Category Archives: Parenting

Four Strategies for Disciplining Toddlers That Actually Work

Discipline is never fun, and particularly not when we are all spending so much time at home. I hope you find this helpful! ~Kirsten

Some of these get a bad rap, but they can be surprisingly effective when used correctly.

Your toddler has some pretty big ups and downs—one minute she’s counting to 20 like a genius and the next she’s got her brother in a headlock because he stole a goldfish from her. Sure, she’s figuring out boundaries and “asserting her independence,” but how can you change those lessons from destructive to constructive? Let’s talk about a range of discipline techniques to help you out.

1. Try Timeouts

Because they are a negative form of discipline, timeouts can get a bad rap nowadays. And I certainly wouldn’t recommend them for anything related to the potty, food or tantrums. But timeouts are still a go-to strategy if she’s touching an outlet after repeated warnings, hitting a sibling or not coming to brush her teeth after you’ve asked her ten times. Here are a few keys to success:

  • Nail down the logistics. Pick a boring place near the center of the action (a step works great) and aim for a minute for every year old.
  • Get everyone on the same page. Kids are master manipulators—if they can get away with something under dad’s watch but not mom’s, they’ll work him every time. It’s confusing for kids when consequences aren’t consistent.
  • Debrief after the timeout. Ask her why she got the timeout and what she can do different next time. Keep it short, give her a quick hug and move on. Rather than forcing an apology, try modeling concern for any human or animal victims instead.
  • Avoid the pitfall of too many warnings. Toddlers will tiptoe that line like a ballerina, so just give one warning. Once your toddler knows you’re for real, a countdown becomes quite effective: “If you don’t put that phone down by the count of three, then you’re going to get a timeout. One … two … thank you for listening.”

2. Practice Positive Reinforcement

It can be especially frustrating for us working parents when the interactions we do have with our toddlers feel negative. You don’t want your kid to be in trouble all the time! Enter positive reinforcement, where you set up an incentive before the problem occurs. Let’s look at a few key points:

  • Be very specific. It does not work to say, “If you’re good today, you can watch Curious George.” Focus on one frustrating behavior you want to eliminate. So if your child has been fighting the car seat lately, try this: “We’re going to go get in the car now. I’m bringing Spiderman with me. If you get into car seat right away, then you can have Spiderman! Does that sound like a good idea?”
  • Reward him the right way. When you start, set a low bar for success. He’s smart—once he realizes he has the power to earn things through good behavior, he’ll be more inclined to do it again next time. Keep rewards small. Experiences, such as looking at pictures or listening to a favorite song, are ideal. Sticker charts are a great way to work towards a bigger prize. Take a piece of construction paper and write the grand prize at the bottom. Then draw five blank squares above it and you’re set.

3. Employ “The Circle of Trust”

Dinnertime can be ground zero for your toddler’s bad behavior. Bedtime is in 30 minutes, but she’s feeding mashed potatoes to the dog and shaking milk onto her head. I already told you that timeouts aren’t great for food problems, so what can you do? Let me explain the circle of trust. (Yes, I know I stole it from Robert DeNiro in Meet the Fockers.) When your kiddo repeats the bad behavior you want to discourage, you quickly push her high chair or booster back a couple of feet from the table and go about your eating as if nothing happened. After 30 seconds you ask her if she’s ready to come back to the table and warn her that if she throws food again she’ll be pushed away. Toddlers are quite sensitive to being “out of the circle,” and this is a great low-stress way of changing behavior for the better at mealtime.

4. Make Floor Time

I love floor time. It’s a simple but powerful “backdoor” discipline technique, particularly useful when your toddler is caught in a cycle of seeking negative attention from you. Weekday evenings are a setup for these bad behavior cycles—you have 90 minutes to make dinner, feed your kid, play with him and get him ready for bed. But that fast-paced agenda doesn’t feel so much like attention to him, so he gets it by acting out. Dr. Stanley Greenspan was a child psychiatrist who developed floor time over 40 years ago for kids with autism. But in its simple form it can be a secret weapon for all parents. Try to set aside fifteen minutes several times per week where you are literally down on the floor with your child following his lead. He’s the boss—even if it’s super silly, resist the urge to redirect him. This gives him the attention he craves in a healthier way, and you’re going to have more happy time with your kid. Whichever technique you’re using with your toddler, remember to think firm but loving—be confident in your bond and in the person you’re trying to raise!


Dr. Luke Voytas is the author of Beyond the Checkup from Birth to Age Four: A Pediatrician's Guide to Calm, Confident Parenting. He is a full-time pediatrician at Evergreen Pediatrics in Vancouver, WA. He has also served as the chair of pediatrics at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, the largest hospital in southwest Washington. He is known for his ability to help even the most anxious parents learn to feel confident about what they're doing for their kids. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife (who is also a pediatrician) and their kids.

Written by Luke Voytas M.D. for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

The Best Ways Family-Friendly Companies are Helping Employees with Childcare Right Now

I wish we could all be so lucky to work for companies who are able to make it through COVID successfully, and also be able to help with childcare. Food for thought…

It’s no secret working moms are anxious, overworked and on the verge of quitting their jobs. With just one in seven kids returning to full-time school this fall, and daycares shuttering across the country, many parents are bracing for months more of desperately trying to perform the role of teacher, cook, housekeeper and employee, all at once.

Thankfully, some companies recognize that working parents have been put in an untenable position, with little chance of relief on the horizon. In addition to offering benefits such as flexible and/or reduced schedules and paid leave, many have added or expanded programs meant to help parents cover the cost of childcare.

