Edition Number 14
Hi Everyone,

This Mother’s Day, I encourage you to calculate the fair market value of your unpaid labor with this interesting tool; an invisible labor calculator! It’s a time sheet of sorts, and asks you to fill out the number of hours you spend each week on “motherly” duties ranging from scheduling appointments and transporting kids to planning and preparing meals.  I came in at about 25K based on an “average” hourly rate one would have had to pay someone else in order to accomplish these tasks.

It’s not that I dislike all of this “free labor;” I enjoy some parts of it immensely and my husband contributes a great deal to the giant family labor pot. The greater problem lies in our society that assumes the work will get done, for free, and is totally fine with it being done largely by women. The solution may not be literally invoicing the Patriarchy but systems and policies to support working families won’t change until the Patriarchy takes notice. That can’t happen until each of us knows our worth.  Our entire worth is certainly not tied to a dollar amount but our invisible labor is. So, what’s your number? Here's one calculator to try: https://www.thedoubleshift.com/calculator.

To also think about in Edition #14; an exciting new model for co-working with kids; an article that reconsiders the idea of female “likeability;” a primer on your lady parts; and new books to explore on motherhood. Summer is right around the corner so I’ve added a round-up of travel backpacks to consider; practical gifts to appreciate teachers and a deeply moving essay on how to or how not to celebrate a bad mom this Mother’s Day.

This weekend I’m wishing you and your mamas an extra special day to take a break, appreciate yourselves, and celebrate everything you do in this grand, multi-faceted, oh-so-TBD role.  And a reminder: Please reach out and email me if you haven’t done so already if you’d like to share a story for the new “TBD Mama” section. New site IS coming soon!  

With love,
We know most spaces are designed by men, for men, and the workplace is no exception. Offices have been created forever without considering the needs of working mothers (pump room in the facilities closet, much?) This episode of the Double Shift spotlights Nido, the nation’s first non-profit co-working space with an on-site Montessori preschool. Based in Durham, NC it's the brainchild of one mother who couldn’t find work that allowed her to care for a young child so she hosted a neighborhood potluck, invited some friends and they all figured it out, co-op style, together.  

A fantastic byproduct of creating physical spaces for nursing women and new parents is that it also creates safe emotional spaces for women to move through their separation anxiety, fears and challenges. Family-designed work spaces also have the benefit of inspiring women to discuss ideas and ways to go forward, rather than back, to their work.  Nido accomplishes all of the above while also enabling new parents to stay connected to their kids during stages when both may feel most vulnerable.

Nido may be a radical outlier but perhaps we are at the onset of a huge paradigm shift where integrated work and family life IS the norm, not the exception. What a fabulous way to re-engage women who step out of the workplace, often reluctantly or out of sheer necessity rather than desire. Imagine if every city had flexible work spaces where motherhood transitions were welcomed, caregiving was a mark of pride rather than shame and a thriving community could emerge that nurtures working parents and their children. I’m in!
Apparently, yes. The first-person experience of being in the moment is altogether different than watching your experience on a screen after the fact and through the lens, literally, of someone else.  

It makes sense that viewing one’s experience immediately after having had the experience would reshape the details, the focus, even the entire memory. Now there is science-based evidence suggesting just that; offering me a stark reminder to check my automatic reflex before taking another picture or video of Karuna instead of fully being there. I’m not anti-photos or videos and they certainly bring joy to watch together but this piece makes the strong, science-based case for pausing before pressing play.
Do you know your vulva from your vagina? I wasn't too sure. Why do I not know this? Maybe because my high school sex ed teacher also taught PE? Or maybe because I can count on both hands the number of times an OB thought to explain anything to me about my anatomy?

Honestly, I’m still unsure just exactly where my ovaries are, how much space they take up and ultimately how they will function pre and post pregnancy. If you're wondering too then check out this quick and informative map to the world of your Vulva- and-All-Its-Accompanying-Lady-Parts. Thanks, Well & Good.

But is she likable enough to win? Clearly, she wasn’t.  Will any woman ever be flawless enough, perfect enough, indeed likable enough to win the ultimate race in 2020? This is such an interesting op-ed in the New York Times that drills down the origins of the “likability” construct; tracing its manufactured roots to Madison Avenue and the biggest dealer of illusion and falsehood: advertising.

This conventional idea of “likeability” has historically followed a set criteria that casts men in this positive role; i.e. strong, bold, enter any other adjective you see fit here to describe the socially dominant gender. And yet, by virtue of the idea having been crafted by ad men in order to promote their own agendas, there is hope yet that a new idea of likeability -- both male and female -- can be reimagined for today.

As more women enter the Big 2020 Race and as more women assert themselves in roles typically reserved for men, the current construct of like-ability might just evolve to accommodate a more inclusive and feminine world view.  If we reimagine a new standard of likeability based on what women actually care about rather than what male marketers of the past assume and desire women to be, then we might just think she's likable enough to be President after all.
It’s Teacher Appreciation week and this piece in Slate shares the most requested items from (public school) teachers across the nation. Not surprisingly, everyday essentials top the list as they’re quickest to run out. Clorox wipes are cited as are basics like pencils, crayons and post-its.

Teachers are undervalued, underpaid, and a whopping 94% percent of them spend their own money on their classrooms. Let’s fill the gap a little bit with one of the basic items suggested here.
What an incredible time to read about motherhood. With over 20 inspiring new titles to have come out in the past six months alone a shift is happening: Women’s voices are being published and the diversity of motherly topics and experiences are finally being recognized by massive, traditional publishing houses. From data-driven guides that debunk conventional advice in Cribtalk to deeply revelatory essays in “ What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About,” the only question might be: Where to start reading?
I have an aversion to backpacks altogether despite the many pragmatic reasons to carry one. Sure there are tons of fashionable options to choose from ranging from the de-luxe Saint Laurent variety to the more approachable Patagonia ilk.  Maybe it’s because a backpack reminds me of high school and I don’t have particularly fond memories there or because there’s an oblivious man in my building who wields a backpack twice his size and whips around without realizing the suitcase on his back might knock someone out.

This T&L list skews more functional than fashionable (sigh, I suppose function is a key consideration when packing for a trip) but the Longchamp take on their classic tote is quite cute as is the leather version from Leatherology which is eerily familiar to the one I was so elated to buy at Fred Segal in 1993. While my backpack block won’t budge that doesn’t mean you couldn’t consider one of these hands-free options for your next family getaway.
Not as in the quote-un-quote "bad" moms portrayed in that mediocre Mila Kunis film but as in bona fide, bad mothers whose undeniably bad actions caused undeniable distress and damage to their children.

I often hesitate to use words like “good” or “bad” but they exist because we need to use them to describe actions and words and patterns that are just that: BAD. While I am so grateful to have cultivated a trusting and solid relationship with my own mother that is neither ambivalent nor conflicted I know this is not the case for so many of us.  

With Mother’s Day right around the corner perhaps the holiday is triggering for those who don’t have a mom to celebrate at all. While this essay doesn’t offer an “answer” for how to move through the challenging day it does convey the wrenching conflict and pain of not knowing how to honor a woman who wasn’t very good at being your mom. For all you mamas who have a bad mom, this essay courtesy of Mothe r magazine is for you.