>> Good evening, everyone.
I'm Eva Castleton, manager of alurm eventsat Girl Scouts of the USA.
And I'm so excited to present to you our CampfireChat hosted by the Girl Scout network, work life integration in the time of COVID-19.
Featuring panelists Lauren Smith Brody, authorof the Fifth Trimester, Sarah LaFleur CEO at M.
LaFleur in conversationwith our moderator Ann Shoket, former editor in chief of Seventeen, and author of The Big Life.
Our incredible speakers will be discussinghow the pandemic impacts our fragile home ecosystems, jobs, friendships, romantic relationships, and families, and how we can make it all work.
Before we get started, I'd love to tell youa little bit more about the Girl Scout Network.
We're a powerful community of adults, GirlScout alums and supporters from across the country who believe in preparing girlsto be the leaders of the future and supporting each other today.
If you're reconnecting with us now welcomeback into the Girl Scout sisterhood.
Our campfire chats are hosted virtually andbroadcasts live, where successful women talk with us about the ways they advocate for morefemale leadership and continue to cultivate careers on the frontlines of change.
I'm thrilled to introduce you to our moderatorAnn Shoket, author of The Big Life who has been heralded by visionaries like IssaRay as the phenomenal champion for women, Ann will be taking us on this journey overthe next hour, and I'll be sharing [Inaudible] So don't be afraid to ask.
And don't forget to tag social posts with#campfirechats, and @girlscouts.
Thank you so much again for joining us Ann, the mic is all yours.
>> Hello, hello.
Well, hello, first of all to my beautiful, amazing fellow panelists.
Here, Sarah LaFleur and Lauren Brody, whoI am honored to be in conversation with.
And thank you so much to the Girl Scouts.
Eva, thank you for a wonderful introduction.
I just want to take one very brief momentat the beginning of this to say how honored I am to be here with the Girl Scouts.
I was a Brownie growing up in LittletonColorado, but I sold Girl Scout cookies.
And this year I bought Girl Scout cookies, they're all already eaten.
And I really just want to say how thrilledI am that the Girl Scouts are still bringing women together in a great sense of community, and really building confidence for girls and women of all ages.
I think that these campfire chats are a wonderfulexperience, the skills that I learned as a Girl Scout macramé, maybe not so much.
Certainly the sense of community and sisterhoodthat was really fostered in my troop is something that I really it's one of the values thatI hold true today.
And actually, just really one quick, amazingplug and thank you for the Girl Scouts.
The fact that I learned macramé as a Brownieand that now Girl Scouts are learning, coding.
I think that that is an amazing sign of thetimes and also incredibly rewarding hope for the future.
I don't know if macraméing is totally beena been a huge part of my adult life, but maybe the attention to detail.
Maybe a little moment of self care to reallyfocus on something small that you can only that requires all of your attention to getperfect and excellent maybe some of those skills transfer in any case.
We're here today to talk about work life balance.
But if any of you know anything that you'veever heard me say before, I think that work life balance is a sham.
I've been saying it for years.
There is no there is not even any idea oflike having it all.
That is not something that even is somethingaspirational anymore.
It's all pressure and no sense of possibility.
And when we talk about work life balance therethis idea as if your work in your life should come perfectlyinto balance together.
That just doesn't exist.
We are all work all the time.
All life all the time and now.
We are literally all work all life all workall life that the walls between the two anything that was there before has completely disintegrated.
We are on top of each other.
We are on top of each other as a family withour children.
In our people are working out where they areworking and sleeping where they are working.
It's like there is no you couldn't get a moment'speace or even a tiny little breath between the two if you tried.
And so, to have you both here talking about, what do we do? How do we keep our ambitions burning to keepus moving forward? How do we keep from losing our minds? From from completely burning out and tippingover the edge? And how do we not? And how do we like how do we not give intothe anxiety and frankly, a little bit of a sense of hopelessness that is brewing in theworld? And so first of all, I want to start withyou, Lauren, talk to me about what are the things that we have to change the expectationsthat have to change for ourselves now? >> First of all, I echo your thanks to the Girl Scouts and to their evolved and amazingmission.
Although I have to say my mom, I asked my mom last night if she could dig up a pictureof me and my brownie uniform from Austin, Texas from 19, sometime between 1983 and 86.
And she texted it back to me.