That’s crucial because high-quality childcare is so difficult to find right now. In California, for example, a quarter of daycares have closed, equaling a loss of 19,000 spots. Experts warn that up to 40 percent of daycares could permanently close across the country if Congress doesn’t provide the industry with more financial aid. And parents who can afford it have snapped up private sitters and tutors, leaving fewer and fewer affordable choices for working parents who could use a reprieve.

Bridget Garsh, the COO and co-founder of NeighborSchools, a site that connects parents with small family childcare providers, said she’s heard from HR leaders from companies both large and small, who are searching for ways to support working parents “because the problem simply can’t be ignored any longer.”

“The majority of companies have historically under-valued and under-appreciated the importance of childcare for their workforce, especially working moms, and they have largely left parents to fend for themselves,” she says, noting that only 19 percent of companies provide childcare benefits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey. “Of those that have offered childcare benefits, they’ve primarily included corporate centers with limited spots and expensive price points that are simply unaffordable for many families or backup care options which don’t cover parents’ long-term needs. COVID has forced companies to realize that parents simply can’t do their jobs without childcare. They’re less productive, their stress levels are through the roof and sadly many of them are thinking of leaving the workforce because it’s all too much.”

That’s what KPMG LLP learned from the check-in surveys and focus groups it began hosting to keep abreast of how its employees are doing and what additional support or resources they may need. “One of the things we heard loud and clear is that while work-life balance is a challenge for everyone right now, it’s a particularly significant concern for parents and caregivers as the new school year begins amid so much uncertainty,” says Darren H. Burton, their vice chair of HR. “Once we heard this, we went right to work to identify ways we can provide assistance, by enhancing some of our existing benefits programs and introducing new ones.”

The professional services firm quadrupled the number of backup care days available to employees, expanded access to discounted tutoring, academic support and homework assistance and expanded its network of childcare centers to offer discounts at more than 2,000 centers nationwide.

KPMG isn’t alone. Childcare benefits are becoming a big way companies are helping working parents right now. Here are the additional perks other top employers are offering:

Sanofi

The biopharmaceutical company offered 25 days of emergency backup care March through May. In June, Sanofi offered another 25 days of subsidized in-home or center-based backup care for all employees. Employees also have free membership to an online tool that provides access to nannies, sitters, home cleaners, pet caretakers and more.

Boston Scientific

The medical solutions company has increased its backup care and now offers 15 days through Care.com, as well as covering “out of network” caregivers so that working parents have the flexibility to use those subsidized days for caregivers within their personal networks. The company is also launching programs to facilitate learning pods as well as nanny shares for employees who live near each other.

Bank of America

Bank of America might have the most generous backup childcare program available—there’s no limit on the number of days employees can claim while they’re working from home or in the office through year-end. Starting August 16 and running through December 31, the bank’s employees can get daily childcare reimbursements of $75 or $100, depending on their compensation, for children up to and including 12 years of age. For children with special needs, the age requirement is up to 21 years of age. Employees also get priority access to learning hubs for school-age children, which will be offered through a Bright Horizons partnership with Mathnasium and Sylvan, providing the opportunity for children in distance learning to participate in small groups with an in-person educator.

Zoetis

Before COVID-19, the animal health company offered employees whose childcare fell through 10 days a year to send their children to a backup facility run by Bright Horizons. Employees paid $15 a day for one child or $25 daily for two or more kids. Employees who used in-home backup childcare were reimbursed for $6 an hour, but they had to use a caregiver in the Bright Horizons network. The company changed its childcare offerings, and now employees can use whomever they wanted to watch their child—family members, friends, neighbors—and they can receive reimbursement of $100 a day for 40 days. Employees also have free access to Sittercity, an online marketplace for in-home care.

PwC

The professional services firm doubled its backup care reimbursement to $2,000 and is offering discounts on nanny placements, tuition programs and tutoring.

Salesforce

In June, the cloud-based software company increased its global backup childcare offerings through the summer so employees can get reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days each month. In August, the company extended that through the end of January 2021.

Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

5 Yoga Poses That Can Relieve Stress

Staying on the theme of stress relief, because this has been an election season like no other! I hope you find this helpful. ~Kirsten

If you’ve experienced more than a little stress from work and family and well, life, then try these five yoga poses to clear your head and unwind your body.

Extended Puppy Pose

When to do it: You’ve been driving or sitting all day or traveling.

In addition to settling a manic mind, this pose will help loosen tight shoulders and an aching back.

How to do it: This pose is like downward facing dog, except your knees remain on the ground. Start by coming onto all fours and walking your hands forward as you curl your toes under. Keep your hips over your ankles as you lower your chest until it hovers about an inch above the ground. Relax your neck (you may want to place a blanket under your forehead) but keep your arms active as you press your palms into the ground. Hold for 30 seconds before relaxing into child’s pose.

Lion Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: To recover from family drama.

Carrying tension in your face and chest? Find relief from emotionally charged situations with this cathartic and energizing pose.

How to do it: Kneel on the ground, tucking one ankle under the other. (If kneeling like this hurts your knees, try placing a block between your feet for a little elevation.) Press your palms against your knees and energetically spread your fingers apart. Inhale through the nose. Then, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out and downward. Open your eyes wide and exhale through your mouth, making a roaring “ha!” sound. Roar as many times you like, contracting the muscles in the front of your throat.

Marichi’s Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: After a day of indulgence.

You ate, drank and were merry. But now all of those indulgences feel like they’re just sitting in your stomach. This pose is known for aiding digestion.

