Flexible Work Options for Twin Parents.
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CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Working with twins? Is it possible? Not everyone can afford full-time childcare, so what other options do you have whether you are expecting twins or you are graduated out of the baby phase, you are maybe wondering what kinds of career choices you may have, if the traditional model of full-time work is not option? Today we are here to talk about flexible work options for twin parents. This is Twin Talks.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Welcome to Twin Talks! Twin Talks is you online on the go support group for expecting and new parents to twins. I am you host Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald. Want to know all about the episodes we released so far? Visit the episode guide on our website at www.newmommymedia.com . That’s also where you can subscribe to our newsletter to learn all about our latest episodes. If you’d like to listen to these episodes on the go, then subscribe to Twin Talks on iTunes or download our free apps. Here is Sunny with details on how you can get involved with Twin Talks.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so Christine mentioned iTunes and iTunes is the biggest way people find out about our show. So a lot of people alert Googling for information and that’s awesome, but a huge portion of our audience still comes from iTunes. So if you happen to be listening through iTunes or through the podcast app on your iPhone we would love for you to leave us a review. That is just so important!
And the way iTunes works is, you know, if people are searching for content through iTunes, the shows that have most ratings and reviews are going to pop-up first. So that’s a great way for you guys just to help us out a little bit and give us your honest feedback on what do you think of Twin Talks. And then that will help other parents to find the show and it also is a good feedback for us, so we know what you think of the show, how it’s been able to help you and if you have any idea on ways we can improve the show, like we are all ears!
So that’s a great thing to do, so we encourage you to check that out. All you have to do is look for ratings and reviews section on that. And it is pretty easy to find. Also we are always looking for different story ideas, different episode ideas and if you would like us to do an episode based on your own experience or perhaps it is something. I know there’s not tons of information out there online regarding twins, which is why we started this show.
And we have tons of episodes that have already been released, but we are always looking for more ideas. So you can always e-mail us through our website at www.newmommymedia.com. You can post it to our Twin Talks Facebook page. You know, there’s a lot of different ways to connect with us and we’ll be happy to look into that for you.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Well, let’s meet everyone that’s joining us today. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, and your experience with today’s topic. So Victoria?
VICTORIA: Hi, Christine! Hi, Sunny! I am Victoria! I am in Nevada, California. And I am a mom of twin daughters who will be three next month, Elly and Lilly. And then I have a son, Sam, who just turned six in February. And my husband works in the video games industry. And I am happy to be here this morning. I recently went back to work at a local small liberal arts university called Dominican University of California.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And Sunny, tell us about your situation and about your kind of career path a little bit there?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah! So I have four kids. I have two singletons, ages five and my four year old, he just turned four yesterday, so five and four. And then my twins are two and a half years old. I have identical girls. And yes, you know, it’s been so interesting. The whole work situation has been interesting for me ever since I got married, because I was on a very… I don’t know, a plan trajectory, I guess I’ll call it. Because I have always been in media and I worked at TV stations. And so it is a very methodical way.
You’ve got to kind of climb up you latter and climb up different market sizes, you know. You don’t start out at a major city. You start on those tiny cities and you work your way up. And then all of the sudden my husband to be is located in a major city and I’m having to make a huge jump in markets. And it really just did not happen. I couldn’t do a lateral jump, which I’m sure we are going to talk about later on.
So I really did have to get creative. And I can certainly share more about that experience. Or what led me to creating these podcast because this is my flexible work option. So I will share that later on.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And for me, I am your host Christine. And you know, I’ve got twins. My girls are six years old. They are identical girls. And I also have a singleton who is three. And you know, I have to say, I was working full-time right before my girls were born and I thought I was continue that and things just changed. So I became a stayed-home mom. So I’ve been a stayed-home mom for the last like six years now.
But I’ll have to say, you know, I fantasies about going back to work constantly. So I’ll say that it has been a great thing to do, you know podcast and apply the experience we’ve had, and… But I am really interested about we have to say today.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so we are going to talk about a news headline and this, I thought, was something that was worth talking about it. We don’t talk about this all too much, but it has to do with the adoption of triplet embryo. So the headline for this is:
People have mixed feelings about this: Evangelical couple who gave birth to black triplets.
So this is a white couple. And I believe… I don’t think they are missionaries, I think their parents… Someone’s parents are missionaries. But anyways! They weren’t able to conceive on their own. And so they had previously adopted two children, a black child, according to this article, it doesn’t go any more specifics than just to say one black child and one biracial child. So they had two kids. They wanted to have more kids. And they adopted triplet baby girls that happen to be black. Again, that’s all it is saying, black embryos.
