She's goop's Chief Content Officer and co-hosts the goop podcast with Gwenyth Paltrow. Elise Loehnen has been a driving force in changing the cultural conversation about women's health and wellness through a female-founded company that is 80% women.
She's also a mother of two, and in the second episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Loehnen tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that even though paid family leave is desperately needed in America, it isn't a silver bullet to fix the problems parents are facing today. To Loehnen, the solution to helping women balance work, motherhood and their health isn't taking them out of the workforce for extended periods of time, but rather creating a culture that allows people to be employees and parents at the same time.
"I just want ongoing flexibility and the ability to manage my own time and work autonomously and know that I'm gonna be able to deliver as best as I can against all of the various demands. But I can only really do that when I feel like I have power and autonomy in my own life," she explains.
Changing the way the workplace sees mothers
As Loehnen tells it, part of the culture at goop is to model a way that women can be mothers and leaders. She is doing that by admitting that the balance shifts daily in a parent's life, and sometimes it's not perfect.
"You're never gonna show up for work every day, because there are gonna be times when you're gonna need to be home with your sick child. And likewise, you're not gonna be at every school event."
For many parents, priorities shift on a daily basis. No one can be in two places at once, but Loehnen suggests that if employers want to hire people who know how to multitask and maximize their efficiency, moms make for good hires. "The amount that I can accomplish in 20 minutes stuns me," she tells Tenety.
Changing the way medical professionals see mothers
Loehnen is changing the way mothers are seen at work, but she wants those who work with mothers to change the way they see us, too.
"I think we need to do a much better job of supporting women physically after childbirth," she says, explaining that "other countries leave us in the dust in terms of other women rebuilding their pelvic floor health [and] making sure their nutrients are back in order."
We know that many new moms in America are putting their own health last, and often feel invisible, even at the doctor's office. This leads to stress, burnout and all kinds of poor outcomes for moms, babies and families.
"You have to go in and complain and complain and complain and mothers don't have time to do that, so I think we need a reclaim and rebuild of health for women after having babies," Loehnen explains.
Loehnen is changing the way this country sees mothers and how we see ourselves, and she's proving that taking a holistic view and seeing us as people, not reducing us to our job titles or single body parts is vital. It's time to look at mothers as a whole because we have so much to contribute.
To hear more about Reshma Saujani and being brave but not perfect, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.