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New working moms don't believe in 'work-life balance'—and they're right

Is there any more stressful phrase for new working mothers than "work-life balance"? We're supposed to want it, need it, achieve it on any given day. As the editor of Working Mother, I hated it and would try my best to keep it out of our pages—and yet, every once in a while it would sneak in.


Because who doesn't want a bit of balance in their life?

But let's get real: When do we moms ever have balance in our very real and messy lives? Is there ever a day when everything is in sync? Of course not. And that's okay if only because of all the extra effort it would take for any of us to stay in balance once we got there.

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A new research report finds, however, that the days of "work-life balance" may finally be numbered because Millennial working moms just aren't buying it anymore.

Amen.

The report from The Mom Project finds that for today's working moms, the key to making complicated lives work is realizing that everything has to work together throughout the day.

Call it "work-life integration," and you'll be much closer to the mark for this newest generation of working moms. As explained by one of the more than 1,000 women surveyed for the Building a Better Workplace report:

"Work-life balance is kind of an older term. Balance makes me think we work for eight hours, and then we adjust and we don't work after that. We don't work like that anymore. Sometimes it's not about purely shutting it off from 5 p.m. on. I take time for family, but then I'll get back to it at 8 p.m."

That's my life too—and I strongly suspect yours as well.

For new working moms, work-life is about integrating everything into a life that works for you and your career—and, of course, your family.

But what to do if you need more flexibility in your work life?

The first step is a simple one: Ask for it. While the conversation around flexible work is more open than before, it still remains something unconsidered by too many of us (and our managers) until it's too late, we've burned out and are ready to walk out the door… forever.

Of course, making the ask isn't always easy. To help, here are my favorite time-tested tips for making flexible-work work for both you and your boss:

Know that everyone needs some flexibility

While women still carry most of their family's mental load, it's important to realize that anyone with a doctor's appointment, an aging parent, a partner with a chronic illness, and even just a morning Pilates class they're trying to make, appreciate (and likely uses) some form of flexible work. Yes, we working moms rely on it, but we aren't the only ones.

Know what you need

Flex comes in many varieties and what works best for your office mate may not work for you. Indeed, as a long time advocate for flexible work arrangements, what's most interesting to me about The Mom Project findings is the myriad ways flexibility now needs to take shape to work for new working moms.

Beyond the traditional approach of shifting working hours or working from home, today's moms say that flexible work also needs to include options to:

  • Work hours that are convenient (rather than the standard 9 to 5)
  • Work remotely
  • Control number of hours worked
  • Work hours needed to get the job done (regardless of whether or not it results in a 40-hour week)

The dream is a workweek with flexible hours within set days to accommodate family schedules—and women surveyed add that they have no problem putting in the time needed to get the job done. Just give us flexibility on which hours we work.

Consider your boss' needs

It's important to remember that flexible work involves give and take, so make sure to consider (and call out) how it might help your team's needs. For example, will working from home a few days a week allow you to start work earlier? Will a shifted schedule allow you to jump on a late call due to time-zone differences?

Prove it can work

As a long-time manager, I know that many bosses worry that any accommodation will immediately become permanent, even if it isn't working well. To help make your case, suggest your new schedule as a 90-day trial, at which point you can both reassess whether it works for both of you.

I can report that after more than a decade of managing working moms, that the best, most productive, most innovative team you'll ever have is one that feels trusted to get their work done in a way that works for everyone, themselves included.

That's because there are few things more stressful than having to sneak around to cover a family responsibility during work hours.

Allowing working moms the freedom to be where they need to be when they need to be there is just one way managers can support this newest generation of working moms, 42% of whom ranked flexibility as more important than salary.

Allow us working moms the autonomy to do what needs to be done and you'll not only get our gratitude, you'll get our best work yet.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Is this viral bedtime chart realistic for most parents?

Some of the recommendations feel impractical—especially for working parents.

In 2015 a teacher at an elementary school in Wisconsin posted a 'bedtimes by age' chart to Facebook, and parents are still commenting on this post nearly four years later.

The teacher who posted the chart, Stacy Karlsen, didn't create it, she just found it, she told Fox 6 back in 2015. She thought the parents of the 200 or so kids at Wilson Elementary would find the chart as helpful as she did, but the post's viral reach went far beyond her intended audience.

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