So I don’t the exact origin of all this. But anyways, yeah! So it is really interesting. You know, there have been some people saying: well, why did you adopt black embryos? Why not, you know, white embryos? Or you know something like that. And so they basically just come back and said: listen, if God meant for us to have fully while children, we would be able to conceive on our own and we believe this is what’s best. And obviously there’s going to be some challenges.
But, you know, they believe this is what’s best for their family and this is, you know, they believe that this is what God led them to do. And so anyways! Just kind of wanted to get everyone’s kind of take on this a little bit. There’s a great little photo of them holding the triplet babies. So cute! And we’ll certainly post this link to our Facebook page for you guys to check it out.But what is your thought on this? Christine?
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Well, Gosh! I have to say, I think that is a really cool thing. It just sounds like they are really passionate about children. And it sounds like there’re just saying: hey, we want babies, we don’t care what ethnic group there are from, we just want babies and we believe that this is part of God’s plan that they weren’t able to conceive on their own.
I mean, I don’t know. I think it is a great thing that they have an open mind and not framing it in terms of: ok, they have to look exactly like me or be from my same background. So I think it is great! I understand kind of the criticism, but you know, maybe it is just saying, you know, we expect people to, you know, adopt their own. So I think it is a great thing personally.
SUNNY GAULT: Right…
VICTORIA: What seems to be standing out for me is the whole idea of embryo adoption. I didn’t even know that existed. So that has a whole other side to the story about the fact that we talk about, you know…there’s so many concerns about embryos, the use of embryos and research, and of that kind of idea that here’s a vehicle of adoption. And I don’t even know if people even consider that options of even separating like that saying that if you are going to adopt an embryo knowing what race or DNA, or something like that.
That’s where I am like: wow, that’s sets a lot, there’s a lot right there. And I think it is extorting people up because it is the decision that… Not to the fact that the woman put embryos in her body and ended up with three children that she had to raise through a healthy, like through a pregnancy and everything like that. Yeah, I mean that alone is a huge endeavor. And then to the fact that whether they were African-American or of Asian descent now coming into play is kind of… It makes people really think about this concept of what we are doing now with embryos, and the freedom that we have with them, and, you know what can happen.
And people are still concerned about the racial demographics of it all and like… That’s kind of the hard part about the story, that people are still shocked about that.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, and it does kind of draw your attention, and she talks about this in the article that: hey, when we walk into Wal-Mart people kind of like stare. Like it is not something you see every day with babies that are so young, right?
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yeah, I mean it is a circus. If you have three babies, I mean, twins, triplets, period. And then: oh, wait you are not the same skin tones, oh!
SUNNY GAULT: Right, so I am sure there’s a lot of explaining that has to go on, or at the very least just kind of ignoring those way weird glances like: what is going on here? So now these babies have like a great home, they seem happy, I mean, the parents are happy. I mean, so, you know…
VICTORIA: Yeah, that’s what I am thinking cause there’s so much discussion about what to do with an embryo when embryo is not being used, so…
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah… Well, we’ll go ahead and again: we’ll post this to our Facebook page and you guys can check the article for yourself.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Well, today we are here with Victoria Worsh and ok, I am going to say it the German way: Worsh. And we are talking about some different kinds of work opportunities that might be a better fit after you have twins, if you are thinking about going back to work after having twins. So Victoria, I mean, you are a twin mother yourself. Maybe you can just tell us a little bit of your story of you know, what your transition has been?
VICTORIA: Yes! I forgot to mention earlier in my introduction that I am a writer for www.twinuniversity.com which is one of the main websites that many twin parents might find, or triplet parents find for resources. And so I write for Twin University about this experience of going back to work and how you…what is the biggest challenge that you face.
And doing writing and research in my own experience, I found that there are three different kinds of stayed-at-home parents, like once you discover this rally that you’re having twins. You either go in the place of like: I’m going… Maybe you always knew that you wanted to stay home with your babies, and then you’ll make a decision about work after that.
You either cannot leave your job for any financial reasons and so you want to look at how much leave you can take from your job to handle the first year of having twins. Even this first six months. And I offer an advice: just try to get at least six months of time off, cause I don’t think I could see straight until six months, so…from my own experience.
And then the third part is that: what if this is life-changing thing that was meant to happen to you and you didn’t realize that you’re going to, you know, need to reconsider different options for work. And it is kind of where I came in to play in my own life. But the biggest challenge, I think, with twins is time and energy, because everything is double.