And and then said, wouldn't it be so greatif we could all just still earn badges? And yeah, like, Can you imagine the badges thatwe are for the badges, right? When I think of the badges that I have personallyaccomplished in the last six weeks, that that is like a huge what stash of badges.
What was your question? And I'm sorry, your question was, how, what? >> What we're really wrestling with is theexpectation, right? >> Yeah.
>> And so what are the expectations that haveto change? How do we have to change how we think aboutwork and life in this time? >> So I think, you know, the three of us havetalked probably a lot over the last couple of years in the work that we do about thefact that this generation of women puts more expectations on ourselves out of out of abilityand out of, you know, our access to the education that we've had, and all of the opportunitiesthat we've had, in some ways have bitten us in the butt because we think we have to doall of those things all the time.
And, you know, we can stand on mountains andsay, you don't have to do it all You don't have to do it all You don't have to do itall.
And now we're in this crisis, where actuallylike we, in some ways, we are doing all of the things and in other ways, we're failingleft and right.
And yet there is also this kind of wonderfultransparency of like, flawed existence that we're all a lot more comfortable sharing.
Or at least it seems to have happened veryrapidly that we've gotten more comfortable with the fact that our kids are going to bustinto meetings, I would be shocked if one of my children or my dog doesn't run in hereat some point in the next hour.
And, and that that's gonna have to be okay.
Because otherwise you're not getting anythingout of me, right? Like, this is what we're having to sort ofcommunicate to our families that if you want, you know, Mom, wife, person in this familyto contribute in all the ways that I do, you're going to have to see that my work is prettyvisible, and work if you want me to do this job now.
And if I'm going to be able to do it, you'regoing to have to be okay with seeing my life.
And so the expectations finally have kindof been changed for us in a way that I think ultimately can be a positive.
I don't want to, you know, shine like a bigsilver light of hope on you know, this is all glorious and wonderful for everybody.
No, but there, there are some things thatwill evolve more quickly.
I think in terms of workplace culture andwork life integration that we're going to take a decade are now going to happen in sixmonths.
And I think that could be a good thing.
>> I mean, I've been saying that the thingsthat I have learned from millennials are transparency and freedom from the office.
And frankly, like we suddenly got transparencyand freedom from the office.
Like you have to have it doesn't know askingfor It there's there's no eye rolling it like a millennials right there, Aren't they soentitled? Yes, we're entitled because it's your lifeand it's your work and it's all the time.
But the What about the personal expectations? Lauren tell me a little bit about the waysin which like that idea that because we can do it all We should do it all or we shouldwant it all.
Like I am feeling completely overwhelmed byit's enough that I'm trying to keep my business going, and my kids doing some, schoolwork.
but then then then I'm following influencerswho are telling me to use this time to meditate and do yoga and think about the things thatI just can't i can't think about those things.
I don't have time.
And so one of that's one of the expectationsI've had to let go is that this is free time.
This doesn't feel like free time.
But Lauren is because you are the expert in equality, right equality in the workplace, what are the expectations that we have to set at work with our bosses with our partners? >> So I get I get really practical about thisstuff really quickly because I think, you know, we can all sort of have, we all comefrom our own place of like, whatever degree of privilege we may have in terms of our expectationsof you know, our deliverables.
But you have to kind of think of things interms of like, what I'm trying to say like this is okay, this is exactly what I'm talkingabout.
I am not a person who typically loses my trainof thought my brain right now is so we were just talking about this in the warm up inthis call before we even got on.
Sarah, you were saying that, you know, rememberthe name of Minneapolis.
>> I couldn't remember the name of Minneapolis >> Exactly.
>> One of the many words I forgotten but >> And so and so I am just going to live thetransparency, right? I had a thought, and it totally flew out ofmy head, I have I have become a person who now wakes up in the middle of the night tosee if I can get the spot for the grocery delivery.
And believe me that impacts sleep impactsall kinds of things.
Anyway, in terms of what you're actually ableto accomplish at work, the the sort of practical advice that I have been giving the women whoI coach I coach.
So in my like normal life, I coach women whoare coming back to work after having a baby to help them sort of make that transitionsuccessfully in a way that lets them sustain their career and hopefully even be able tomake some change in their workplaces for the positive.
And one bit of advice that I'm giving to themis just as a takeaway is you're probably if you're trying to work from home while alsocaring for a family.
You might be able to receive information allday long.
