives when we share our stories."

Kimmy is also an artist and blogger, so check out her website, shimmer.glimpse.

My podcast co-host Sheryl and I are taking the week off to relax over the Fourth of July but we'll be back with a new show on Friday, July 11.

In the meantime we have about 50 shows in the podcast archive for you to listen to. And I'll plan to give away one more iPod later in the summer, so keep listening!

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