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Three Simple Tips to Rebalance the Mental Load in Your Home

Have you found yourself in the “default parenting” role without even realizing how you got there? And by default parenting, I mean that you’re the one who does the lion’s share of the day-to-day work to run your household — managing the kids’ schedules and all the accompanying text chains, making sure your pantry is stocked with food and thinking through meals for the week, getting all the laundry done, folded, and put away, knowing where your child’s favorite soccer jersey is or that special blanket that he/she loves so much, packing lunches… as well as being the primary homework helper, emotional support system and keeper of all things in your house. 

Sound familiar? This is what researchers of gender equity in the home call the “emotional load,” “mental load” or “second shift,” and in many countries, the majority of women carry this burden on top of their responsibilities at work. 

And it’s burning out working mothers at unprecedented rates. 

According to Deloitte’s Women at Work 2022: A Global Outlook Report, 53% of women surveyed say their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago and almost half report feeling burned out. The disruption caused by the pandemic as well as shifts in company expectations led to the Great Resignation where more than a million women left the workforce (myself included) because their caretaking responsibilities became too much. And now we are seeing the “great breakup,” with female leaders demanding more from their employers and willing to leave their current jobs to get it.

It is estimated that women spend on average three to six hours per day on cooking, cleaning, and other domestic tasks, compared to men’s average 30 minutes to two hours. And according to a January 2020 report from Oxfam, the unpaid labor of women and girls around the world contributes an estimated $10.8 trillion to the global economy each year. Women’s unpaid labor at home increased by 153% during the pandemic, and it’s estimated they experienced approximately $800 billion in lost income.

These are mind boggling statistics and a huge challenge for the overall care economy, the fastest growing sector of work in the world. So how can we begin to solve these mounting gender equity issues and tip the scale to make invisible labor at home more equal?

Eve Rodsky’s New York Times best selling book Fair Play provides a framework for how to start. A Harvard trained mediation lawyer, the premise of her book is that our home is our most important organization and without systems and processes in place to make it run efficiently, other areas of our life will begin to crack. While I highly recommend reading the book, here are some simple strategies you can implement in your home right away:

1. Take a step back and ask yourself if there are better, more efficient ways to organize your home life

When you are operating on autopilot, hammering out the 22 things on your personal to-do list on top of a full day of meetings, the daily grind can be exhausting. And in many cases you may find yourself deciding that it’s easier to just do it yourself instead of delegating or asking for help. 

This mentality leads to overwhelm and could eventually burn you out. 

First: Take stock of everything on your plate and make a list of your invisible work — whatever you do to run your household. And do include everything — even small tasks like taking a minute to reply to a school email.

Then assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to each task, and consider your partner’s as well. Add these as notes next to each item on the list. 

Next: Ask yourself which tasks you wish you had help with. Which tasks bring you resentment? Which ones do you absolutely hate doing? Ask your partner the same questions. 

Finally: Ask yourself which tasks you’re willing to let go of completely. Sometimes for high achieving, people pleasing, Type A personalities, giving up control and allowing someone else to take over can be the hardest part. 

Let’s say that through this exercise you discover that both you and your partner absolutely hate doing laundry. Then perhaps you could consider outsourcing it. Or maybe your partner would love to start taking your toddler to his/her wellness checks but you’ve just never thought of asking — it’s just a task you’ve taken on by default. 

Depending on the ages and responsibility levels of your children, you may be able to start sharing more of the mental load with them as well. For example, think of that long school supply list you have to purchase every August. Perhaps you can let them select their own items on Amazon and add them to the shopping cart. Or maybe they can simply add those snacks they want you to buy to the master shopping list or Instacart basket.

Remember you are a team, and it takes a village to run a family!

2. No is beautiful

For people-pleasing personalities, saying no can be difficult. But learning to decline and set better boundaries are important skills to learn, especially when overwhelm and burnout start to set in. 