You probably do have your phone in your handyou might be able to like read the slack, read the emails, what you probably don't havecopious time to do is sit down and actually type at your keyboard and produce thoughtsproduce words, move things forward.
So if you can be really clear with and thiseven this requires a degree of agency that many, many, many, many women in particulardo not have in the workplace, but to whatever degree you have it, grab it, and be clear witheverybody you work for and people who work for you and people who work around you aboutwhat two times during the day are going to be your output times and help them understand.
Oh, here we go busting in child right now.
No, it's okay.
Do you need me urgently? Okay.
My my fifth grader got a lot of homework done.
See you later.
More than half of the weekends I work that'samazing.
That's really Good, okay, see success.
Anyway, do you really clear about which twotimes during the day they can expect to have output from you, so it's fine.
And you want to say to them like I am receivingI, of course, we're all working all the time in many, many, many ways.
I am I am listening, I'm taking everythingin and I'm digesting because I think that there is a tendency right now to everybody, you know, cover your butt and triple cc people you went now may not otherwise include onmessages, and then everyone feels obligated to respond.
And very often if you wait two or three hours, until something has sort of synthesized or digested through all the people who need tosort of like think about it, and then it's your time to produce something if you canknow that you can get your childcare covered for like 2 90 minute blocks or whatever theequivalent is for your work, but also have sort of released yourself with the expectationthat you're not doing all day long and that like you know that okay, at two o'clock I'mgonna have that time and everybody around me knows that they don't they're not worriedabout hearing that from me until then that can be a huge relief.
>> All right.
I love that setting boundaries, not just expectation, >> Yeah, boundaries and boundaries that makeyou feel comfortable and don't distract you all day long.
By that feeling of like, that thing, I'm not doing that thing.
I'm not doing like, no, you're gonna do it.
You have a time for it.
>> Sarah, the you, you sit in two very importantchairs, one as an incredibly powerful, smart, ambitious, very busy woman yourself.
But also as the leader of a business whereall of your clients, all of your customers are smart and ambitious, and probably overwhelmedby the expectations of work and life at this moment.
Talk about let's talk about your it's easier.
Let's talk about business first.
What are the things that you're hearing fromyour network, from your community, from your customers that they need help with that they're strugglingwith? >> Yeah.
So I just like to start off by saying thankyou thank you to the Girl Scouts for having me I was a very delinquent Junior Girl Scoutat one point.
But my dad worked at the State Departmentso we we moved around every three to four years we were going from different countrydifferent country and was always many ways my like connection to America, because atthe Girl Scouts have overseas troops that are usually operated by people in the militaryor people in the State Department.
And so anyway, I have a very special placein my heart for the Girl Scouts.
And yet so so my company is called M.
LaFLeurand we are a company a clothing company, a fashion company for working women.
And so I really say purposely working womenand not work ware because I think what our brand has really been about is supportingwomen.
In in the work they do whatever that workmay be of course some people go to the office.
Not many of us are going to the office butbut a lot of we have a lot of women who are freelancers who work from home.
It's a variety of lifestyles, and if anything, I think COVID-19 is just going to escalate that movement where fewer of us are gonnabe tied to a, you know, a cubicle of sorts.
And we'll be working from all sorts of differentplaces.
So I think this movement was already happening, it's going to continue happening.
>> Is that good? Freedom from the office isn't good for women? I think it is.
But maybe, maybe, maybe there'san argument It's not, >> You know, it's a so my mom is also an entrepreneur.
And I think one of the reasons that she startedher company, she started her own business was because my dad, you know, every 3 to 4years, he would get relocated and her career, you know, she was one of the firstJapanese women to go to Columbia Business School and get your MBA.
But, you know, she would take herself hercareer was very much stunted because because my dad had to move all the time.
And part of the reason she started her jobwas because her company was because she wanted that flexibility and You know, this was backin the 1990s when she when she actually, I guess, late 1980s, when she first startedtalking about it, and she said, you know, her company by basically is all all femaleand she said in, in my company, she says this in Japanese, but there is no distinction betweenwork life and personal life.
So like I would just call her in the office, you know, at 10am.
And she, she would take it, she would alwaystake it and you know, she has a lot of employees were caring for elder their elderly parents, and that's totally part of the deal.
And I think she was in many ways ahead ofthat time.
And I got to I got to see that I think throughher lens and so, you know, now so we're a company.
We do, we do, we do have an office.
