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

Virtual Learning vs Career Mom

I’m sitting in this Zoom meeting under the covers. For a minute the covers felt like an escape, as if they were sheltering me from something. I could hear my kids voices raising again and Apollo barking at the neighbors outside. I was going to yell and say for the hundredth time I was in a meeting but, f*ck it. The phone is on mute and the camera is shut off. I had nothing to say anyway. I was all out of words. My days were filled with words. Either at a Skype meeting for work, or instructing kids all day. Life had totally changed. I’m not going to say I am angry at the change, I’m just exhausted.

I scrolled down the call to see if  JR’s father had joined the call, just in case I dozed off he could fill me in. Once I saw his name, I felt a sigh of relief. I had trouble focusing the whole day. My mind had been on new opportunities at work, grad school, this entanglement I was involved in and finally this whole adjustment to virtual learning. My mind was so full that I had a minor migraine kicking in. I rested my eyes so that I could ease the anxiety and prevent myself from scrolling on some social media network.

I had to let go a little. I wanted to look at the meeting from a bubble bath, but I had a phobia that my camera would mysteriously turn on. Suddenly boobs and booty all on the camera. That didn’t seem like a great way to meet my kids teachers, especially being a new parent and all.

I poured a glass of wine and closed my eyes again, but I was slightly startled when I heard the Director of the school speak loudly in the phone. She was about to give us information on how we were to adjust to this virtual learning. Prepping parents to step up to the plate and make sure we got our children on board to be motivated. We were to help our children learn like normal. To act as if they are in class, even though they would be at home looking at their Chromebook screens. We had to establish routines, normalcy.

Meanwhile, I was taking the information in,  but thinking look lady I love this talk about preparation, I am all for it. I thought I was the Queen of prepared, but honestly these days I am just trying to make it through the day. I can’t say that I am scared or upset about the virtual leaning, but I have my concerns. This new way of life is very hard on parents of all walks of life, but being a career mom, my whole life has shifted.

On one hand, it is awesome. I get to spend more time with my kids and save money. This transition allows me to be more hands on with their learning experience. However, at the same time, breaks are far few in between. Due to the virus, most fieldtrips (which help with changing the scenery) are out of the question.   The kids have many days that they are unfocused and I have a ton of work. It is hard to focus between the kids and the my workload, so I end up working longer hours. Don’t forget that our employers still expect the same quality of work performance regardless of the situation. Plus, I have a major issue with separating work and life balance as is, but now…

I guess at this point, there is nothing to it but to do it…

I’ll keep you posted.

~Tahnee Cole

 

Helping My Kids Cope With Changes

Some days I obsess about how I am going to work through my work at home days. But lately, I have taken a moment to think about my kids and what they are going through. It was all fun in the beginning, staying home and not going to school. Summer breaks are fun and kids look forward to not having homework assignments. Yet, at some point they miss their teachers, their friends and their routine. As a busy mom, I had to take a second and talk to my children about these changes.

I want to help them cope even if they were not verbally letting me know…

Some days they communicated with their body language. Some days I could see the fear in their eyes that things were changing and not for the better.

Would they be stuck in the house forever?

Especially, my five year old. He will be starting his first year of school and it will not be a normal year. I have been looking forward to sending him off to Kindergarten, but unfortunately life is not the same. We are not even sure if he will be attending school or just doing virtual learning as of now. It seems that I will be opting for the virtual option.

Through this challenging time here are a few of tips I use to help my kids cope with the changes. They might help you and your family!

1.Talk it out– Talk to your children about what’s going on. Explain to them the dangers and the precautious. Even explain to them why you are deciding on virtual learning if you are selecting that option. Let them express how they feel. This is the time to put all concerns, frustrations and suggestions together to help the school year go as smooth as possible.

2. Try to keep it normal as possible- I am still buying my kids new backpacks and school supplies, regardless. Kids gets excited about new school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes. Even if they stay home and learn virtually I still want to provide normality.

3. Let them know that it is ok to feel disappointed- We sometimes get upset with our kids when they get disappointed. Especially, when it directly relates to something out of our control. Why? Because we feel helpless. We don’t want to disappoint our kids, but we have to allow them to be upset. We have to show them coping methods to help them get through this.  This a battle that they have to deal with and life itself will have many obstacles, and they need to learn how to deal with disappointments. They also have to learn to adapt to change. Allowing them to feel will help them heal.

4. Stay connected- Let your kids Facetime their friends and teachers. Allow them to interact with people on the daily so they won’t feel isolated. It is scary to interact in person  because of the risk, but it is ok to find creative ways to keep your kids interacting with friends and family!

5. Keep it fun- Look up creative projects and plans, share them with your kids to keep them motivated about the school year. My latest project is to create a media center in my home, specifically for my children to work through their virtually learning. I will be showing that to you in the Fall!

I hope all parents are confident in whatever decision they make for educating their kids.  I wish you and your babies safety and many blessings for this school year!

Tahnee Cole

“Shit, we’ve been social distancing.” -Career Moms

It’s nothing new to me. I mean at one point I was getting together with one of my best college buddies for cocktails. Happy hour was the best thing to do, but that was after making arrangements for who would pick up or watch the kids, trying to sneak in quickies and getting stuck at work to finish up one last project. Then sometimes canceling and having to reschedule.

“Can you meet me at The Cheesecake Factory?” Those words were like,  “you’ve just won a millions dollars”!!  I mean let me not exaggerate, but getting together with my adult friends is so necessary. My other professional mom friends especially. They feel me. They understand when I have to cancel at the last minute and they understand me when I cry during our tipsy girls night out. They get my exhaustion. They relate to the love I have for my family and my babies, but they also understand when I am f*cking tired.