Pause before you say yes to anything extra. Assess if you have room on your plate to host the Thanksgiving dinner, volunteer at your child’s school, or cook a meal for a friend. While we all want to be kind and do charitable work, “I’ll get back to you,” is a perfectly acceptable answer which can give you more time and space to decide whether you have the capacity to take it on.

At work, take control of your calendar to block out some time for yourself, whether it’s a workout or just an hour to focus on a task without distractions. Assess if every meeting request you receive is a valuable use of your time. Can the issue be solved another way? And make sure to work within established systems and processes. Is what you are being asked to do part of your core job responsibilities? Are there other ways you can delegate or are your perfectionist tendencies getting in the way of your successfully doing that?

Remember that saying no can feel empowering and provide autonomy if your mental load is starting to overwhelm you.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

While talking with your partner about complex gender equity issues may feel heavy and not particularly fun, it’s really important to try to communicate how the mental load makes you feel. 

Chronic stress and burnout can lead to all sorts of emotional and physical symptoms, and there are lots of willing partners who want to help but may not even realize everything you’ve taken on.

From conception to birth and in the early days of caring for an infant, a woman’s body dictates the process, with our partners learning to assist. As an infant grows and reaches the toddler phase, it can be very easy to continue those early patterns where the birthing parent is in charge and the non-birthing partner waits for direction. Shifting that conditioning as your children get older takes open communication, patience, and a lot of practice!

Try discussing these topics when you’re out to dinner, over a glass of wine, or after the kids go to sleep when emotions are low and cognition is high. Or if you have a regular weekly check-in to discuss logistics for the week, use this time to discuss what’s working for each of you, what isn’t, and perhaps suggest swapping a few chores. 

Sharing the mental load with others will bring you more energy, joy and patience — allowing you to thrive instead of survive.

Sarah Sperry is a certified Executive Health and Wellbeing Coach and a Fair Play Facilitator. She has over 20 years of experience working in the financial services industry where she was actively involved in DEI, leadership, advocating for better parental leave policies, and overall culture change. She can be reached at or on social media @sperrywellness.


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Employee Benefits: Top picks for moms

There are plenty of good reasons to look for a new job right now. Still-low unemployment rates mean that candidates have leverage in negotiations and a good shot at landing a plum role with a nice compensation package. The abundance of open positions offering location or schedule flexibility increases the likelihood of finding a role that could be truly life changing. And of course, financial need or fear of layoffs could certainly be a motivating factor.

Whatever the reason for your job search, you’ll want to make sure that the employers you’re courting support your particular needs for work-life integration. After all, if your new company sets you up for success as both an employee and a mom, you’re more likely to excel at work and at home, enjoy working for your employer, and feel happier overall. And really, isn’t that the goal? In this spirit, here are our top benefit picks with moms in mind.

Parental leave. But not just any parental leave. Generous and equitable fully paid parental leave, with a super-low 0-6 month tenure requirement. What’s more, the employer should offer the same leave to both men and women… and strongly encourage everyone to take it! Why? Because normalizing parental leave for both moms and dads means that you won’t take a career hit because of your time off. And getting spouses involved in caretaking from the get-go sets the standard for equal sharing of unpaid caregiving work at home. Which, of course, is good for YOU.

Post-leave back-to-work programs. Going back to work after maternity leave can be very difficult — it’s common to feel guilty leaving your baby, unsure of how you’ll handle both employee and parent responsibilities, and nervous about any changes at work that happened while you were gone. Back-to-work programs allow for a more gradual transition. New moms work part-time at full pay for the first month post-leave and often receive coaching or extra support.

Non-baby caretaker leave. It’s true that new babies need care, and that parents need time to bond with their newest additions. But children don’t stop requiring care just because maternity leave has ended. Caretaker leave allows time off to look into medical, developmental, or educational issues that arise as your kids are growing up, and also to provide care for your own aging parents as needed. 

