The Working Mom Chaos…

I recall a time I felt the entire pressure of being a working mom.

I felt judged. I was already late to the parent meeting. I know they heard my heels clicking as fast as they could down the hall. I got myself together, clutched my purse and controlled my breathing. I found a seat in the front. There were no chairs in the back that would save me the embarrassing feeling of being late.

Most of the moms were in sweats, so they may have just thought I was fashionably late. But no, my fancy ensemble was because I was a career mom. What they didn’t know is I had damn near killed myself to get to this meeting. I was on the highway screaming, “Move b—–, get out the way” In my best Ludacris impersonation.

I had made a promise to attend these meetings to show that I was more than concerned and all about my daughter’s progression and education. These meetings though were unrealistic to my schedule. Most of the meetings for working parents were unrealistic. I called my son’s dad to let him know that I was at Heaven’s school and that he could meet me in the parking lot to drop LJ off. He worked third shift and needed to get to work. The meeting was still going on and by now I had warmed up and was giving my input. The parents were actually enjoying what I was suggesting. Partly because they trusted my judgment. I just looked the part of a professional, so it wasn’t hard convincing people that I knew what was best. The meeting was getting good. Heaven was off to the side playing with her classmates.

Jeremey called and said he was outside with little Jay. I had to excuse myself and go get my baby. At the time LJ was about 5 months. When I came back of course people were ranting and raving about how adorable he was. Even mentioning that I didn’t even look like I had a baby that small, let alone 2. I was holding LJ and trying to still participate in the meeting. That was until he realized the breast he adored were concealed with a sweater that went all the way to my neck. Why the hell did I wear a damn turtleneck with this suit? I asked myself. He started tugging and twisting his body so that he could get to the milkies. I looked down at his baby bag to see if there was a bottle, but no. I looked down and his face looked distressed and then came that cry.

If give me the damn milk was a person, Jeremey was him. I gave in to avoid the cry. A little breast never hurt anyone. I was sure they had all seen one before. I discreetly lifted up my shirt, stuck LJ in and under my shirt. I then closed my blazer and went on taking. LJ didn’t like the blazer so he took it off his head and made sure my breast was exposed. Then he had the nerve to look at me. By this time I was like F— it. I was exhausted. I just fed him and finished the meeting. When the meeting was over, I had to gather his car seat, baby bag and my purse. I had to bargain and beg with Heaven to stop playing with her friends so that we could go home. I held her hand, carried LJ in his car seat and walked across the long parking lot. Feeling exhausted from work and parent life this day, I knew it would be some challenging days ahead of us.

Tahnee Cole

The Pandemic and Corporate America Working Parents

It was nothing new to me. Being a working mom can be rough. I’m always making adjustments. When the babysitter couldn’t make it to watch Jr, I had to adjust. When Heaven had early days out of school or snow days, major adjustments. There was usually always some weekly or monthly inconvenience for me. Now the whole world was making an adjustment.

Ironically, just before the Pandemic hit my department had just discussed the new rules for remote working. They were allowing us to work from home more often, little did they know Covid would be forcing us to work remote a lot more than they anticipated. My son was currently in his first year of preschool and Heaven had just started middle school.

Ironically, before this occurrence I was already thinking about summer camp plans. Plus, I knew soon Jr. would be starting kindergarten in the fall. So, I was already worried about how I would arrange my schedule to pick up and drop off both my kids, to and from school. It seems like as a mom, you are constantly thinking ahead. No days off, even in your head.

But when Covid hit, it hit different. Large companies were requiring workers to stay home and if permitted to work from home. The pandemic had forced many corporate companies to be flexible . Or should I say, allow their workers to be flexible. It was now the CEO that had no place to send their children. They were suddenly like the lower level workers. It was a must to let working parents have flexibility.

Covid, had no discrimination and for once, we all felt helpless. It is very unfortunate that it takes major events to realize that working parents need flexibility. This may have been new to many, but working parents go through struggles often with balancing family and career life. Especially, workers who are not paid top dollar or have a spouse that can stay home and tend to the children. Many parents need remote working options and more flexible schedules. This flexibility should continue regardless of Covid dying down. Despite the fact that we have a vaccine created to help us manage to coincide with this nasty virus, our need for balance is still the same. Human Resources should still make sure there are policies in place that will help working parents have schedules that are conducive to family life.

Overworked and stressed parents do not work efficiently and effectively. Yes, working from home is not the easiest while children are at home or doing virtual lessons. However, think about the convenience and flexibility when children are able to go back to school. There will be less PTO used for snow days if parents can stay home, and work when weather conditions prove to be too hazardous to commute. Think of the parents who can use their flexibility to provide their children transportation to and from school. Or get a chance to make sure they are on and off the buses and home safe. Think about the parents who will be able to attend after school programs, teacher conferences, etc. Flexibility is a must and the pandemic showed us that.

Although, there were many parents who worked in industries that could not work from home, there are many parents who had the opportunity. Many of those parents admitted that even though remote working had it’s difficulties, there were many perks. Covid created a lot of chaos, but helped put into perspective how we have been living our daily lives.

Tahnee Cole

The Mommy Motivator!

Too Sexy for work. Are black women criticized more?

“Girl they told me to go home and change my shirt. And I could possibly get written up for having to leave. I don’t get it, the other girls wear shirts just like this, but nobody says anything.”

I was packing my lunch and trying to get Apollo settled as I listened to my friend complain. See Alana is built like a stallion. About 5’8 and curves like a back road. Blessed with long athletic legs, big melons for breast and a gorgeous face to match. She can’t hide in a crowd if she tried. It seemed like no matter what she wore it was an issue. Unfortunately, since she is blessed with this body, she can’t hide it. It doesn’t matter what she wears. Her body is going to stand out.

I listened before I agreed that I thought she was being centered out. She was the only black woman in her department. The other women wore mini skirts and low cut tops, but for some reason they were never called out about their appearance. The chaos about clothing always got started when Alana showed up. I asked Alana to send me a picture of her in her top.

Hmmm, it looked regular to me. No cleavage. No tatts. Just perky double d’s in a blouse. She couldn’t help that. No sweater would hide it.

Alana is not the only black woman I know who has gone through this type of treatment. I myself have been victim of discrimination and nitpicking for my clothing. Especially, when I was younger and always turning heads. It was as if I was penalized if a man stared too long, or if I received compliments. I noticed a bunch of struggles when I worked with the public. Plus, I had the bubbly personality to match.

I do believe that you should be mindful and dress appropriately for work. No super low cut tops or skirts up your butt . But a form fitting dress, paired with a blazer on a black woman is still seen as sexy. It seems at times that no matter what we wear, it does not fit the professional standards.

I know how it was. Being a woman who wanted to add some sassiness to a business suit. I totally understood Alana. Although, I don’t have as many curves as Alana. Being a petite woman I have an ample backside. So my pencil skirts stand out and eyes will notice. Comments will be made and oh the shade…

As I sit around with my female friends with rich melanin, we compare corporate notes and it is amazing the stories. If not discrimination for our hair, it is our curves. Then it is how we talk. It is our swag. It forces so many women to try to conform to an image that is not authentic. It forces women of color to try to dim their light in order to blend in. Knowing damn well, we cannot blend in.

Fortunately, I have not personally experienced this in the current corporation that I am employed. Because honestly if I did, I would be looking elsewhere. I suggest that to any woman of color or woman period who feels that they can no longer be themselves. It is one thing to be conservative and to be mindful of your image. It is another to have to be played down and treated unfairly, because of your unique and God-blessed beauty.

-Tahnee Cole