I absolutely love being a mom, but I am human. There are times that I just want to be free. No meals on heels. No teaching. No referee moments. Just me sliding down a pole with my girls, drinking mimosas and being plain little me,Tahnee. The balance of still feeling like me is everything. No demand from work or home. That is the value of having a social life.

However, most moms don’t even know what that is. The strong roles of mom and career life makes it hard to see where personal and professional life begins and ends.

I was making it a habit to create a social life for 2020. It was my goal. Then the Coronavirus showed up like, “nah, heffa”!

 This pandemic has made something that was already damn near unachievable, a distant dream. The fear of never being able to be around your friends,  but to also be comfortable around them. I thought about my best friend who is a nurse. Would I go in to hug her like I usually do?  

Unfortunately, many moms are already distant from their social life. They have traded their wild nights for housework. The majority of our days when trying to get out with our friends or significant others depends on: finding reliable babysitters and getting on a schedule that is conducive to both parties. We have side hustles, varying schedules and our kids activities. In other words, we are just busy. 

What are we doing now? Well, just recently I have learned to get creative. I’ve been spending some time with my friends on Zoom. Interacting on social media via LIVES. More phone conversations versus texting. I’m getting closer to my mom tribe via Instagram. We are sharing recipes and DIYS to improve our homes. We are drinking Mimosas over Zoom and learning new skills like, gardening.

And as far as dating, Netflix and chill has gone to a whole different level, but it’s acceptable now.

Tahnee Cole

7 things I learned being a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) + Homeschooling during the Pandemic

I’m not going to lie…

I have always felt that WAHM (work at home moms) and SAHM (stay at home moms), had it EASIER than moms who actually had to work outside of the home. Not easy, but EASIER.

Yes, there are definitely perks to not having to commute and being with your children all day. Especially, if you are a WAHM who is also homeschooling.

But I realized this is HARDT ( Yes, HARD with a T) LOL!

Let me tell you why I wrote this post. I am currently at home with my 12 year old (yes a preteen) , my preschooler and my puppy.  I am trying to create an accurate report for a conference call that I am facilitating. Not just a regular meeting, a meeting with Several Account Managers to discuss financial debt for a very high profile business. I manage a financial portfolio for 170 customers.

Meanwhile, I am telling my 4 year old son that he CANNOT have another popsicle ( it is his 4th one).

I am bargaining with him to be quiet, so I end up agreeing to buying him a PS5 (when it comes out). Just so he will sit down and work on his alphabets on his tablet quietly.

tablet JR

I have to WORK.

I have to be PRODUCTIVE

&

I still have to MOM!!

Our puppy Apollo joins in the chaos by whimpering. He’s pissed that I had to lock him in his crate for a few minutes to calm him down from his mid morning zoomies. Plus, I am yelling at my 12 year old to get up so she will not miss her Zoom lessons (currently all learning is virtual).

Yes, we are in the middle of a Pandemic and quarantine life, but either way this WAHM life is challenging.  I had a conversation with a homeschool/wahm and she said it takes major trial and error to get into a groove.

Aside from this being flat out challenging there are 7 things I have learned:

I HAVE TO SET LIMITS…

I have to set a schedule to complete all of my work duties instead of spacing everything out throughout the entire day. Simply because homeschooling and taking care of kids requires me to take more breaks, more often. Most nights I find myself working until 11pm to make sure I finish everything I want to complete during the work day. However, I still need to maintain work/life balance. So it is a must I create limits and boundaries to separate when I work and log off.

I MAY NOT BE THE MORNING PERSON I THOUGHT I WAS…

My mind is clearer, thoughts are together and creativity is flowing late in the day. Either it is just more peaceful in my home during the evening or I actually work better later. I am not sure yet. I do know that I have always been an early bird, so I have believed that I am more productive during early hours. But honestly, I feel I am way more alert and productive from afternoon to late evenings. It makes me wonder if I would be better working a later shift.

I EAT MORE AND I AIN’T MAD ABOUT THAT…

At work, I am not getting up to go into the kitchen all day.  I rarely pack myself anything when I go into the office. Working at home, I have access to the kitchen and I find myself eating more snacks throughout the day. However, I have been sticking to healthier choices and they actually feed my brain and help me function better. WAHM life has probably packed a few pounds on me.

I HAVE TO KEEP REMINDING MY KIDS THAT I HAVE A JOB TO DO…

Seeing mommy at home without her usual business attire has made my kids think we are on vacation. I have to remind them that yes I am at home, yes they can give me hugs and ask me questions, but at the same time they have to respect that I am working. They have to give me space to think and be quiet when I have meetings. I always give them a prep talk before conference calls. I also try to get things prepared so they don’t have to ask me many questions and I can focus. That means tablets powered up and loaded with activities.  Plus meals and snacks in reach.

PEOPLE ARE MORE FORGIVING THAN YOU THINK…

I thought people would be annoyed during a conference call/ video chat to see my 4 year old walk up and hand me something to open. But honestly, most people enjoy seeing the kids and encourage them to speak during the calls. I think people understand a lot more than you think they do. Many times we are harder on our situations that others are.

I”M NOT AS GOOD WITH MULTI-TASKING AS I THOUGHT

Trying to do everything at once puts me in a frenzy. It also makes me forget things that are important. Doing one thing at a time, while relying on my time management/ scheduling skills is the best way to tackle this new normal. Quality over quantity.

kid blog pic

I GOT TO BE A LITTLE MORE FORGIVING & RELAX…

I am learning to give myself and the kids grace. We are all dealing with a lot right now. Nothing is normal. So I let them have a cookie if they want, and I am ok about the house not looking perfect. Once, you realize that it is ok to just let things be and do your best, things will flow smoother.

I hope you enjoyed some of my learning lessons and can relate. As of now, stay healthy and safe.

XOXO

Tahnee COLE