Subsidized on-site childcare. If you’re considering an on-site or hybrid role in a large company and have young children, this one’s an obvious perk to look for. 69% of women with children under 5 would be more likely to choose an employer that offered on-site daycare or benefits to help pay for childcare — and with reason. It’s easier to relax and do your best work when you know your children are nearby and can be reached at a moment’s notice. Without an extra commute to drop off and pick up kids, you gain extra time in your day. And then there’s cost savings. Need we say more?  

Backup childcare. Nanny sick? No school today? This temporary backup care is designed to step in when your regular childcare arrangements are disrupted, either expectedly (such as for scheduled closings, holidays and vacations) or unexpectedly (due to illness, inclement weather, and the like). Corporate-subsidized backup childcare alleviates stress and allows you to keep working. 

Dependent care flex spending accounts. Childcare is just plain expensive. Dependent care flex spending accounts allow parents to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare, which can result in non-trivial savings.

Fertility support and services. Some of us need a little extra help becoming moms. When this is the case, benefits that help pay for expensive services such as in-vitro fertilization and egg/embryo freezing can be the deciding factor in your choice of workplace.

Organization-wide salary reviews. At the end of the day, most of us are working in order to earn money, and salary matters. The motherhood penalty is real, with moms earning an average of 15% less for each child under 5. So fair pay is essential. Ask about company-wide salary reviews. If the employer ensures equity by level and position across the organization, that means you’re less likely to fall into the pay gap. 

Equity-focused performance reviews.  Many companies have annual performance reviews to evaluate employees’ accomplishments and growth areas. The best companies also ensure that all employees (regardless of gender or maternal status) are given equal opportunities for learning, growth, visibility and advancement. Think of things like highly visible projects, task force participation, and leadership opportunities. This is the stuff that promotions are made of, so ask if it’s allocated fairly and equitably.

Lactation rooms. Just ask anyone who’s had to pump in a corporate multi-stall restroom. If you work on-site, having a clean, comfortable, private place to pump milk multiple times a day does make a difference.

MilkStork. This service for nursing moms who take business trips ships freshly pumped milk home for consumption or safe keeping. 

Mental health services. Life plus work can be stressful at times. Adding parenting to that formula can considerably up the ante. Mental health benefits can provide therapy or coaching sessions to help ride the inevitable waves.

Women or parent-focused employee resource groups (ERGs). Finding community and support among colleagues who also happen to be parents can make for understanding ears, fabulous connections, and positive feelings about your workplace.

Got other benefits we should add to the list? Let us know!


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Stages on the Way to Equality

In 1955, my grandma looked out from her stage — an arena filled with patched up living room furniture, acquaintances guzzling their sixth Goan beer, and party streamers flowing like the drapes of velvet stage curtains.

Her voice rang out, dropping down and then soaring high, full and then whispery soft. As her last note faded, she took in the trembling passion with a huge inhale, promising herself that living room performances were enough, that they had to be enough because Papa had shot down her pleading for a musical degree as fast as he was now shooting down his tangy beer. 

Living in India, I could not understand why being female made you less of a person, and yet I was constantly hit by painful reminders that it did. I saw my grandma’s reality echoed across the country with women I knew, women in hospitals after being attacked with acid, women like my mom who had to stand up for herself as the only woman in her engineering college.

“The world is changing,” my dad assured me.

Is it? If it was, it was changing too slowly. The unfairness of it left me with the deep seated conviction that something was wrong. 

The next few years I stood up as often as I could, my voice ringing with cries of change.

The first time I took the stage — my arena filled with a hundred girls sitting on overgrown blades of grass under a makeshift hut roof — I launched into a what-would-soon-be-weekly English class I taught to underprivileged girls in Goregaon, India.

Two years later, I took the stage — my arena filled with chipped tables, fidgety eight-year-olds, and the stifling heat of Mumbai summers — and I delved into a lesson on gender inequality that I had been recruited to teach at an Indian government school.

