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Parenting a Proud Profession

How many email lists do you subscribe to? I get dozens every day. Mostly from people I may never work with, but I care about their success and I learn a lot from them so I’m paying attention.

Yesterday I received a very simple email with a very small ask. It was so well done it got me thinking. Thinking about my clients and how I could build a bridge between them and the ask in the email.

And then around 4:00 am this morning I started to lose sleep. That’s right – that email was so good it woke me up. Well, in fact, menopause probably woke me up. But, Lacey’s email kept me up!

So now here I am, writing to you and thinking about Balanced Good and Lacey’s email. I’m also thinking about a few other things:

❤️ My clients.

❤️ My own journey into mothering and working in the sector.

❤️ The need to better support working parents in our sector.

My Clients

One year into this new business and despite all the advice to focus on a niche I have yet to do it. I love every one of the over 33, incredibly diverse coaching clients I have had so far. Despite some good business coaching it is impossible for me to niche down.

Every single one of the people who has trusted me as their Co-Active Coach has included me on such a transformative and intimate journey my heart holds space for all of them. So far, I work anyone. Anyone who is coachable that is.

However, when I laid awake this morning thinking about my clients - and Lacey’s email, I realized that one third of my clients are female executives with children under 6 years old.

What are the coaching topics that these amazing women bring to the table:

🙁 Transitioning back to work after parental leave.

🙁 Navigating unrealistic expectations at home and at work.

🙁 Juggling between their family’s needs and their work expectations.

🙁 How to carve out space for themselves so they can keep it together for everyone else.

🙁 Advancing the missions of their organizations and also being the caretaker for their staff.

🙁 How they are losing themselves while they try to be everything to everyone all the time.

🙁 Remembering what it felt like to feel joyful!

That is a lot of pressure and stress to have to deal with!

A Proud Profession

Although we don’t get paid money for it, I believe that being responsible for another small human and raising them to add value to society is the biggest, most important job there is. In fact, I still have a bleach stained, torn, and worn sweatshirt that says “Mothering, A Proud Profession.” I wish it still fit!

When I became a mother 27 years ago, I didn’t have to make a choice between being a charity executive (that came later) and being a mom. The choice for me was clear. Going to paid work outside of the house would have cost us more money than it would have brought in. The numbers simply were not there. So, we chose, public transportation, renting, homemade bread, used furniture and rummage sales. I stayed at home with my children and sunk myself into volunteer work until they were in school full time. It was arguably the best time of my life. And then I slowly focussed on my career and an income. You can learn more about that journey here.

The point is, when I think about the pressure on the 8 million women who work in the non-profit sector, with limited resources, unrealistic expectations, toxic workplaces and the need to have to juggle young families my heart aches for them. I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I completely agree with Lacey that we need to do better. We must.

The reality is that most of the physical and emotional labour of parenting young children still lands on the female. And, my experience with my coaching clients is that many of those women, like I was later, have also become the primary income earners for their families.

A Nod to the Dudes

I think it is important to create space to also acknowledge some of the rockstar Dad’s who are just as invested in their children and carry the weight of a pretty demanding paid gig as well. Paul Nazareth, Allen Davidov, Rickesh Lakhani, Robert McGeachy. – and so many others. Dudes, we see you.

If I were to reprint that sweatshirt today, I’d change it to Parenting is a Proud Profession!

My friend and colleague Lacey Kempinski is right. Her message needs to be amplified as it was last year on our podcast and today with this email. We do need to “change the way the sector supports working parents and parental leaves.” If you agree then why not subscribe to her email list? Let’s all do our part to support her efforts to better support parents who give so much to our sector and their kids.

In Summary

I have so much I want talk to you about. Toxic workplaces, employ turnover nd wasted resources to start. These human resource challenges are wasting time and money when the world needs us more than ever. And ultimately my testimony that co-active coaching is transformative for the people wrestling with these issues - obviously so that I can build my own business.

But all that content will have to wait. Because, I find myself up three hours earlier than I need to be, writing to you, about joining Lacey’s movement to change the way we support parents on leave and coming back to work. Why. Because I know first-hand from my clients and my experience that the work needs to be done and I’m so glad she is doing it.

Let’s get to it.


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