I had a one year maternal leave. It wasn’t paid, but it was an opportunity that I had a one year maternity leave. But I knew that in a due to job changes for my husband that we weren't in the affordability to be able to stay where I had that job, I was going to have to leave that job. So I knew that through that year of my maternity leave… We made a move in that time and I moved away and I knew was not going to be able to return to that position.
So about three months prior to my leaving day I started thinking: am I going to spend my next three months trying to find a job? Am I going to spend the next three months enjoying my babies and just let life happen after? Or Am I going to write? So I just kind of like started writing and I let that day pass without a job. And so for me that was like the biggest challenge cause I was officially a stayed-at-home mom without a job. And I spent the next year after that applying for work. And I kept discovering that the full-time work wasn't happening.
And so it took me good two and a half years to get back into the work force. And I worked in a higher education, so it’s just where I thought… But then I also kept trying other jobs too that… What I learned from the experience, Sunny and Christine, is that you take your talents with you and your talents can be used in many different places that you never even thought, because I was thirteen years in the same position and at two different campuses, but I got very familiar with my work, that it became who I was, what I was an expert in, I couldn’t imagine doing anything different… Until the twins happen.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: You know, Victoria that is a really great story. And I love that you really embraced the changes. And it just sounds like you went through this evolution of who you are and your identity as a mom and as a career woman, and just looking at your situation and all the requirements around it. And your financial situation changed. And I think that’s really great that you were really looking at every aspect of it and looking in what’s best for your kids, what’s best for you and you weren’t just rushing back into things. Even if meant that maybe financially you didn’t have that extra income.
VICTORIA: Yeah, because it became like…at that moment in time we were like: ok, $4000 for childcare! That’s how much it would have cost to put the three kids in childcare in the peninsula of the Bay area, and we were like $4000… But you know what, and I have to be honest and tell people that what I was meant to experience when I ended staying home with my twins, it wasn’t about the fact that I became a stayed-at-home mom with my twins, it became the fact that I got time with my son.
I was working and I didn’t realize that I needed time with my son. And so I got… When the twins came and I became a stayed-at-home mom, all of the sudden I was having afternoons with my son that I never had before. And then I got to have this new relationship with my son that I didn’t realize that I needed. And everything kind of changed. And then I realized: yeah, you have your children for certain amount of time and you have a life time to work.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: And Sunny, how about you? Can you tell us a little bit about your career transition?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, and it happen at a very unique time. My background is in media and think about how media has changed over the last 10 years. And my life changed drastically as media was changing. So it was kind of the best opportunity for me to still do what I love to do and do less of it from a work type of office facility.
Still, many things, you know, are the same, but there’s still a lot of differences. So I did have to kind of break away a little bit from television specifically, although I am not going to rule-out… You know, I worked at news stations and I worked as a news anchor and reporter. And so you know, you’d have to go into a job really to cover stories and to do that kind of stuff, you have to be kind of out and about, and do your thing there. But that training… You know, that’s not the only thing, you know, that I could do, you know. Those jobs taught me so much within the realm of media and communication.
I didn’t have to be on TV. And as that was happening, is when the internet started becoming really popular. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of YouTube. But YouTube came out and exploded. And suddenly my skills and being able to create video, create audio that I was doing for television, were now applicable in other areas that … I mean guys you know the stories, I mean, people are creating … without having a media and journalism background, people are creating great content and putting them online and they are doing all of this from their home or from the places they want to do it from.
And so I think it was great timing, completely unintentional timing, but great timing for me to just say “okay, what is my skill set”; don’t think about where you are going to put your skills - what is my skill set and beyond that - what makes me happy because you may be really good at something but you may not enjoy it and for me, any time that I was going to spend away from my kids needed to be something that I was going to enjoy. And if it wasn’t, it just wasn’t worth it to me then let’s just put it off as long as we can, as long as we can afford and then I will just do it when I have to do it.
But if I can do something that I love to do and just take smaller portions of time away from my kids and hopefully make some money doing it - that was what I was going for; that was my goal. And it has taken long time and it is still work in progress to be able to figure out - okay, what can we really afford to do because I am not earning the same pay checks I did at a TV station, I will be honest, I am not.
But I am happier, I have a lot more flexibility with my life; what we were talking about earlier as far as having time to spend with your other kids, I had two singletons prior to my twins coming along, you know, so there is no way I would be able to manage four kids working a 9 to 5 job. I mean the money, you know, to Victoria’s point, the money that you would have to spend, it is just not worth it. So for me it was about timing and it was about just being in the right place at the right time obviously and then just being flexible, just thinking again - what is my skill set and how can I make this work.