A few years later, after moving with my family to the US, I launched FEdream, an organization dedicated to sending underprivileged girls in India through college, hoping to fill a gap I believe has the potential to change lives. Today, FEdream has funded and cultivated a community of over seventy-five women, hosted career fairs, and partnered with large organizations and companies like Schlumberger who see the value in our mission. 

About a year ago, I took the stage once more — my arena, a machine design class I found myself the only female student in. This disparity rang true across the training institute hosted by IMTMA, the 65-year-old Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association. Filled with trepidation about challenging authority (and god forbid, seeming ungracious), I set up a meeting with the six male directors of IMTMA to explore the possibility of proactively including women in their programs. To my elation, they acknowledged the disparity, and together, we created a production and design program for underprivileged women engineers, funded by FEdream. A couple months later, a cohort of women made history as the first female class and the most women the institute had ever seen. 

When I was given the opportunity to get involved with Laddrr, I said yes immediately. For me, the fight for equality has always centered around education and I have seen the impact it can have. Laddrr’s mission to empower millions of women with educational resources and organizations resonated. 

In late August the Laddrr team took the stage — its arena, the podium at the New York Stock Exchange where the closing bell would chime in honor of Women’s Equality Day. Listening to speeches at the restaurant before walking over, I was struck by what one of the male speakers pointed out. We women so often question and discount ourselves — we tell ourselves we are not qualified, our ideas are silly, our efforts are small. We swallow our words, desperately afraid of seeming incompetent. I realized that in a world where women are still fighting for equality, I need to stop cutting myself down. I vowed to pay attention to the way I behave in the future. 

As the closing bell clanged, its ring filling the room, TV screens, and our hearts with hope, I thought back to my grandmother’s silenced voice and smiled. The world is hearing us now. 

Rachel Pontes is the founder of FEdream, Liftery’s Young Adult Advocacy board member, and a student at Dartmouth College.


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Web3 Stories: Unicorns beside me

When I joined Twitter as a mom of three in my mid-thirties, I was hardly expecting fireworks. The pandemic was in full swing, and I’d found myself forced to return to work after taking a few years off to be with my three young kids. So here I was, back at work full-time in EdTech, with my oldest two trying to adapt to online learning amidst a global shutdown. My littlest, 5, not yet in school, remained glued to my side, drawing on her iPad, while I attempted to work from home.  

I initially created that Twitter account to learn about digital collectables, or NFTs, which seemed like the perfect distraction from my Covid reality. My first love is the arts, and I was excited at the prospect of collecting these beautiful, digital creations — and directly supporting the artists who made them. Traditionally, if an artist sells an original work of art, they do not continue to profit from that work if it’s sold again in the future. But NFTs are different. The secondary sales of these pieces can continue to support the original artist via royalties set in a smart contract. As little as I understood at the time, I could tell this was something revolutionary. So I set out to learn more about the blockchain technology that enabled it.

I began my Web3 journey by discovering different artists in the space and carefully dipping my toes into the NFT waters. But it wasn’t until the emergence of women-led NFT projects that I really found my place and my people. I was ecstatic to find projects with diverse female artists and founders creating art that celebrated women! These projects had carefully thought out roadmaps, admirable goals, and large charitable components benefiting causes I believed in. As I explored the different collections, I saw how each project had cultivated its own unique community. And immersing myself in these different Web3 communities was truly transformative. The support and love we gave to one another during this difficult time was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. The world around us was crumbling, but here we were, learning, growing, exploring, and traversing this new technological terrain together. We were listening to and uplifting one another, often chatting day and night, and excitedly sharing any new knowledge or skills. It was exhilarating connecting with women from all over the world over our shared values and passions, all within the context of this groundbreaking art. 