How to do it: Sit on the ground with your legs together and extended in front of you. Bend your right knee over your left leg and place your right foot on the ground. Bring your left heel as close to your sitting bones as possible. As you exhale, twist your torso to the right and place your right palm on the floor. Hook your left elbow over your right knee and use your arm to deepen the twist. Keep your left leg extended and continue to lengthen the spine upward as you twist. Repeat on the other side.

Legs Up The Wall

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: You can’t get to sleep (or stay there).

It’s time for bed, but your body and brain are fighting you like a petulant toddler. Legs up the wall can help with general anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.

How to do it: The key to this pose is getting your butt as close to the wall as possible. It’s helpful to start by laying on your side with your knees tucked into your chest. In this position, wriggle yourself toward the wall until your butt is pressed against it. Extend your legs and pivot your body until you’re lying on your back and the backs of your legs are resting against the wall. You can rest your arms alongside the body or place your hands on your belly. Relax here for up to 15 minutes.

Locust Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: Your energy is zapped but your to-do list is overwhelming.

This energizing backbend pose can help you find your second (or third) wind when you simply can’t afford to be weary.

How to do it: Lie facedown with your arms along your sides. Let your forehead rest on the floor as you inwardly rotate your thighs. As you exhale, lift your head, torso, arms and legs so that you’re resting on your belly and pelvis. Roll back your shoulders, but be careful not to strain your neck. Hold the pose for up to a minute, maintaining steady breathing and focusing on finding length in the spine and legs. Release the pose and rest. Repeat one to two times.

Written by Jenessa Connor for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Mindfulness Every Day, Every Way

Not sleeping? Only a day until a huge election, I can tell you I am not sleeping. My stomach is in knots and I find myself holding my breath. I need some serious help with mindfulness! I keep trying to come back to happy thoughts, like seeing this stunning humpback whale. I hope this article helps you too. XO, Kirsten

When we think of the word mindfulness, a number of definitions rise to the top, such as being present and thoughtful. On paper, they sound reasonable but when we add in the element of human behavior and our unpredictable nature, two other words enter the mindful lexicon – reacting and responding.

What is the difference between reacting and responding? They seem interchangeable, but actually couldn’t be any more different in stressful moments. Reacting to a situation is acting without giving the action itself much thought. It tends to be quick, impulsive, and emotionally driven. Responding to a situation is a more thoughtful action, it is cool, calm, and collected. What if I told you that the simple act of mindfulness could be the key to more positive interactions and outcomes, despite any challenging moments that life might throw at you?

Reactions vs. Responses

Stressful moments in life are going to happen no matter what. This is a known fact. When was the last time that you were in a decent mood until a small annoyance or upsetting interaction happened and it ended up ruining your morning, afternoon, or even your entire day? Let’s say someone you live with forgets to do the one thing that you’ve asked them to do or your neighbor starts a sentence off with “no offense,” and then continues to say something offensive. A reaction to these situations might be snapping at them, getting defensive, or saying something hurtful. A response would start with asking questions to better understand their intention behind their actions before jumping to a conclusion or impulsively conveying the first set of feelings that arose from the situation.

Mindfulness as a Solution

When an annoying or hurtful event like this happens, a thought or emotion first forms, such as thinking your request was not honored and respected or feeling offended and hurt by your neighbor’s comment. These thoughts and feelings can take control if you allow them to. How and what you choose to do at this point changes the potential action and outcome for you and the other person. Reactions are subconscious actions fueled by a thought or feeling – they tend to push out any other (perhaps more appropriate) idea or response. It creates a knee-jerk reaction.

However, when you take a moment to practice mindfulness, you can stop the thoughts and feelings from controlling your action or mood. This helps you regulate your emotions.

Practice this the next time a stressful situation arises:


1. Take a moment to breathe. 

Try square breathing. Breathe from the stomach (not the chest) and inhale deeply for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold again for 4 seconds). It’s a secret trick that Navy Seals use when they are in very stressful situations because it calms the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). This is the fight or flight response system. By regulating your breath, it brings you back to the present moment and away from negative thoughts that have a tendency to stay put. Square breathing also helps regulate and calms the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), which regulates the heart, breathing, and cortisol levels.

2. Acknowledge the physical feelings in your body.

Maybe you can feel your shoulders tensing or your face starting to get warm. Do your best to correct the physical sensations that you have control over, such as relaxing your shoulders, or simply just observe the sensations you can’t immediately control, like your face warming up. Don’t judge these physical feelings. Instead, listen to what they are trying to communicate to you whether that is stress, anger, or another emotional reaction. If you notice a thought starting to come up for you, don’t judge that either. Acknowledge that the thought exists and tuck it away for later. By no longer resisting your experience, you are able to accept the present moment.

3. Return to the present moment.

Take note of 3 things in your surroundings. These things can be as simple as the rug on the floor or the leaves on a houseplant. You could even notice smells or sounds that you hear, anything that brings you back to the present situation slowly and calmly.

4. Set your intentions.

What is the desired outcome? If it is to be heard or feel respected when making a request to others, you might set the intention of understanding to help bring you to that outcome. If you are seeking an outcome where you can voice your hurt and be understood and acknowledged, you might set the intention of compassion for both yourself and the one who has hurt you. In cases where interaction with others is not applicable, you might set the intention of letting the situation “roll-off” of your back and not impact the rest of your day.

5. Seek a More Positive Outcome.

Giving yourself a moment (or more) of mindfulness and setting your intention before acting or speaking can completely change the way that your action is received. Doing so can subtly adjust your tone, delivery, and message. That thoughtful response and calmer demeanor in a situation tend to have a better chance of a more positive and desired outcome. And even in situations where you aren’t necessarily interacting with others, these tips can help you to ensure your day is not ruined by life’s small annoyances.