VICTORIA: And you know what Sunny, I think when we say flexible, you know, let’s just think about work for a second in terms of your concept of your life. Can you be flexible to the fact that it is okay if you are not working 9 to 5? Can you be flexible to let your husband do the pay check? For me, that was the big thing; like I was … I have never in my life been dependant on anyone, you know, I was like … yeah, right. So it is like can you be flexible and like that I think is what you have to ask yourself - are you willing to be flexible and see what life is going to take you to.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Traditionally, this had affected more women than men but do you see more men with the same dilemma? I mean, now we are looking at … I mean, I have friends that are stay at home dads so it seems like there might be more men that are experiencing this phenomenon, trying to figure out what do they want to do next. So, Victoria?
VICTORIA: There is the saying that millennial men are like this equal group of men, like these men that are like “yeah, I totally support my wife going further in her career or I am totally open to stay at home with children”. For some reason, they are the end of the baby boomer people that are raising the millennia’s have done something to shift the brain of these younger men that they are more open to it.
Where my husband and I both were raised by traditional baby boom parents but I do know a millennial man who is staying home with his twins and it just so happens and the situation that his wife, her work, was the one that was bringing in the benefits and bringing in the stability and stuff and he was open to stay at home with the babies and they have a really great relationship and I think that just that respect, that dual respect to it, and I like that because there is a big difference that I have seen. I am 39 so …
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yeah, so it is either … and I think it is interesting because I am sure that a lot of corporate policies probably come into play because there are some companies that provide different maternity leaves and maybe the paternity leave or parental leave is not quite so generous so I am thinking that is probably a factor, if it is one person …
VICTORIA: Yeah and I think it is definitely shifting especially in the media when you have like Mark Zuckerberg being way open about being a dad and just more ability for men to talk about fatherhood and Marie [inaudible21:01] husband talking about being the lead parent so he shared his experience. So yeah, I think that it is just … I love it now, you can see it more that it changes your brain and you are more flexible.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Those new millennial men, I love the expression the millennial men …
SUNNY GAULT: That sounds like a movie or something …
VICTORIA: That is my new thing I want to talk about, you know, with random people. Think about this like this concept that these millennial men are way more equal because you think about your father-in-law or something like that … yeah, my father-in-law is a pretty traditional guy. But my dad on the other hand wasn’t … my dad and my parents grew up right you know where … our moms didn’t have … if mom was going to work in the in the 1970s or 80s, she was not getting any flexibility so …
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Now, I am wondering, you know, we kind of talked a little bit earlier about sort of the different groups of folks who are looking to go back to work or to stay home and it got me thinking about are there any stages of twins age or development that sort of triggered that time like - oh, my kids are breastfed so I have that freedom to go back to work or oh, my kids are … I know lots of times I hear about they are in school so now I can go back to work and I have put in my time. Do we see any kind of trends in there?
VICTORIA: I was triggered by like there is this book called Ready or Not, There We Go: The Real Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years With Twins by Elizabeth Lyons and she says that when they hit 18 months and they start talking, she says get out. She is like “get out of the house; find something to do’; I loved it like she just kept repeating like ‘they are going to come at you, they are both going to talk to you, you need to get breaks’. So that was something that I read early when my girls were turning 2, it made me start thinking about - yeah, I have to get something … and so like I was motivated last year, I have to get at least part time work, something that gets them into pre-school because you are going to need that break.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: You know, it is funny I can say when my twins were potty-trained, I think for that I was sort of like this sort of like “oh my gosh, things got easier” and I felt like I could just do more and at that point we decided we decided we can have another child and so then we got pregnant with our singleton so … So yeah, I guess instead of going back to work I said “okay, we will just have more family”.
But you know, I could say for me as well, I mean, my goals are … the twins are 6 years old, they are in school and schedule-wise it just breaks up the day a little bit differently. I mean, I drive them to school in the morning and then I pick them up in the afternoon and there is an extended care available. I have been thinking about it more that while we do have the little pre-schooler at home right now, I am thinking well, you know, I think I could be creative with this block of time and do more with it.
So I feel like kind of the school … we have finally gotten into routine where I feel like, okay, I think I can do more on my own and reinvent myself, maybe now it is the time to reinvent myself.
VICTORIA: And I think in a way like luxury … I feel like for some parents that have to keep working, there is no real luxury of like thinking about of what you would want to do differently because right now you are just kind of like surviving, you are in stay mode, I work and this covers this and I take care of that and I don’t really … the creativity of getting that opportunity to break and ask yourself if you are really loving what you are doing, is that really what you want to be doing; the time that you get that reflection has to come and I don’t know … unless something shocking happens.