My littlest, who was right by my side during this time, was just as excited by this whole process as I was. We would spend hours exploring these digital collections together, basking in their tremendous beauty. Meanwhile, she had been spending her days creating her own works of digital art on her iPad — a collection of magical unicorns holding their favorite sweet treats. Of course our online explorations sparked ideas for new traits she could draw for her unicorns. “Look at the rainbow teeth on that Bored Ape! I want to make something like that for the unicorns. Check out the astronauts in the Women Rise collection. They’re ALL girls! And so are the Boss Beauties! Wow, all of the World of Women are soooo beautiful, Mommy!” It was magical seeing the collections through her eyes, watching the art inspire her, and then witnessing what she would create. Before long, she had drawn hundreds of traits for her unicorns — a similar number, we learned, to those featured in the large collections we’d been following. As we explored together how these collections were made, we learned about the process of generative art, where all the traits are imported into a system which randomizes them and spits out a collection made up of individual pieces that are similar, yet unique. Then one day the idea just clicked: these sweet unicorns with their hundreds of traits would become their own generative art collection. 

Since that time, my daughter’s characters have evolved even further — they’re now the foundation of an early childhood educational media company with the goal of educating and onboarding more parents and kids to Web3. We break down the technical concepts so they’re easier to grasp, and we help families explore Web3’s incredible potential. Never in a million years did I see myself founding a company, but the opportunity to build something impactful, together with my child, feels like a dream come true. Who knows what will come from this new venture, but it has solidified for me that we are never too old (or too young!) to start something new. 

Ariel Rosen is Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at LawShelf and founder of SweetCorns. You can find her on Twitter at @SweetCorns_NFT.



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Web3 Stories: Newborn inspiration

I’ve always embraced change. Brought up in Spain, I got my MBA in the UK, worked as an intern for a real estate company in Miami and then in private banking in Geneva before launching a fashion brand in Los Angeles. But by the time I became pregnant with my baby girl in March 2021, I was working in Madrid as COO of Medcap Real Estate, my family’s business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and my mom always taught me to be independent and to work hard to create a life I am proud of. 

I’d been investing in Crypto since 2016 and discovered NFTs and Web3 four years later. But for whatever reason I became enthralled with it during my pregnancy. I started learning about blockchain technology, minted my first NFT, and then decided to rescue my forsaken Twitter account so I could follow people prominent in the space. On December 18th I gave birth to Ginevra, and I distinctly remember asking my husband about the floor price of my NFTs from my hospital bed. Crazy? Absolutely.

I took advantage of Spain’s standard 4 months of maternity leave. I was super tired and also sad and sensitive all the time — postpartum depression is real. Web3 provided a needed distraction, and the process of learning felt good, as if I were nurturing myself and the baby at the same time. 

Somehow, becoming a mom with all of the related hormonal disruption plus my deep dive into Web3 provoked another change in me. I realized I had an easy life. I was comfortable and very lucky. My baby was healthy. I had an amazing family, a great job and good friends. But I also realized that I needed more. I felt compelled to pursue something bigger, to create something important for my daughter. I needed to prove to her that women are strong. That we can do anything.

As I gained more and more followers on Twitter, I began working as a Web3 advisor, helping friends launch their NFT collections and acting as an ambassador for NFT communities. I started posting motivational quotes and advice to help other women in the industry. And I credit Ginevra for all of this, because as I was breastfeeding, I was also working, chatting, and learning. It was a moment for us to be together, and also for me to work on my future career. And since I was nursing every 3-4 hours around the clock, I was able to meet and chat with people from all over the world — and I loved it.

Having promoted music festivals in Spain on and off as a fun side gig, I was very familiar with the flaws of the ticketing industry. I found a solution to those problems in blockchain technology, and soon after quit my job as COO to work full time on my startup. 

I’m not going to say that working from home with a baby is easy. It’s not. But somehow when we become mothers, we gain power and strength we didn’t have before. Freedom in motherhood begins when you let go of the mom you think you should be and embrace the mom you are. 

My daughter is my motivation. She gives me courage and determination to make anything happen. I’m working hard now so that as she grows, I can spend more time with her and show her what her mom built. All I hope is that years from now, when she sees the life I’ve created for her, she’s proud I am her mom.