Just like with a muscle, the more you use and exercise it, the stronger it will get over time. Practicing mindfulness will become easier and feel more natural the more you use it. It’s important to know that it is a continual practice, you won’t just master it one day and never need to practice it again. It’s unrealistic to be perfect. You are a human with naturally occurring thoughts and emotions. Knowing that mindfulness is a lifelong practice that controls negative thoughts will allow you to be more gentle and forgiving of yourself when you start to feel difficult emotional reactions. 

An added benefit of practicing mindfulness in everyday life is reduced stress levels. Stress, especially over long periods, puts added pressure on the body and can disrupt several biological systems.

Written by Breanne Smith for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Mommy Needs a Time Out

Moms do need time alone. This was true before the pandemic, and even more so now, when we are spending almost all of our time at home with our kids. Make a space for yourself to be alone, because we all need it at times, and that kind of self-care is necessary.

Namaste, Ladies

I’m one of those working moms who is always asked how I do it all. I’m not proud of it. It’s really just a testament to my ability to smack a smile on my face regardless of how insane I’m feeling at the moment. I think most working moms ( and let’s be honest this includes women who stay at home and their full-time job is being their families’ CEO ) are frighteningly good at acting like we have it all under control even when we feel like we are drowning.

Last week was one of those weeks. I felt overwhelmed at work , my oldest son was completely bombing seventh grade , I was a nervous wreck because I have a major test in eight weeks that I feel woefully underprepared for, oh yeah, and just for fun I broke out in a stress rash. Good times. But I was determined to just push through it. I could feel the stress in every muscle in my body. I was snapping at everyone. I just couldn’t bear to have one more thing put on my plate.

Then my friend insisted that she was going to stop by. The thought of taking even fifteen minutes out from studying sent me into a tailspin of frustration and anger. Didn’t anyone get how overwhelmed I was feeling? Couldn’t people manage without me for just one day?

My friend walked through the door and gave me those girlfriend-wtf-is going-on-with-you- eyes. I tried to fake it better. And by “it” I mean acting like I wasn’t ready to break down into a sobbing heap on the floor. She sat me down and said she could see how awful I was feeling and then asked if I would do some yoga with her to see if that would help . I’m that girl who doesn’t meditate because relaxing makes me too uptight. Or I fall asleep on the floor for two hours. True story. But this simple recognition of my stress and an offer to try to help nearly had me in tears.

After twenty minutes of cobra pose, downward dog and happy baby I actually felt the stress leaving my body and my mind calming down. And I realized that my pathological urge to “just push forward” was actually making everything worse not better. And that by taking one step back I would be able to take a whole bunch of steps forward because now my brain felt focused and clear instead of stressed and overwhelmed.

Lesson learned: sometimes mommy needs a time out. But be forewarned, the only one who can put this mommy in a time out is me. Telling me I look like I need a break could earn you tears of gratitude but depending on my mental state it could still result in me wanting to punch you in the throat. Namaste.

Written by Nicole Corning for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

The Bittersweet Moment You Realize Your Baby Isn’t a Baby Anymore

I had to admit to this reality quite some time ago, since my boys are now 15 and 12. The crazy thought about that is that it means that I came up with the idea for Kleynimals almost 12 years ago! I admit that I ended up getting a little dog a few years ago, mostly as a way to help eliminate the baby pangs. It was a warm being that I could still carry around and cuddle. LOL. If only we could stop time. ~Kirsten

At some point we are all done having babies—even if we don’t want to be.

A few days ago I met a pregnant friend for lunch, and I couldn’t catch my breath as I walked to the restaurant. My car was filled to the brim with baby gear I was giving her: a crib mattress, a jumper, bodysuits and baby rattles. It was the last of the baby items in our house to be passed on. I realized I was entering a difficult new stage of motherhood: the end of having babies.

I did keep a few sentimental items, but ultimately, I knew the remaining ones should go to families who needed them. Because let’s face it, you need a lot of stuff when you have a baby, and it certainly isn’t cheap. Plus, it’s an established rite of passage to pass on and share baby items with other moms—some of the goods I was giving my friend I had received from other moms, myself. It felt right to pay it forward.

Nevertheless, there is no better way to describe the feeling of giving away the last of your baby stash than completely bittersweet. It occurred to me that nearly every mother goes through a range of emotions when the end of the baby phase occurs, but for me, it was slightly more bitter than sweet.

My husband and I always wanted to have more than one child, but we unfortunately experienced secondary infertility. After several years of failed fertility treatments, we decided to move on and embrace that we were meant to be a family of three. Our almost 4-year-old son, Alexander, would be an only child, but we were grateful for him; he would be loved, and we would enjoy the perks of having only one child.

I would be lying if I said it was simple for me to give away the baby items and move on. It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t easy, but it becomes more bearable with each day that passes. Occasionally, I struggle with reconciling the family structure I had always imagined and the petite family of three we are today. But then I decisively shift my thoughts on to acceptance and gratitude for my beautiful life at the present. Letting go of the last of the baby items was a big step in accepting our circumstances and living in the present.

Either way, the end of having babies is universally bittersweet for all moms, because at one point we will all be done having babies. We reflect upon the time past, and we worry we did not treasure it enough. Our once squishy, cooing babies who used to fall asleep in our laps are now tall, little monsters who never want to go to sleep and always want to talk about poop and farts. We ponder: Did we stop to grab the baby rolls enough?

Working mothers may take the end of this phase even harder. We question our choices and whether we weren’t present enough. A perfect example: I missed my son crawling for the first time while I was out of town at a work conference. Should I have been at home, so that I didn’t miss that moment? But then, logic hits me. I could have been at the grocery store or the post office when he crawled, so I couldn’t blame work. I still believe we need to have independent pursuits and passions outside of parenting, to be the best version of parents we can be.