But I want those full-time moms to also allow yourself to think about that flexibility of if you wanted to change your career that you could too. It is possible but I feel like sometimes when you are responsible for making sure that bills are paid and everything is taken off and the housing and everything … that’s hard to allow yourself that flexibility when you are not a stay at home mom, you don’t have an opportunity to go back into it.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: Yeah, that’s a good point to say that yeah, if you are working full time and maybe you are happy with it or you just want some sort of change, there might be some flexible options and I think we can go into that in just a little bit. I was just thinking also for those who are the stay at home moms, I wanted to … without space of time be able to use my creative skills so that has been kind of what got me into this. Maybe what are something other motivations for wanting to go back to work.
SUNNY GAULT: For me personally as far as why I just have this drive to, it’s not work to make money, because I don’t really think about work in terms of making money I kind of let my husband take on that burden honestly, but I have the sense of, I don’t know, needing to feel accomplishment and because I’ve been fortune enough to do jobs that I love to do and that I’m good at like I think that even feels it even more.
But I have to admit that was my drive that was the but how I sold it to my husband, because my husband has always been like “Listen, you can stay at home with the kids, be a stay at home mom, just take care of the kids, you don’t have to do anything else until the kids go back to school. Then I need you big time”. In my head I’m thinking “Great!” because that means I’ve got to be out of work for five-six whatever years and in media, we explained earlier, media changes so fast, like if you’re not on it, you miss it and with social media now and everything like you have to stay in the game.
So for me I was like “Okay, I know my husband says I don’t need to work now, but in order for me to provide financially for the family when all my kids are in school unless I want to do a job that’s completely unrelated and for me doing these shows and doing media related stuff it’s like breathing for me. Like I have to do it just something I have, even if no one paid me a single cent, this is what I would be doing, because I just have a drive to do it.
And so, it’s been deferent, you know, for me it’s supposed to like kind of, so my pitch to my husband in doing this is “Listen I’ve got to keep my skills set up. I have to do this, because I know you’re going to need my in five years, well now it’s not five years, now it’s like three years. I know you’re going to need me in this point and I don’t want to get a temp job. I don’t want to put myself at the bottom of the ladder when I know I’m really good at other stuff.
I mean I went to school for other stuff. I did internships for media stuff. I climbed the ladder in media to get to where I am now and I don’t want to miss out on that. I don’t want to resent my husband or my family because I’m suddenly doing a job I can’t stand, simply because I need to bring in money.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Yeah I am totally with you on that because I feel like, you know my background is marketing and you know some of the energy I’ve put into that has been through my local twins club as well trying to just market just the outreach and use kind of like organizational skills to get that more lined up and online and using like modern technology, things like that, and you know and it’s been a good feel in where I can put that on the resume as well to say that “Hey, this is something that is tangible, it has tangible results” and it feels good, I totally agree with you. It’s not the money, but I feel like I’m making a difference.
VICTORIA: And I feel like a lot of it is that I’m learning to become humble, because I went from like been an administrator to like walking into my local twin club and say “Hey, hi, I used to be a director in studio live, do you need me to do anything I can to this and this and this”, right and they were like “ Who the hell are you?” and you know and “What are you doing here?” my twins are literally like five and a half months, they wonder “What am I doing here?” “Why am I not home dying?”
But I was like on this place well up I was concern about my career I’ve got to stay and talk about my skills I have to like and I didn’t realize that as I’m going through different experiences in the last year may be even sometimes it come to my new job. It’s hard to go from a place where people know you and they already know what you’ve accomplished to go into a room where nobody knows you at all and you have to be humble and what you can offer and learning how to be awesome.
“Don’t you know who I am?!”, you know, and when you’re climbing the ladder you learn from climbing the ladder of career is that people start to know who you are and then people know you and then “Yes, they know how awesome I am” and then when you get off the ladder or you’re in a new town or you’re somewhere people don’t know you …
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: There’s no credibility , it’s like “OK, here is my paper resume” …
VICTORIA: Exactly , right and so I’m remember going to my local community and trying to join the local city council for committee and they asked me “Tell us a little bit about yourself” and I didn’t know how to say that I was stay at home mom. It was like I couldn’t answer the question I like buffed so bad and then like a year later after I did a leadership program and a bunch of other stuff and people got to know me, they were like “Oh, okay” know I can say and I was proud to say I was say at home mom.
