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Maybrooks + Motherly caught up with Cheyne Little, a product education manager at Etsy about how the company supports its mothers as employees, sellers and customers. Here’s what Cheyne had to say about how her work and personal lives coexist at the makers marketplace.



A Pilot Program for New Moms at Etsy

WHO SHE IS

Cheyne Little, Product Education Manager, Etsy

WHERE SHE IS

Brooklyn, NY

WORK SCHEDULE

Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm ET

KIDS

Carys (daughter) 7 months

SANITY VICE

Cranberry + white chocolate oatmeal lactation cookies (made by my mother-in-law)

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FAVORITE TV SHOW

Parks & Recreation or The Good Wife

GO-TO TECH

I live by my iPhone and keep my team organized with Basecamp

BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP

Since I’m still nursing, I get ready in the morning and wear a robe until right before I’m walking out the door to head to work.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO WITH YOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING?

Carys is still young so we mainly like to walk in the park and meet our neighbors’ dogs.

Tell us about your working mom journey. What are you doing now and how did you get here?

Back in

2007 I started my own Etsy shop selling accessories and handbags I made

in my studio in Texas. I loved running my business but was looking for a

big change and an opportunity to work with a team. Four and a half

years ago, I landed a job working working on Etsy’s Community team. I

moved to Brooklyn and started my job the very next day. Since then, I’ve

had great opportunities for growth within the company. Now, I’m happy

to be managing a team of four, focused on helping our sellers use our

site tools to help run their businesses.


You’re part of a pilot program at

Etsy where as a new primary care giver you receive executive coaching to

help you transition back into work with a baby. How is this going and

what are you learning?

The

coaching sessions have been my lifeline after returning four months ago!

On the professional side, my coach helps me work through prioritizing

my team needs. Time has never been more valuable and I’ve needed to

adapt from my previous go-to methods.

What I

personally find most refreshing about the program is how real we can be

with each other. A few weeks after I returned to work, I realized this

was the first time in many years that I couldn’t give all of myself to

my work — my time, my energy, my heart (all of which I gave willingly

and passionately). It felt so confusing to realize I had something else I

wanted to pour myself into.

Having my

daughter has been a much more transformative experience than I ever

imagined. I often feel like I’m a different person and it’s great to

have someone help me organize my thoughts and to know that I’m not doing

it alone.

How has becoming a parent changed the way you manage your team?

Becoming a

parent has generally made me more patient and mindful of others, which

has certainly affected how I approach my relationships at work. I feel

much more empathetic and I want my team to succeed now more than ever.

You also co-wrote with other mothers at Etsy a guide to using the parent’s lounge (aka pump room). What does the guide cover?

New mothers

have enough on their plate. It’s so important that returning moms

aren’t stressed or embarrassed about how everything is going to work

with pumping at the office. Once we published the guide, we shared it

with the entire company with the hopes that it would increase awareness

and support for returning moms (and make everyone feel supported and

comfortable upon their return from maternity leave).

The guide covers:

  • How to book a room & what to expect in each
  • How to buy a breast pump using our health insurance
  • A step-by-step with reminders of things to bring and how to stay comfy if it’s your first time using the room
  • Extra

    resources for moms who are struggling with getting the results they want

    or run into other complications with nursing and pumping


It sounds like many of the

executives at Etsy are leading by example when it comes to work and

family. Can you give us some examples of what this looks like/means

internally?

A

significant number of people on our executive team have a family of

their own. The executives who started their families while working at

Etsy took full advantage of our parental leave policies, including our

CEO Chad Dickerson.

I’m lucky

to have my daughter pretty close to the office and our culture is super

family-friendly, so she’s come and visited for lunch a few times. The

last time my daughter visited the office, our CEO Chad stopped by to see

her and chatted with me about being a parent. It feels right that I’ve

never felt as though I should hide that part of my life from my colleagues and teammates.

At Etsy, I

feel I’m encouraged to be a whole, 3-dimensional person, not just an

employee. From our annual talent show to our Etsy School program (where

employees teach and learn new skills from each other, from jewelry

making to 3D printing) we share and celebrate the things we’re

passionate about that extend far beyond our day-to-day work.

Etsy

basically loves babies. New members of the Etsy family are often

welcomed through an emphatic, company-wide email. We get Etsy baby

gifts. We have an annual Halloween party just for kids and dogs. Our

kitchens have high chairs to encourage lunch visits with family. These

are just a few, seemingly small choices that make me feel that my child

is just as celebrated at Etsy as I am.

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

News

In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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