As I exit this phase of motherhood, with my heart full of memories, and step into the next phase, I’ve realized:

The end of the baby phase is bitter.

There is something that is purely magical about a baby’s first year that can never be replicated in a child’s later years. The first few months of feeling pure awe and joy. The baby’s first noises, eye contact, smiles and coos. The first time they recognize your voice. The first snuggles. The first steps. These are the most wonderful moments that you will never forget, and we will miss it.

But, the end of the baby phase is sweet.

Sleeping is so wonderful. My child understands me when I speak to him. He laughs at my jokes. He feeds himself (mostly). He attempts to wipe his own butt, and we are no longer putting Mr. Pampers’ kids through college. Travel is much more feasible, and we can order him almost anything off a menu instead of having to worry about making him a bottle.

It is all bittersweet. My little man has become just that, a little man, and I’m loving each step of this adventure in motherhood.

Written by Heather Schwartz Sanderson for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Dads Three Times as Likely as Moms to Receive a Promotion While Working From Home During COVID

This pandemic has revealed so much inequality in our country, it’s disappointing to add one more thing to the list. A shout out to all Mom’s… Here’s to you and the incredible job you do juggling everything! ~Kirsten

While the COVID-19 crisis has ushered in an array of unsettling changes, one outcome has been touted as overwhelmingly positive and long overdue: the shift to remote work.

Freed from the burden of commuting to an office, employees are more productive and have more time to manage family obligations, or so the thinking goes. But in a world where domestic duties typically fall to moms—as the pandemic has made painfully obvious—does working from home really leave mothers and fathers on equal footing? Not even close, according to the results of a new survey from theBoardlist and Qualtrics.

Men and women have vastly different takes on how working from home has impacted their careers. The poll surveyed 1,051 US adults between the ages of 18 and 65, including 685 respondents with children. Almost half of men (42 percent) believed that working from home for an extended period of time would have a positive affect on their career progression, but only 15 percent of women said the same. Nearly half (49 percent) of female respondents believed it wouldn’t have an impact either way, versus 20 percent for men. Twice as many women as men believed it could have a somewhat or extremely negative impact on their careers (19 percent vs. 9 percent, respectively).

A deeper dive into the data proves that women are right to be wary of remote work: Over one-third of men with children at home (34 percent) say they’ve received a promotion while working remotely, while only 9 percent of women with children at home say the same. On a similar note, 26 percent of men with children at home say they’ve received a pay raise while working remotely, while only 13 percent of similarly situated women say the same. Dads were also far more likely than moms to have taken on additional leadership, been given responsibility for important projects, to have received praise or recognition inside the company and to have received a positive formal review while working remotely.

“Because women often earn less than their male partners, women more often choose to leave their careers at the height of their advancement and earning power in order to raise children and keep their households running. The hardest part of that equation is that employers often judge female employees as less dedicated to their jobs as a result when often it is the farthest thing from the truth,” said Shannon Gordon, CEO of theBoardlist.

Other recent studies confirm that moms have scaled back their working hours lately. A study published in the academic journal Gender, Work & Organization revealed that mothers have reduced their work hours four to five times more than fathers in heterosexual couples where both the mother and father were continuously employed and have children under 13, reports The New York Times.

Even when we are working, it’s not always easy to focus. Dads are also far more likely to say they’ve been more productive working from home (77 percent) compared to 46 of moms who say the same, according to the survey from theBoardlist and Qualtrics. Similarly, an English study found that dads get twice as much uninterrupted work time during the day (5.1 hours) compared to moms (at 2.6). Nearly half (47 percent) of moms’ paid work hours are split between work and other distractions.

You can probably guess just what those “distractions” are: making lunch, dispensing snacks, helping with school assignments, putting away dishes… the list is infinite. And while research shows men are pitching in more around the house during the pandemic, there’s simply too much work to be done without the army of caretakers and teachers parents typically rely on. Working moms simply don’t have time for it all. Something has to give, and too often the answer is paid work. A recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, analyzing data collected in the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, found that three times as many out-of-work Millennial moms (defined as those born between 1981 and 1996) cited school or childcare closures as the main reason they weren’t working right now, compared to only 11 percent of Millennial dads who said it was why they weren’t working.

Experts have long hoped that remote work would lead to a more diverse workforce, and there are good reasons to believe they’re right. “If someone can work remotely for their position, that removes one financial barrier to entry by eliminating relocation fees and paying for housing in a more expensive city. It also creates geographic diversity by opening up an entirely new pool of talent because the candidate can be located anywhere,” said Manon DeFelice, the founder and CEO of Inkwell, in an op-ed for Working Mother.

But this most recent survey seems to confirm what economists have feared: that the pandemic could have a long-lasting negative impact on women’s advancement in the workforce, and working from home might not be a panacea for our problems, after all. “Our study findings would indicate that women are cognizant that their careers could be impacted more than men if they were to work from home often,” Gordon says. “This discrepancy should be a red flag for employers.”

Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

How 12 Working Parents Plan to Handle Summer Childcare During a Pandemic

This summer is weird and problematic for all of us. It’s really hard to think of all that our kids are missing and how “not normal” this summer of their childhood is. It’s a lot for us as parents to handle emotionally, and even harder to manage when we are also balancing work obligations. I hope you find these tips helpful. ~Kirsten

Finding the right camp or sitter for the summer has never been easy for working parents, but this year the COVID-19 crisis has made those decisions downright daunting.