But the first time at the gate I was, I struggled I just couldn’t, I didn’t know what it was and it took me time ant that’s ok and that’s when I realized it was ok. And now when I met this position that I’m at I have no problems telling people “Oh yeah I used to do this but before that I was a stay at home mom” I’ve just recently been home. I have so much pride for anyone now like who’s even stay at home mom, I love it, it’s humbled me tremendously and it makes me think I’m going to be even a better leader down the road or whatever happens or whatever I continue to do, but friends would say “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul”
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: I love that expression! We’re going to take a break and when we come back we’re going to continue our discussion about twin parents going back to work and looking in some of the last traditional opportunities.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Well, welcome back. Today we are talking about flexible work options for twin parents. So let’s look at some of the ways you can uncover job opportunities that offer more flexibility than the traditional 9 to 5 scenario. Where do you start, I mean, gosh, it seems like the job market and the way you find jobs nowadays is so different than it was even 3 or 4 years ago and then now we are having this layer of flexibility? So, where do you start and where do you go look?
VICTORIA: The first thing you want to start with is definitely LinkedIn; you definitely want to invest in presenting yourself on LinkedIn so you know, whatever it is the stuff you did before the babies came, any volunteer work you are doing right now, you know, take some time to get yourself a nice presentation that you can easily send to anybody. And you will be surprised; the part-time position I found, I found through LinkedIn.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:So Victoria, you know, I have to wonder … on the LinkedIn profiles I have to say up until I had twins I had a very straight pathway and now after having twins, it has become kind of windy, I mean I have done a lot of different things with the local twins club and doing podcast and so if I was to go out and look for another job, my background is software marketing, how much should I incorporate on there, I mean in terms of all these other stuff?
VICTORIA: Because my … you know, my freelance writing for Twin University became like my profile, I was like - this is what I am currently doing and I tried to look from like that was a standpoint because feeling proud about the stuff that was being published so I feel like I have examples and I think the same thing with the podcast that you guys are doing. It shows that you are doing … you are using some sort of skills right now and it shows that you are connected to something. It is in the “summary” section of LinkedIn is where you really start to like figure out your vision for what you are looking for so there is where you can get creative or how you want to spin the whole … if you want to talk about what you have been doing staying home with the twins or the other stuff that you are doing.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:So, you know, we were kind of talking about updating your profile but how do you incorporate the idea of flexibility? What if you don’t want to go back to work full time but you are really looking for a part-time option or something that is at least flexible? What are some phrases that you can put in your profile or when you are talking to potential employers to let them now that you want something that is more flexible? How do you ask for it?
VICTORIA: Yeah because I think what happens is … while I feel like LinkedIn is a good place because we all need a place to get ourselves organized and maybe you don’t use LinkedIn but when you think about creativity and want flexible work hours, then you start thinking about how far are you willing to drive or now that you have narrowed it down to like you want to work from home and you are going to create a little workspace in your house and you are going to have someone come in twice a week that is going to take care of the babies while you do your specific thing, then that helps you narrow down what you are looking for.
Then you start putting yourself out there, you start contacting people, your friends on Facebook and you start letting people know - I am looking to start back into the … I am looking for some flexible work hours and I am available at these days; when you get yourself organized, it is amazing what happens when things start lining up for you; when you are more clear on what you want and what you need, what is the most important, the top five, what is the most important to me because it was like easy because it is on your hand, you can count it on your fingers.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, I think it is important to … not just figure out what you want but also, I mean, I think that is important, you have to know what you want but I think sometimes it is about taking baby steps to get there. I am in a situation now where for a long time I was just kind of pushing myself and pushing myself and I really didn’t have any childcare for the kids, my oldest is in kindergarten now but I really didn’t have any support with my other three, including my twins.
I was just cutting back on sleep, I literally was getting two or three hours of sleep at night and falling asleep during the day and it was just a nightmare because I just couldn’t get everything done and I sat down with my husband and I am like “I am not taking care of myself. I can’t keep going at this rate” and I knew, my head wanted to do all these stuff for work, right. I have to do this and that is full time and truly as a full time job to do what I need to do.
And instead of … I just couldn’t keep taking that extra time out of sleep and so for me, it was my husband and me sitting down and going “how do I get to where I want to be; okay we are going to have to take some baby steps here”, you know, what do you need in order to accomplish your goal and for me it was listen, if I had three hours every day where I could truly just work and not be interrupted every five seconds with a need or baby crying or toddler crying or whatever. Then I wouldn’t spend 8/ 10 hours a day trying to get work done. Then it would be done in a condensed amount of time and then I could move on with my day and I would be there for my family more and everything would be better.