You know it we've got 250 people all together, but we I think we we have just been, like way more flexible in terms of when peoplechoose to work from home.
I agree like generally I think not havingnot forcing people to come to the offices is generally a good thing.
Of course, there are moments where you justwant to bring everyone together in the same room But it during this, you know, crisis likemy head of fabric r&d.
Like, I need her so badly.
Her expertise is incredibly important.
She's in touch with all of our mills in Italytalking about their shutdown, when are we going to be able to get the fabric, you know? So So she's her her skills and her expertiseis essential.
But her husband has COVID-19 and so has relocatedto a different house, and she has a five month old baby and a three year old girl four yearold girl who she's taking care of by herself.
And so when she shows up, I'm just first ofall grateful that she shows up and she almost always has her baby in her lap.
And sometimes she's feeding her while she'stalking to us and you know what, that's that's a okay by me.
I'm just so grateful that she's there becausewhat I need her for It's her expertise in her brain like I don't, I don't need her tobe, you know, putting her professional self forward in this moment.
And so that's a that's a very roundabout wayof saying like, I think actually, like getting people away from the office and has been soliberating for a lot of women.
I will just add, though, I have also seenthrough my girlfriends that the opposite can also play out.
So, you know, one of my closest girlfriends, a college roommate of mine, her husband works at a hedge fund and the expectation just thereis that, of course, you're not the primary caretaker, how could you be? So you must have a nanny or you must havea partner who is the primary caretaker.
In her case, she's not that after, in someconsideration, she actually just decided to leave her job.
There are other reasons that played into it, but I think, you know, I kind of said could couldn't, couldn't he sit there with the babyand and she was like, that's just not the company culture.
The expectation is that, you know, when when the clock strikes nine like you're on your laptop and your family life time goesaway.
And so I do think a lot of it is dependenton company culture like you know, it really it, it's gonna have to come from the peopleat the top to say, I expect to see you with your children or whoever it is that you needto care for on your camera screen.
Don't be shy about it.
>> There's so much in there to unpack thatyou just said I want to get to like all of it.
I there's so many threads.
The first thread though, is as you were talkingabout the disintegration between work and life, right that like the demand has alwaysbeen I want to bring my whole self to work, but now you're bringing your work to yourwhole self.
And it's like take it or leave it right.
I love the idea that you're that you're likeI want your brain and whatever else is happening is not important.
There was a good question that came in thoughthat I thought was really smart.
But I want to get back to that thing aboutequality at home.
But the question was so smart was like whatif if childcare is not your concern are you suddenly on the clock all the time? And I think that that's a really interestingquestion that now that maybe in the work life balance formula mix that we're trying to dealwith now that it's as if you are not valuable unless you are working.
And that anything you're doing that isn'tworking is just a distraction from that.
And it's something that we've talked about.
I've talked about a lot about this idea ofburnout, right that you can get so overwhelmed with feeling like you are only valuable whenyou are working and that your self worth is being determined by the number of tasks thatyou can tick off in a day.
And I really want to talk about that for asecond.
This idea that work life balance is not foronly when you have children, right that were that you were and not the balance part butthe life part bringing your work and your life together.
That you are a valuable human being outsideof work, right that it is not only because of work, and that you don't need to tick offall the boxes all the time.
>> That's something that I talk about a lot.
And just that very often, you know, the workthat I do is centered around moms and changing workplace culture at this moment of comingback to work after baby.
However, the whole point of it is actuallyto make better for work better for human beings.
And very often, the sort of most visible personallife need that we see in a workplace is a big pregnant belly.
But when we solve things equitably for moms, we're actually making things better for everybody's personal life or we should be there was aarticle in the Harvard Business Review fairly recently that before before pre back in ourold life, that talked about how any, any policies around flex time should be need blind, theyshouldn't have to, you know, they shouldn't be at all about if you're a parent and i thinkthat you know, a lot of the sort of Internal biases that we all have that we carry intoour workplaces, as managers as colleagues, even, you know, our biases against ourselvesare really at risk of being exacerbated right now And so the advice that I give to any managersthat I that I counsel and talk to is really try not to make this a point you know, trynot to make things better just for parents and remember that everybody in some way oranother has a caregiving capacity sometimes when I'll do when I do a workshop I'll asknot, you know, tell me about who your kids are and what job you do, but tell me thatwhat job you do and tell me who you take care of in your life.