Do working parents send our kids to camp or daycare and risk exposing them to the virus? Do we ask Grandma to watch the kids, knowing she’s especially at risk if she catches COVID-19? Or do we continue to watch them while working from home, feeling guilty about all the screentime they’re getting? Not to mention, it’s not exactly the best time to be perceived as distracted at work, in an era of mass layoffs. Or do you (gulp) quit your job or take a furlough just to get through this challenging time?

There are no easy answers, and each family will have to weigh the risks and benefits of each option and make the decision that works best for them. As for my family, we’ve decided to cancel summer camp for our son, because it would have required a commute on the subway here in New York City, and instead we will send him to daycare with his baby sister when it reopens. We aren’t great (read: really bad) at working from home while taking care of a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old.

Here’s what other working parents plan on doing, and why:

Going back to daycare/preschool.

“My kids start preschool on June 1, with lots of extra protocols and smaller class sizes. We are looking forward to some normalcy and them having friends to play with. And I’ve read a lot about kids not likely being good spreaders of the virus. It’s a risk we feel we have to take for our jobs to remain stable.” —Samantha Walsh, mom of two, officer of advancement and development at a Jewish day school, Denver, Colorado

Working from home without childcare

“Our daughter was going to go to camp before starting kindergarten in the fall, but it has been canceled. For now, our plan is to keep her home this summer. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic so he is off enough that I can get work done—as a freelancer, I can be flexible with my work hours. Plus, we just don't feel safe sending her, and we wouldn't have sent her to camp if the decision wasn't made for us. There's still so much unknown about the virus, and we'd much rather make do this summer, create "camp" experiences in our backyard, carve out some time for kindergarten readiness activities and hope that things will feel better/safer come fall so Mila can start kindergarten.” —Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal, mom of one, freelance writer, Fairfield, Connecticut

“I’m working the summer without childcare. I already paid for a spot in summer camp—as of now, they are planning on opening, but I’m not optimistic. Honestly my summer plan is not to have a nervous breakdown.” —Italia Granshaw, mom of one, chief of staff at Office of New York State Assembly, North Bellmore, New York

“We are still undecided, but leaning toward not sending the kids to camp. Our daughter's June dance camp has canceled, and we're still waiting to see what the sports and dance camps do for July and August. My kids are older, 8 and 13, and my husband is also working from home. We can easily keep up our current arrangements. I just feel badly for the kids—while we have a big backyard, they miss their activities and hanging out with friends.” —Jacqueline LaBrocca, mom of two, senior director of conference operations and logistics, Salisbury Mills, New York

“Most of the camps near us are now canceling. Some have canceled only for June right now and plan to do virtual camps. That just seems like more work for us, and I don't think my daughters would appreciate it or find it interesting. Some camps have said they will be open for my older daughter but not my younger daughter, a 6-year-old. This also is not helpful. We've come up with a system that works for us while we are working from home, so we'll just continue that. With the new data coming out about how this virus impacts kids, it just doesn't feel safe.” —Marianne Drexler, mom of two, university program coordinator, Durham, North Carolina

“I'm going to keep working from home with the kids, even though it's bad for our mental health. Our daycare for Zach, 2, so far, is taking more children as of June 1 (they've been open this whole time for essential workers with up to 10 kids at a time), and I haven't gotten word about camp for Jeremy, 6, but I'm not comfortable sending them into any group situations yet. We all had some sort of virus in mid-March, but we couldn't get tested when we tried. Because there are reports of reinfections, and experts say it could take as many as six weeks to know whether cases are truly going up or down because of reopenings, I'm going to continue on as we have these past nine weeks. I already wish I had kept the kids out of daycare and school those first couple of weeks of March. I don't want to regret sending them in again. And maybe by keeping my kids home, I'm keeping other families healthy.” —Meredith Bodgas, mom of two, Working Mother editor-in-chief, Bellmore, New York

Hiring a sitter

"Still no word on camp. Some are opening, some aren’t. We have a nanny starting today. That does freak me out, but the daycare/camp suggested reopening instructions were far freakier: Temperature checks twice a day. Kids in groups of five max. Everyone masked all day, including kids 3 and over. How can I ask my 3-year-old to be masked ALL day? He’d flip out." —Rachel Stuhler, mom of two, screenwriter, Los Angeles

Relying on grandparents

“I’m hoping summer camp/daycare opens. If not, Grandma will come to babysit some of the days. I can’t have the kids inside on an iPad all summer long.” —Nicole Beniamini, mom of two, vice president at Edison Research, Hillsborough, NJ

“I’ll be honest. Up until now, we quarantined. My in-laws also quarantined. Since we know no one in the two households has seen anyone, and we tested negative, they will help us once summer break hits. Without that, I don’t know what we would have done. Camp is canceled and our daycare is closed until at least July 7.” —Larry Collica, dad of two, senior manager of retail planning, Northridge, California

Relocating

“We live in Brooklyn, but we’ve been renting a house in the Catskill Mountains with another family in our neighborhood who we knew had been self-isolating as well. We have a 2-year-old son and they have two boys, a 3-year-old and 20-month-old. The seven of us have formed a parenting co-op. Each of us takes a two-hour childcare shift during the day. This allows each of us to put in almost a full day's work. It's been a truly ideal scenario, and I think all of the kids have really thrived from the social interaction they're getting with each other. But my husband was recently laid off from his advertising job. So, as sad as we are to leave the mountain house, it’s more important to us to keep our regular nanny employed and make other arrangements. We're taking a road trip to St. Louis, Missouri, to stay with my in-laws until at least August. They have a yard, a pool and ample space, which we think will be best for our son. We know none of these solutions is perfect and all carry their own risks, and we're very much aware of how lucky we are to even have these options, but it's what is working for us for now.” —Lindsey Perlstein, mom of one and content director, Brooklyn, New York