Mireia de Andrés Puyol is the former COO of Medcap Real Estate and cofounder of Reveler. You can find her on Twitter at @missnft91.




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Top Three Resume Tips for Moms

At Roadmap, I’m pretty hands-on in supporting our cohorts of job seekers — which means that I answer plenty of questions from moms looking to transition their careers. The most common concerns I hear, especially from those who have taken any kind of career break, are about resumes. 

  • “What do I do when my most relevant paid work experience happened a while ago?” 
  • “I’ve been working for a long time. How much of my background do I include?”
  • “I shouldn’t mention volunteer roles, should I?” 
  • And of course, “How do I hide my career break?”

Resume fears make it hard to move forward. We tend to compare our career history to a golden standard, but this is our own fear speaking. There is no golden standard. We all have unique lives, and hence unique career paths. To build the best resume to show your strengths, use my top three resume tips for moms pivoting careers:

1. Focus on key results 

In my classes, I talk a lot about key results, or brief statements that show the impact of work you did. Your career experience on your resume should lead with results first. It goes like this: Results – Action – Context. The bullet points in your work history (which CAN include volunteer work!) should first quantify the value of your work. Then you can explain the action you took and the context. 

For example:

● Ran email marketing campaigns using Hubspot, developed copy, analyzed analytics, and advised marketing leadership


● Increased website traffic by 6% within 3 months by developing and executing email marketing campaigns. 

See the moms’ resumes below for more examples of key results. To develop your key result bullet points, avoid talking about busy work and ask yourself questions like:

  1. What did I own?
  2. Why did I do the work I did?
  3. What was the impact of my work?

2. Keep it to one page

Your resume will get better results if it’s all on one side of one page. Essentially, you’re providing a summary of your selling points to entice the recruiter to contact you. So you only need to show the best of your work, not the whole story. 

Also, recruiters scan each resume for only about 5 seconds before going to the next one. So it’s definitely most effective for you to have all of your important information — contact information, skills, work history and education — visible at a glance.

3. Own any time you’ve taken off to spend with your family

Don’t hide it! Time you’ve spent away from work does not dictate where you go next in your career. Give it a name and a job entry, and if appropriate, populate it with key results. Here’s how some of the moms in our programs have done it:

The mom in this first example states her skills and achievements before her work history to make a strong impression before people see her career break.

This mom, who homeschooled a special needs child, defines her career break in terms of key results that she achieved as a homeschool mom deeply involved in the community.

If you’ve had special circumstances that called you away from your career, be clear about them. This could be medical, caregiving, or other unique family circumstances. This mom couldn’t work because of immigration processing and stated it clearly on her resume.

Regardless of the details surrounding your work history, you can own and promote your experiences, skills and accomplishments on your resume using key results. People are hiring you for the value you bring, and time off — or any other anomaly in your career trajectory — does not take away from that. If you’re still not sure how to frame your work history, come join us and we’ll do it together!


Malinda Coler is Cofounder and CEO of Roadmap, helping underrepresented people pivot their careers.


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A Working Mom’s Guide to Rhythms and Routines

I recently proclaimed to my family, “I’m not cooking dinner at all next week.” Although this may seem a bit dramatic and maybe even a little harsh, a few predictable life factors contributed to my decision: 

1) My daughters would be out of school. 

2) I had a number of important work deadlines that I was looking forward to meeting.

3) My prior experience tells me that my girls need me to be more accessible during the empty weeks between school and the start of their summer activities.

4) I knew that something needed to give for me to feel that I could have quality time with my family while also being present for professional responsibilities.

While the content of this scenario will vary between individuals, the crux of this example is a common theme for working moms who are trying to simultaneously juggle multiple responsibilities and do it all.  

