WILD Parents: What’s next?

Thank you to everyone who joined on August 11th for our first WILD parenting forum. It was truly inspirational to hear how hard everyone is working to manage both family and work during this time of incredible struggle. These parents are committed to the lighting design industry, they are committed to their employers, and they are committed to the safety and well-being of their family. However, balancing these commitments is creating an enormous amount of stress and strain.

What did we learn?

  • There is concern that their careers are lagging because the 40hr work week expectation cannot be met. Many are using the 8PM – Midnight time slot to get work done – burning the candle from both ends. Employers can be open to flexible work hours, and also consider designating specific times that work will not happen so that both parents and employers can plan in advance.
  • Negative perceptions and stigma from work peers are creating rifts at the office.
  • Creating a dedicated school area can help distinguish learning from play.
  • Limiting screen time for kids is hard when they are using them for both school and fun. Try allowing device time only if they are wearing a mask. Either they will tire of the mask and stop device time, or they will learn and be better prepared to wear a mark in public.

What can we do?

  • Join the WILD LinkedIn group to connect with other parents and share ideas.
  • Review and ADD! to the new WILD Parent Resources editable Google Doc.
  • Contact Lois Hutchinson at WILDWLA@gmail.com to discuss your concerns for college-bound students.
  • Find the silver lining! Enjoy the extra family time

September Employer Forum (date TBD)

Employer Forum Survey
There was interest from both business owners and parents to allow space for an Employer Forum for owners and managers to ask questions and discuss solutions. Many are interested in being helpful and accommodating for parents, or other struggling employees, but do not know what to do. This is affecting all businesses, you are not in it alone! We’re still sorting out the details, but we’d like to start by collecting anonymous questions or stories for the forum. Please click on the link.

October Parenting Meet-up (date TBD)
We’ll offer another opportunity for parents to connect and discuss in October, once the school year is a little further along.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
We are in need of a paid Zoom account to host these events! If you are able to help by providing access to an account or funding for a WILD account, please reply to this email to coordinate. Thanks in advance!

WILD recognizes a need to illuminate the struggles of working parents. The 2018 survey Why Mothers Leave Design (and How to Keep Them) and subsequent presentations by Lisa Reed and Emily Klingensmith made it clear that flexibility plays a huge role in allowing parents the chance to provide care for their family while providing their employer with their best work. We also learned during LEDucation 2019 that the family leave policies for many are non-existent or very minimal, and discussed how being a working mother can slow down career growth due to lack of support. The pandemic is bringing these issues to the fore-front and also highlighting the abundance of women’s domestic burden. Studies are showing that the nation may lose a large percentage of women in the workforce as they are forced to choose between work and parenting, and any gains in equal pay may be rolled back due to this loss. Let’s work together to keep that from happening in the lighting industry.

Please share these conversations with all colleagues so that we may have an honest conversation with both men and women. It must be normalized for men to share the responsibility of family needs and to have the opportunity to create a deeper bond with their children. We will not see change until both men and women care about these issues. Join us as we dig in deep on a national level, and compile recommendations that can be a reference for both employees and employers trying to create a more equal and supportive industry.

Check out these links to recent articles

– Check out UN Women for more information on the impact of Covid-19 on women and girls, including their Policy Brief from April 2020.
– The 19th News: America’s First Female Recession
– NYTimes Opinion: Why Did It Take a Pandemic to Show How Much Unpaid Work Women Do?
– Inc.: This Is the Best Schedule for Working Parents When Schools Are Closed, According to a Time Management Expert

Leave a Reply