For many parents across the country, like Daniela Egan, a fundraising director in Boston, there are still too many unknowns, even this close to the summer. "Massachusetts has closed all daycares (except for some open for essential workers) through June 29. We use our work's daycare, and I'm not sure if they will want to delay beyond what the state advises or if reduced capacity will mean reduced days for us. Plus, I don't think our campus will be bringing back employees like us anytime soon. My husband and I split our days so we each get about five hours of working time during the day, plus evenings and weekends as we need it. (Spoiler, we do). I guess the plan is to continue in this status quo through the summer if we need to…"

No matter what you decide—or when you decide it—rest assured that there are plenty of parents agonizing about the best way protect their kids, their job and their sanity this summer.

Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

What Is Tapping? How Emotional-Freedom Technique Is the Perfect Stress-Reliever for Moms (or really anyone)

These are stressful times for all of us. I feel like all of my friends report high anxiety, sadness and trouble sleeping. Most news reports support this same trend. Tapping is an interesting technique that, I admit, I always forget about when I am stressed… then I read something that reminds me about tapping and I think, “I really have to use that stress reliever more often.” I found this article and it was a good reminder (again). Let me know if it helps you! ~Kirsten

San Diego-based Irina Jordan is the CMO for concussion-assessment technology company ImPACT Applications Inc. Married with three children, she, like other working moms, deals with her share of anxiety. She felt like she was always on a quest for a healthy stress reliever. Last year, she found a fix almost accidentally.

Irina, who is a fan of author Gabrielle Bernstein, was watching one of her YouTube videos when she “noticed her doing this tapping thing when she was talking,” Irina says. “Tapping her head. Tapping her face. I did a Google search and found she had made videos about that tapping. I watched them, did more research, and decided to try tapping on my own.”

Irina found more tapping how-to videos on YouTube and started practicing the technique a few days later. She hasn’t stopped since. She even taught her children—ages 8, 11 and 14—as well as a community of local businesswomen. “I use it whenever I feel triggered. Maybe I just had a meeting with a colleague and now I feel anxious, so I tap to make that anxiety go away,” she says. She also sometimes taps preemptively. “If I anticipate a stressful conference call, I will tap beforehand.”

Working moms experience a drop in their well-being when they feel inadequate and under pressure, according to research published in the Springer Journal of Happiness Studies. That affects how they interact with their children. Add the pressure of working while caregiving during the COVID-19 era— and not having access to the usual stress relievers, such as hitting the gym or going out with friends—tapping might be the mental-health helper you need now.

A Touching Technique

Tapping, otherwise known as emotional-freedom technique for its anxiety-reducing effect, is a self-help strategy that has people literally tapping on their bodies, homing in on specific acupuncture points on the hand, face, head and upper body. As the tapping takes place, it affects a part of the brain called the amygdala, which controls emotions and the fight-or-flight response, according to Donna Bach, N.D., a traditional naturopathic practitioner and tapping expert, who helped run many tapping studies. Because it’s noninvasive, anyone can do it anytime, anywhere (just wash your hands first).

The majority of people who tap these days, like Irina, learn through free videos on YouTube or phone apps. The New York Times bestselling author and tapping expert Jessica Ortner, who created a tapping app in October 2018, says anyone can learn how to do it in a few hours. The process starts by studying the nine acupuncture points to tap and following the onscreen demos. Then, you can add in some positive affirmations and imagery. Experts suggest saying out loud what you’re hoping to accomplish as you tap each point, such as ditching a bad feeling or achieving a specific goal.

“You can repeat the word or phrase silently. But people who say it out loud tend to stay focused better since their mind doesn’t wander as much,” Dr. Bach says.

“Gently tap seven to 10 times per point using two or three fingers—the same way you might impatiently tap on a table,” Ortner says. “If both hands are free, you can tap with both hands, but if not, one works as well.”

Move through all nine points to complete a round. Experts suggest doing two or three rounds when you’re feeling anxious or upset, spending a few minutes on each round. One round is enough to boost relaxation and create change inside your body, though, Dr. Bach says.

“But if you’re still feeling any fear, pain or anxiety, you can do the whole round over and over again,” she says.

Proving the Point

Tapping has been around only since 1995, when it was first introduced by Gary Craig, a Stanford University engineer, but it’s based on an ancient science—the Chinese meridian system. Tapping and acupuncture practitioners alike believe that we have internal energy called “qi,” which flows through our meridian points. By manipulating those points, practitioners can move and direct the energy that flows through it, calming the mind and body.

Much like acupuncture, there’s plenty of research behind tapping. For example, one of about 100 tapping studies investigated if tapping could affect levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In that study, test subjects were split into three groups: Some people tapped, some did talk therapy with a pro, and the rest relaxed alone in a quiet setting.

“It was a triple-blind study looking at biological markers,” explains Dawson Church, Ph.D., a lead on the study, who is also the CEO of Energy Psychology Group Inc.

“We saw anxiety and depression symptoms drop right away [in the tapping group], but the more impressive thing was that cortisol levels dropped dramatically after just one hourlong session. If you tell me that a patient feels less depressed or anxious that’s great, but if you tell me that patient’s actual biology changes, that makes me sit up and take notice,” Dr. Church says. He’s run dozens of other clinical trials.

Adds Dr. Bach: “When we did our research, we took saliva samples, and we saw lowered cortisol levels and an increase of immunoglobulins, which increases the immune system, reduces heart rate and decreases blood pressure.”

