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“You have to choose between your family and your job. If you do both, both will suffer.”

This was said to me in the midst of the pandemic shut down when I was assigned a project with an impossible 72-hour turnaround while my three-year-old needed surgery and my nine-year old child’s babysitter unexpectedly left for a mandatory quarantine at college.

It was the response to my mistake of asking for help. (Later it was determined that the assignment was mistakenly given to me... another group’s responsibility, who’d take several weeks to complete.)

But as a friend pointed out “at least they made my choice crystal clear.” Moms always deal with stuff like this…maybe not so blatantly but subtly….“Don’t you want to go to dinner with the team?” Or a work “perk” being listed as the ability to get breast milk shipped back home for free. ?!

As an HR professional I’ve thought about this over the year …how I’m nervous to come across another person or company like this and how it impacts future jobs and salaries which I see happening now when asked about the gap, a second one because of choosing motherhood over work, temporarily, having put my career first for so long and waiting to have children.

And yesterday when the pharmacy closed unexpectedly, and I heard someone say that they thought everything was short staffed because people were being paid to stay at home, I told him about my story. What I was finding… that it was not an easy choice to still be at home…that my kids needed me and workplaces that glorify all night work as if it were badge of honor were covering the truth…that being short staffed and inefficient does not need to lead to overworked labor. That someone will always make a decision with their bonus in mind. And in my experience having opened a yoga studio long ago, it comes back around in the form of a heart attacks or health problems.

Anxiety is on the rise and change is only going to come from understanding what’s driving people without thinking its about cheating a system or not wanting to work.

I know I just want to work fairly and be able to take care of what is front of me now. And if I can help you with making your work easier, I offer my services.

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