Throughout my work as a licensed psychologist with parents, young adults and children for the past twenty years, I talk a lot about the rhythms we have in both our personal and professional lives. A rhythm is like a vibe or preferred way of navigating life events and while not tangible, it is something you can literally feel in the air. Within households and in offices, I frequently hear about and see individuals with different rhythms. Some like constant back-to-back activities and multi-tasking and others need bursts of a singular activity followed by downtime to decompress before starting something new. Oftentimes, people with different rhythms are asked to get things done together or they may be family members living under the same roof. To add to this complexity, for some individuals and situations, rhythms are consistent and reliable and for others they are less predictable. Overall, these situations can lead to stress and conflict in relationships. 

Consider the following as you think about the rhythms around you: How would you describe the rhythm at work a week prior to a project launch or deadline? How about the day before? What is the pace you like to have at work? And at home? What is the rhythm of your family members regarding task completion? 

Parents often share with me how rhythms in their households can vary between family members, which makes it difficult and frustrating to get out of the house in the morning and transition, unflustered, to work and school. Furthermore, several clients report that while they can appreciate that people have different rhythms, they feel less skilled in knowing how to listen, read, and respond to the rhythms experienced. So how can you figure out how to work with the rhythms around you? 

  • Describe the rhythms you are sensing in yourself and others. Are they slow and steady? Shut down? Rush, rush, rush? Or something in between? Naming them can help you prepare for them. The important point here is not about accuracy, but about getting in touch with your perception of each rhythm.
  • Take a pause and think. How have I reacted to this rhythm in similar situations in the past? What was successful for me? And what was not as helpful?
  • What can I do differently this time to improve the outcome? 

Reflect on your answers, trust your gut, and consider your options for responding. In some situations, you may only have a few moments to run through these steps, but in others, like my “no cooking” example, you can prepare in advance. And if I had to name the rhythm in my house this week, it would be “slow it down,” describing the current shift to a less predictable summer schedule and the need to take some additional time to think through and process what lies ahead. 

So why is it important to consider rhythms? Understanding our rhythms allows us to gain a better sense of ourselves and our needs. When we read others’ rhythms, we can more thoughtfully respond so that the other person feels understood and appreciated, which provides the foundation for trusting relationships. 

Listening to and trusting your assessment of these rhythms can also be helpful in building routines. So what exactly is a routine? A routine is more like a play-by-play of events. Routines happen both at work and at home. In some instances, routines are expected, such as a weekly team meeting, and in other cases, the routine can feel like a moving target, such as a kid’s sport schedule. 

If you find yourself struggling when routines shift during transition times, you’re in good company. My professional colleagues and I often discuss how surges in outreach to our offices may be related to different rhythms and changing routines. In fact, we’ve all noticed that we typically receive an influx of calls just prior to and after weekends, in the days leading up to vacations, and in anticipation of major life transitions — which are all valid and common changes to acknowledge and consider. 

While there are several wonderful resources for time management, being productive at work, and establishing routines with families at home, I believe you can understand your own rhythms and routines by thinking about the following: 

  • What are the circumstances that allow me to get work done? (Consider time of day, duration of focused time, need for breaks, physical space, personal/family commitments)
  • What are the demands of my job? (Commuting? Virtual meetings with kids at home? Travel? What about the pace?)
  • Are my circumstances and demands in alignment? 
  • How do I like to schedule time?
  • How does each member of my immediate household like to structure time? In other words, how are your rhythms different from those of your family members? 
  • What are the external demands that we depend on and that dictate how we spend our time (e.g., work meetings, sports schedules, etc.)? 

In my case, I felt proud of myself for realizing how and why I needed to add time to my week and also confident that I’d be able to follow through on what I’d promised to myself both as a professional and as a mom. We all have within us the power to not only perceive, but to trust and react to what we see and experience. Take a moment to watch, listen, and learn the rhythms in your life and how you can use that information to build routines that work for you and your family. 

Elyse Dub is a psychologist and founder of Insight Onsite, a life wellness company that helps people build human connections at work. 


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