So what we worked out was a 3-month trial period of which I am two weeks into this 3-month trial period where all three … so I’ve got my kindergartener then I have got my three other kids in half-day preschool and it is test period and we are going okay, to make what you want to have happen, you need this time. So we worked out for the next three months we are just coughing up the money that it is going to take and the theory is that hopefully, and again it is a test, hopefully I have more time to get the work done. I can bring in more money because I’ve got more time, it is condensed.
So I am there for my job I am more present for my job, I am more present for my family when it is family time and then it is done. And the ideas that I can bring in more money to be able to cover the cost in the future and really it is jut baby steps. It is not saying “for this next year, I have to do something full time”. It is like “let's try this and see if it works and if not, let’s roll with the punches" and I think that is important whatever your situation is.
I think it is important just to say “it is not written in stone, you know, what you have to do” and it goes back to term - being flexible, you know. We have to - we are moms now; our whole day has to be flexible in some way because you never know what your kids are going to do.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Now, switching gears here, I wanted to look at another option; if you are thinking about hey, maybe the existing work is not really the model I want to look for; there is another opportunity out there and there is actually a website called FlexJobs and it really focuses on work from home opportunities and I think that’s something that maybe a lot of people haven’t heard about. So, FlexJobs … Sunny, have you heard of Flex Jobs?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, absolutely. So, they actually put out a press release and it has been a while now but I think a lot of these jobs, I mean just kind of give you an idea - if you are thinking about changing jobs - where do I even start, they came out with this … it was more like a press release to say “here are some things that we found” and the title of it was 10 surprising work from home jobs for moms seeking work-life balance.
I can go through these pretty quickly, I don’t know if it is on their website anymore but public affairs, communication specialist and I can say even from being in the media, there are a lot of virtual assistants you may want to Google some stuff like that … a lot of those people are overseas but not necessarily, you can definitely … I mean the whole point of being a virtual assistant is that you don’t have to be right there with your virtual boss.
So there is a lot of opportunities there; senior director for fund raising, so if you are calling on people or whatever, a lot of times you don’t have to be right there in the room and we have got really great tools right now when it comes to Google Hangouts, I know we use that a lot on New Mommy Media for just getting together and talking with experts or with just one another.
Skype and that kind of stuff, you can do these virtual meetings so if you really do need to connect with your colleagues, you can certainly do that in other ways; a staff attorney - I will just go through some of these pretty quickly - online associate faculty, nurse care manager, human resources business partner, this was interesting, SEC football writers it is very specific but it goes back to the writing things the blogging thing. Yeah and so there is just a lot of opportunity with that vice president business development, American sign language, adjunct teacher - a lot of teachers are now teaching online.
So I mean if you are a teacher, maybe there are opportunities with universities that are completely online; the last one here they list is associate creative director. So just to kind of give you a taste; I know these are very specific but yeah, FlexJobs is a great website to check out. We will be sure to link to that on the episode page for this website because these jobs are changing all the time and we just want to kind of give everyone a taste of some of the stuff out there to get the wheels turning because there are certainly some jobs that you are still going to have to be there in person but there is a lot that is happening right now with technology and media to allow people to work remotely including the jobs that I just mentioned.
VICTORIA: And I want to plug that idea too about making sure you talk to your partner about - can you give me Saturdays, like 10am to noon so I could go to a coffee shop and get myself, you know, I need to find the work I want to do or let’s talk about … because if you don’t have any help right now and you are full 24/7, you could have to negotiate with your partner or even if you can find a neighbor or somebody that can allow you that hour a day or that two hours on the weekend or something, you can go out and start searching for these stuff because that was a key factor for me.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Having those blocks of time, yes.
SUNNY GAULT: Seriously - it is a lifesaver.
VICTORIA: And it is like you said, if it is a little investment, maybe you don’t go out every week, can you take that money just to have you … just pay someone just to come, you know, to give yourself that block.
SUNNY GAULT: That is exactly what my husband and I did. I said “let’s print out our credit card bills, let’s see what we can cut back on and seriously - what can we cut back on because I am going crazy here”, I am going crazy and my sanity is much more important than a trip to whatever we have been doing or going out to eat for this or doing … we never go out to eat, I don’t even know why I used that as an example … when you become a parent, when do you go out to eat. But, you know, stuff like that little things that we can cut back on, purchases and stuff like that.
