Motherhood Is More Than Your Average "Smoke Break"
When you become a mother, one of the first changes you recognize (besides the fact that your abdomen will never ever be the same after a C-section) is that changes in your professional life will have to accommodate the radical reduction in free time you now have.
Motherhood definitely makes you move differently in the professional world.
Last year at The Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Michelle Obama offered some insight about the demands that come with being a working mother and their needs for flexible schedules:
"I had both kids and Barack was in the Senate. I told my boss do not check for me for these needless meetings. I do not have time for that. I will be getting work done. If you are looking for me to sit down in meetings to make you feel good, I can't do it because I am working my butt off."
Luckily, the nonprofit I'm employed at takes work/life balance very seriously. We don't exactly have an on-site daycare, but for the most part my colleagues, parents or not, recognize that although being a caregiver can be unpredictable and tiresome, it doesn't mean you will be automatically ineffective as a professional, especially when a workplace is supportive of your situation.
So when an article compared motherhood to the new "work smoke break," I couldn't help but laugh.
Having a toddler pelt you with soggy Goldfish crackers and requests for Puppy Dog Pals, Episode 7 (at exactly at the three-minute 12-second mark) is anything but a smooth, long drag. But studies show that according to some colleagues that are child-free, moms have it made in the workplace. "Are Women Without Children Discriminated Against at Work?" asks if motherhood is the new "smoke-break" that offices everywhere are accommodating.
In the piece, several child-free working women expressed their feelings on their time at work being taken for granted since they don't have a report card conference or PTA meeting to run to after the work day. Helen Read, a 28-year-old civil engineer shared that work/life balance sounds like an inclusive term, but really is treated differently in the workplace depending on whether an employee has children or not. She says management often forgets that even those that are not parents have loved ones that they care for also, and that care can't always be arranged conveniently around the work day:
"People forget that single people have people they care about outside of the traditional relative structure, and they are often more likely to work late when the parents are leaving early to collect the kids from school."
As a working mother, I'd like to add that every working mom is different. I've stayed late to cover many a shift and thankfully have a good support system in place to aid with childcare.
I also have colleagues who call out way more than I do and don't have any small children at home. So it's not safe to assume just because someone is a working parent, that they have zero flexibility. However, at my workplace, I'm thankful for a family-friendly policy that extends to all employees, parents or not. I'm also conscious of seeking those types of policies when I apply for jobs.
But what about those employees who feel they should get first dibs on every holiday including Arbor Day because they have kids? Or the parents who feel like they can show up two hours late and leave an hour early because Junior has a school play after working on his science project all night? Lastly, what about the managers who accommodate all of this?
Admittedly, I'll say that kids are the best excuse ever to get out of anything. Extra-long weekend? Call work on Friday morning and tell them your toddler has had the runs all night. Bestie wants you to hang with her annoying friends from college? No childcare, sorry.
But some argue that it's more than a convenient "excuse." Further, more and more work policies are allowing women to do less work for the same pay, and it's not fair. But even with all that support in the world, most days even with what many would say is an ideal support system, any time I use my kid as an excuse to get out of anything, it's because I damn well need the break. Granted, the mom life is the life I chose, but most days I'm operating on less than five hours of sleep and staying in the shower for an extra twenty minutes just to escape singing the wrong lyrics to "Wheels On the Bus" for the seventeenth time.
Comparing motherhood to anything that resembles a break is comical at least, and insulting at best.
Whether you have a newborn at home or a very ill French bulldog, work/life balance is just that: a balancing act.
Employers have to recognize that life can't always occur around a 9-5 schedule and you don't have to be chained to your desk to be doing your job in many positions. On the same token, employees have to learn how to be flexible and work together. As a mom, I don't expect to have first dibs on every single holiday, nor do I expect not to pull the same weight as my colleagues because I created life (but you got admit that's pretty damn impressive). But seriously, it's also about not taking advantage of policies meant to support those in need. Coming in a few hours late because your elderly mother is sick is one thing, calling out for two days straight because your dog had a few Hershey kisses and the runs might be pushing it.