And sometimes it's kids and sometimes evenfor the parents.
It is like, you know, it's Oh, I have thiseldercare responsibility.
I have a sibling who has, you know, some needs.
I have an older child who has special needs, or I have a mental health challenge myself, you know, like there is every single personwho is on every zoom call that you're on every Every one of those squares, everybody hassomething.
And so I think we have to treat people whoaren't parents with the exact same flexibility and respect that in this moment is suddenlybeing given as a strong verb but you know is being recognized as a need, like it neverhas before.
>> The things that keep you going and sustainyou during moments of turmoil and stress are the same, whether they whether you are a parentor not.
And one of the things I want to talk aboutis the power of community.
And for me, it is sisterhood.
I run a network of women who are helping eachother achieve and succeed in all parts of their lives.
But those the connections are the most importantthings for our success.
And I think because we are all feeling weare literally isolated.
I want to talk about the ways in which wecan continue to build community and to shore up the support we need.
Sarah, will you talk a little bit aboutwhat your members are doing and have done in this time? >> Yeah, it's um, you know, I think one ofthe things that that I love about our customers as well, you know, I'm also obviously incredibly gratefulfor every purchase they make, especially during this time, but they have a lot to say theyhave very deep lives and we used to the primary way we usedto bring them together is actually through our, our blog, our digital magazine calledthe M dash has close to a million subscribers.
It's been an incredibly powerful tool forus to just bring our, our customers together.
And we've got a lot of non customers who'vesubscribed to it too.
But as soon as COVID started, it was prettyclear that we were going to be staying at home for a while we launched a Slack channelfor our customers, and they they just started talking to each other networking with eachother other sharing recipes with each other childcare tips with each other.
And it just created this instant communityof thousands of women and we didn't think it would take off in such a big way.
But I think a lot of us are you know, we'velost our, our work wives or work husbands and sometimes you just want someone to chatto you or or you know, frankly, just entertain you and keep take your mind off of things.
And so this is the slack team has really evolvedinto that we have this one customer who's, I mean, she just cracks me up, she takes photosof herself In M.
clothes, copying the funny poses that our models do, and I mean, totallysatirical.
And she says that nothing she you know, shehas one shot where she's like throwing her leg in the air and she's like, I threw myhip out trying to shoot this one.
But you know, she's just sharing these funnyphotos from her home.
One of our one of the slack channels is calledM.
LaFur, my company is M.
LaFleur so on M.
LaFur like they're sharing photosof their dogs and cats and various pets.
And and so it's been just amazing seeing seeingthese women come together really we do we do very little in these channels.
And you know, there's very little communitymanagement, they're just talking to each other and networking with each other.
And that's just been something really wonderfulfor us to see.
>> And what is your personal tribe, like thegroup of women or with men and women that you rely on to help get you through? >> Definitely my college roommates, um, youknow, I think we WhatsApp constantly And it's, we're at very different stages ofour lives.
And one, one has three kids, one has a newbornbaby.
One is as a surgeon and dating, we're tryingto date in this in this very interesting time.
I'm pregnant and and, you know, we thoughtand some ways, like you, I think naturally there are differences in life stages thatkind of can drive you apart.
But I think the four of us, we just we'vewere thick as thieves, and we just joke around with each other a lot.
It's nothing, maybe your most typical, like, super supportive female friendship.
I mean, it is absolutely that.
But we're more like siblings, we're alwaysjust like pulling each other's legs.
So I'm always happy to see like a WhatsAppmessage pop up on my cell phone.
And that's really just been a huge sourceof support for me.
>> It's just a reminder that you are not arobot, right, that there are other threads of yourlife.
And I think that that is so important, particularlywhen you're feeling the pressure and being overwhelmed by the expectations and the responsibilitythat someone loves you and supports you because you have some silly times together as opposedto like, you owe them a p&l statement or whatever.
>> Yes, yes.
I think bringing out those moments of humanityin each other especially during this time is so important.
And so like my executive team recently, youknow, we, I mean, just transparently like my business has gone through really, reallyhard times.
And so we've had to furlough some of our retailstaff.
Emotionally, it's been so so trying and wedo these like weekly mental health check ins with each other.
It's not it's not such a rigid thing, justplay like, you know, how's everyone doing today? And we had one session where, well, I endedup in tears.