VICTORIA: And you feel refreshed afterwards too and you are a better mom.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Mental space … I am all for creating a little bit of mental space. No, I was thinking … we were kind of talking about sort of like on the FlexJob side, I mean, this is generally it sounds like it is really more employment opportunities where you work for a company and they send you a pay check but I think like in Sunny’s situation so she used her skills to create a business and I will say, I have been talking to a lot of my friends who have gone on that route of being self-employed and saying - hey, you know, I have got this skill set and I am at a point in my career where I feel confident where I can go out and build something on my own and I have got maybe some business acumen … we will get the advice but at least the technical skills to say - hey, I want to do either consulting or create a business service. So, I mean that is definitely another option, I don’t know Sunny, I mean how did you decide to go into business yourself?
SUNNY GAULT: Because there was nothing out there that was what I wanted to do. I created it because what I wanted to do wasn’t available but what I would say to people is - listen, do your research first and if you are brand new parents, especially if you have twins, I am not a huge advocate of saying - start your own business - unless you are one of those crazy people and I was a crazy person so I understand the crazy people but unless you are a crazy person that is just like, you know, really wanting to do it - don’t do it; see if there is something else out there that is similar and talk to those people.
When I first decided that I wanted to go into podcasting, the first thing I did was start working for other podcasts and it wasn’t until those podcasts said “we don’t want to do this anymore” I was like “well crap, I have to do this on my own” and so I was able to turn this into something really good and better than I was doing before but that is my advice. I think we would all agree that our families are our priorities and when you start your own business, there is so much unforeseen stuff, you are the head haunch and everything that comes through your business comes through you on some level; you are ultimately responsible for everything and it is very difficult to do that and also be in control of your family.
So my advice is yes, if that is just built into your blood, you are always going to have that and at some point you are going to have to do it and you have got to make that judgment call and when you do it … but if that is not built into your blood, seriously do your research, even if there is not a job posting out there for what you want, contact that company.
I have created jobs where there weren’t jobs in this business; I said “listen, I am right here in San Diego and you are right here in San Diego, this is my skill set” and I created a job out of nothing. So don’t wait for a job to come to you; see if the people that are already in existence will take you on and if not then maybe go a different route.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Yeah. I do have to say - okay, in the process I mean here on Twin Talks we have had a number of guests in our show who saw a need as a twin parent so they weren’t so much relying on their previous professional career but they saw something like their twins were really messy eaters so they created a special placemats for eating or we have had guests who created baby carriers that are just for twins and so I was like - wow, they put that in production. And I have to say “wow, my hats are off to them” but I mean, gosh, but the work involved …
SUNNY GAULT: There is so much work.
VICTORIA: Yeah and it is pretty amazing what you think you could do after you have twins.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:And you know what and some of them have even appeared on [inaudible46:15] as well so …
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, I know … they are big time, it is awesome. Kudos for them - that is fantastic.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD:Well, thanks so much to our parents for joining us today and be sure to visit our episode page on our website for more information about flexible work options and as well we have additional resources available and this conversation continues for members of our Twin Talks Club. And after the show, we are going to talk about some of the creative work from home arrangements and maybe some twin oops at home while we are working and for more information about the Twin Talks Club visit our website www.newmommymedia.com
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so before we wrap up today’s show, we have a “Twin Oops” which is a segment that we do on the show where you guys tell us your funny stories that have happened with your twins. And this one comes from Megan and we actually ask this question on the Multiples of America Facebook page and so Megan responded and she said:
My boys were naughty toddlers. They threw eggs any time they got the chance …
Which makes me wonder, how often do you get the chance to throw eggs but anyway, she continues:
Well, once I went to a doctor’s appointment. They heard I had twins and they said “oh, there was a guy in here a couple of weeks ago that had twin boys that threw eggs, could you imagine that” and I said “yes, I can. That was my husband”. We had a good laugh and I was mortified.
So yeah, throwing eggs … I guess you would want to keep the eggs on the top shelf of the fridge, I am thinking maybe not let them break the eggs open when you are cooking.
VICTORIA: Maybe she was teaching them you know the crack and the egg …
SUNNY GAULT: Exactly, so Megan thanks so much for sending this in and if you guys have a Twin Oops that you would like to send us, please do, we would love to share it on our show. You can go to our website on www.newmommymedia.com and click on the contact link. Also through the website, you can send us a voicemail which is great actually it picks up the microphone on your computer so you don’t actually have to call us and you just have to look for that grey little banner on the side that says “Send voicemail”.
CHRISTINE STEWART-FITZGERALD: That wraps up our show for today, we appreciate your listening to twin talks.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who give breast milk to their babies
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers and
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
This is twin talks, parenting times two.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media Network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you’re a business, or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com.
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