As working mothers, we have long shared our stories and experiences with respect to the delicate balance of work and life. Having shared an office wall, we became accustomed to using each other as a sounding board for the very intense experience of working and raising small humans. Between the two of us, we have 3.75 children. (Amanda has two children, and Casey has one, and is due with her second this summer.) Two years ago, following a really inspiring event dedicated to providing support and resources to working mothers, we realized that we know that many of our colleagues are in similar shoes with respect to this life phase. We had our “lightbulb moment”: Perhaps there would be value in making a space for similar conversations—for moms and dads alike—at our own workplace.
Given Major, Lindsey & Africa’s global presence both as an organization and in the market, we wanted to tap into a broader community of colleagues who we suspected might be having the same closed-door exchanges across the world. And thus, our Employee Resource Group, dedicated and devoted to parents of young children, came into existence. Of course, we had no idea how much this group would help us weather our new normal—raising and taking care of kids at home while working full-time in the midst of a global pandemic (how strange it still seems to say that).
Over the last month or so, this group has provided us solace, sanity, some much needed laughs, and solidarity. We have heard from colleagues in Asia who started on this path much sooner than those of us in the United States and have shared what exiting out of quarantine looks like. (Along with some perks companies have been providing to jump start their economies like Universal Studios in Singapore offering a six-month season pass for the price of one entry!). We have all shared in our frustration at the impossible tasks of working full-time jobs (with meetings and video conferences) while raising our small children. For those in our group with school-aged children, we’ve shared tips, tricks, resources, and even a well-placed meme to keep the mood light. The camaraderie in this group is real and something that gets both of us through times when we feel as though we can’t do it for another day.
Our MLA/AP “village”—Parents of Little Ones—today consists of 50+ employees who are, even in the best of times, trying to harmonize and balance the dual titles of “mom” or “dad” and “recruiter,” “administrator,” or “manager.” As that balancing act has become exponentially more challenging, connecting with similarly situated colleagues from across the globe is even more valuable. We are proud of the safe space we have created, where otherwise acquaintances have allowed themselves to be vulnerable and transparent with each other.
We, like everyone, look forward to the days when the content of this group’s communications and calls returns to the normal—maybe even mundane!—tales of new school adjustments, sibling acclimation, a child’s “firsts,” go-to Disney or other Spring Break guides, trick-or-treating photos, and more. For now, we are just incredibly grateful for the camaraderie and support.
We know that there is so much advice out there regarding our current world state, specifically to parents working through this crisis. Consider this our small push for you to look for your village within your own organization. Forming an Employee Resource Group can formalize that village and create a safe space within your workplace that can make a big difference in coping with life’s challenges. Go for it; you won’t regret it!