Lastly, it's about recognizing who the real issue is with. You can be mad all day for having to cover a shift for a third time for a co-worker whose bailed on her work obligations for her family, but is your problem with her or the supervisor that keeps allowing her to do so?
Let's not forget there's another side to the working-mom coin. It's a side where it's automatically assumed I can never go above and beyond because I'm "burdened" by my motherly duties, and in some ways, that's true. Being a working mom means you can't pull that all-nighter on the office presentation because you're committed to a consistent bath and bedtime routine for your toddler. Meanwhile, the next morning, you're faced with the eager new college grad, high on Red Bull and presenting color-coded Excel sheets to the board while you're blowing Goldfish dust off your day-planner.
Whether you're a working mom with two kids or fresh out of college with only a betta fish to care for, there's something to be said about not allowing any employer to make you to lose sight of the fact that work is not life and you shouldn't have to be handcuffed to a desk, a cell phone, or an inbox as proof of how committed you are to your job.
I'm not here to engage in a "battle of the struggles" but if you feel like you're currently in a professional space where you feel like parents are getting all of the "perks," you may need to spend more time in HR's office fighting for policies that support flexibility for all workers instead of ranting about being penalized for the kids you don't have.
I've been on both sides, I've seen a colleague be employed for two months and make the same amount I've made in two years solely based on management's knowledge of her single-mom status, and not actual performance. I've also been the mom who had a manager look the other way when I miss a deadline because newborns = sleep deprivation. We all have privileges at some point in our lives, the point is that we all support one another so that flexibility in the workplace truly serves all employees in a way that's fair regardless if they use personal time for traveling the world or anyplace where Puppy Dog Pals, Episode 7 isn't playing.
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Featured image by Getty Images
- Confessions of a Working Mother | The New Yorker ›
- The Working-Mom Story Every Young Woman Should Hear ›
- The Truth About Being a Working Mom ›
- 10 Ways Moms Can Balance Work and Family ›
- Dear Working Mom | HuffPost ›
- How The Children Of Working Moms Feel About Them Now ›
- Working Mother: Work-Life Balance Tips & Advice for Moms ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
We all have a dream life that we spend our free time daydreaming about. You know, the one with a loving partner, high-rise apartment, thriving career, and endless abundance. But as much as we can dream about it, there has to be a little extra sprinkle of “magic” to make it become a reality, and that’s when manifestation comes in.
The uptick in manifestation techniques is nothing new to the internet. Since The Secret and the Law of Attraction became available on YouTube in the early 2010s and fast forward to today, where #manifestationtok and #spiritualtok surging in popularity, it’s clear that there are a number of different ways to get what you want out of life with the right action, affirmation, and visualization.
Still, with so many ways to manifest, from scripting to the 3-6-9 Method, it can be hard to know which one to lean into. But there’s one new technique that’s promising to yield “instant results,” and we’re curious about it.
The "I Am Sure" Manifestation
Replying to @A I M E E 🖤 lG: hothighpriestess 🤍 this is the “I am sure” method #iamsuremethod
The “I Am Sure” manifestation gained traction this summer by TikTok creator Sara Perl of @hothighpriestess, who initially introduced the method.
In her original video breaking down the concept, she detailed the steps to use the technique for those looking to “manifest overnight.” To do so, start by stating “I am sure,” followed by “your desired manifestation in the present tense.” If there’s a job, promotion, or text from a crush that you want, then you’d say, “I am sure that I got X job,” or “I am sure that I make a $100K salary.” Repeat this out loud 10 times, or for faster results, write them down on a piece of paper and say it back to yourself whenever the desire comes up.
Using your words and speaking in the present tense, affirmatively, “puts you in the frequency that has that desire,” as Perl states. “We know our thoughts create our reality, but our words create our reality even faster.”
No matter how you choose to manifest your dream life, there’s nothing like channeling a powerful affirmation and some faith to get what you desire. In every instance, though, allow yourself to dismiss any doubt that may try to cloud your hopes in good things coming into your life, and don’t hold too tightly onto the “how” or “when.” Trust the process and know that the “thing” that you desire is just waiting for the perfect time to enter your life.
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