Other studies have linked tapping to reduced food cravings, improved post-traumatic stress disorder, reduced pain and fear during childbirth, improved sports performance, and eliminated dental-work anxiety.

Finding Peace with Tapping

Speech pathologist Maryann Sucich-Massari, from Glen Head, New York, started tapping to deal with a work problem that was keeping her up at night. She read about tapping on hayhouse.com, a website with courses and educational offerings.

“It was 3 a.m., and I couldn’t sleep. I found this video and started tapping, and immediately felt calm.” She didn’t want to learn tapping by herself, so she found a practitioner online. Maryann paid $625 for six phone sessions for that pro to talk her through tapping, giving her scripts to use, and uncovering the big issues she needed to work on.

“Tapping turned everything in my head way down,” Maryann says. She now taps on her own as an antidote to the stress that comes along with a busy schedule, working with children with autism, and taking care of her own family. “There’s a lot of paperwork, and I get lonely since I’m one-on-one with children all day,” Maryann says. “I tap and focus on my emotions and the outcomes I want.”

Ortner, who was a tapper before she was a tapping entrepreneur, says working parents such as Maryann can use tapping at home and in the office—even while in the middle of a meeting. “If you’re with people and you’re feeling stress, you can hold your hand and tap discreetly so no one notices,” she says. Dr. Church notes that situational tapping—before giving a speech, during a tough commute, or while trying to wrangle kids—is actually the perfect time to tap.

Irina says she’s comfortable tapping anywhere, including at the office, and is happy if someone asks her what she’s doing; she likes explaining what tapping is and how it works. “I don’t do woo-woo stuff, and this isn’t woo-woo,” she says.

This “woo-woo” factor is one of the things that can hold people back from trying the technique, Dr. Church says. “The largest misconception people have about energy therapies is that they aren’t visible, so they can’t possibly be effective. It’s hard for humans to accept that energy can change anything. However, we scientists see that it’s changing gene expression, it’s changing biology, it’s changing blood-chemical levels. It’s not mystical or impossible. It’s happening.”

The Tapping Points

Tapping Points with text
. Working Mother

By tapping on the nine points in order, you complete one round of the anxiety-reducing practice.

There are nine tapping points, including the sides of the hands right below the pinkie, as well as spots on the face and upper body. Once you "activate" the starting point under the pinkie, you move around as follows:

Point 1: The “karate-chop point,” right below the pinkie fingers.

Point 2: At the beginning of your eyebrows, nearest to the nose, right where the hair starts.

Point 3: Outer end of the eyebrows, right on the bone.

Point 4: On the bone right below the eye, where your pupils would be if they were lower and you were looking straight ahead.

Point 5: Below the nostrils in the philtrum, the small groove above your upper lip.

Point 6: About midway between the lowest point of your bottom lip and your chin.

Point 7: Middle of the collarbone.

Point 8: Under the arm, right above where your bra ends.

Point 9: At the top of the head.

Written by Karen J. Bannan for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

How to Work from Home with a Baby During the Coronavirus Pandemic

While many restrictions have been lifted for the lockdown, those that can still work from home are doing so. Caring for young children while juggling zoom calls is our new reality for the foreseeable future while we await a vaccine. I hope you find this helpful. Of course, I must note that she recommends finding new toys… think KLEYNIMALS! Stay safe! ~Kirsten

An executive VP shares her tips for balancing work and raising her infant amid a global crisis.

Being a new mom is an amazing challenge in and of itself. Since having my son nine months ago, I have experienced the high of a love like none other, the low of postpartum depression and every emotion in between. Once my maternity leave was over, and I got into the rhythm of working again and feeling comfortable and confident in his daycare, bam—here comes a pandemic.

Working with a newborn at home is definitely difficult. My son is not old enough to e-learn and requires attention from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep. Today I’m sharing a few tips on how my husband and I have found a working balance to keep everything moving.

1. Set a routine for yourself.

While it’s too soon to really get your infant on a structured timeline, if you are type A like I am, you will need a structure for yourself. Still set an alarm and shower before your little one wakes up. Take a few hours of normalcy after your child’s bedtime to vent with your girlfriends or enjoy a glass of wine.

2. Create a shared calendar with your significant other.

With a baby that cannot communicate its needs, it is so important that someone is always available. My husband and I have gotten into the routine of adding our meetings to each other’s Google calendars so that we are sure that, as much as possible, we are not overlapping in other priorities at any time.

3. Find new toys that entertain and are great for development at your infant’s age, introducing something new each week.

Our current favorites are the Skip Hop 3-Stage Activity Center, the Joovy Spoon Walker, the Fisher-Price Learning Cube and Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy and anything from Kido here in Chicago!

4. Expand the feedings and nighttime routine.

My daycare sends photos of my infant making works of art, learning music with live guitar lessons and doing yoga. And as the saying goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I still find time for developmental lessons in the day-to-day, practicing pincer grasp during lunch, holding the bottle in the evening and more. Spend a little extra time together at each feeding break, and at night, read a few extra books and sing a few more songs.

5. Set out a balanced meal plan, even for an infant.

Do this if your child has started solids, to take care of what daycare traditionally provides. Make sure that they are exploring new textures and flavors.

6. On the weekends, turn “family time” into “personal time.”

We are all in an abundance of the former right now. Where you usually would carve out activities with the kids, get some alone-time R&R. Take that bubble bath, make that phone call and let your significant other handle your little one.

Above all, remember, this is cherished time that you won’t get back.

I feel lucky that I’ve been home for my son’s first words (“dada”—sigh), and for him to learn how to crawl—two things that otherwise he would have been at daycare for.

Written by Lianne Hedditch for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.