You know, and and I think just rememberingI think there's such a need to make decisions quickly and act quickly because time is ofthe essence.
And if there's anything that COVID has taughtus, like a week can make a big difference.
And so we're trying to make these decisionsat rapid speed, but it also comes with an enormous pressure, enormous stress.
And so I think just remembering to be humanwith each other has been, has been really important.
>> That's amazing.
I want to talk to you Lauren, about one ofthe one of the threads from earlier.
In the conversation, which is about shoringa quality at home, that's one of my favorite conversations that I've ever had with youis and like you, frankly, opened my mind in such a big way.
We talked about parental leave about, about fathers taking leave, and how that is so keyto equality in your household.
And it worked.
But it says that it will summarize for you, it says that your job is just as important as my job.
And we're both going to take time away fromour job to help get through this initial transition of when you have a baby.
However, one of the things that crazy upsettingstats that I've been hearing is that a large percentage of women, a larger percentage ofwomen than men are talking about stepping away from their jobs in the face of COVID.
For whatever reason, and maybe it is takingcare of children, but maybe as you said, there's other people that you take care of right? If you're taking care of a parent, and I want to talk about how do we continue to see equality, rightto not, and it's a complicated, it's a complicated thing to even articulate because you wantto say that you are not just valuable because of the way you work.
But and we don't want to give up all of thegains that we've made in the workplace for working for working women, period for women.
>> Yeah I mean, I will say right off the bat, I don't have I don't have all the answers to that question.
Oh, my God.
So my door is open.
And now everything is very loud.
So I apologize if you guys are hearing that.
I don't have all the answers.
You know, I do know referring back to theconversation that you and I had had a while ago about parental leave that it very, veryoften for reasons that are not, you know, our fault, sets up all kinds of patterns, even in the most progressive couples or well intended equality minded couples, simply becausethere's a lot of societal pressure because of breastfeeding also, because if you knowyour body is producing milk for this baby, that is the one thing so far at least thatyour partner if your partner is a man cannot do But mostly because of the gender wage gap, you know, so, very practically speaking, we make a lot of decisions based on who makesmore money, who has potential to make more money, and who has our healthcare benefits.
And so right now, I mean, I can't think ofa situation in which that would feel more important.
So as much as I would love to say, make everythingequal at home.
You know, my own situation is that I for yearswas the breadwinner when my husband was in medical school and residency.
I then left that career to start my own businesswhere for a couple of years, I made significantly less money and he was the breadwinner becausehe was through his training and become a full fledged physician.
Finally, I basically caught up with him andwe were kind of even.
And so it was, it was just psychically a loteasier to think of things as more balanced in terms of who's going to do what because, you know, our work was sort of equally meaningful.
Our work was bringing in the same amount ofsupport to our family and boom in the last six weeks, you know, like, like Sarah said, you know, a huge portion of my business has fallen away.
It's a lot of live speaking events.
It's a lot of consulting for budgets thatare getting slashed, and I do have politicians I know I mean, it's we're in a similar boat, I'm sure there's there's a lot that thankfully, you know, clients who have stuck with me andthere's always a need for support for moms in the workplace.
So I've been able to maintain my businesssomewhat However, it's in the context of living in New York having these two kids at home, not having any caregivers besides ourselves and my husband, by the way, is a doctor.
So he was gone in the beginning of this hewas gone 12 14 hours a day working in a big hospital.
He then was able to move a bunch of his patientsto another hospital that he's been commuting to.
We bought a car we didn't have a car webought a car so he could commute and do this significant you know, expense at a time whenyou know, budgets are tight.
And then he got sick.
And so he locked himself in our bedroom for eight days.
And then we continued to distance with himin a mask and not eating with us for you know, seven more days.
And none of this is a cry me a river story.
It was mild I love telling that he got sickand that everything is okay because thank god he's okay the kids and I are okay andit can be mild and you don't hear a lot of those stories.
But thankfully it was however, you know, mywork is so much about women's equality and what kind of life Am I living right now like, thankfully I'm able to do calls like this and you know, be a part of such an amazingmessage but I am living like it 1957 I cook every meal, I do all the cleaning, he's now back at work, and doing an incredibly important job and comes home at night andyou know, helps wash the dishes, thankfully, like, it's all on me.
So I think what's important, and I'm ramblinga little bit, but I think what's important is not necessarily that we make all the rightdecisions right now in terms of equality, but that we be able to talk about why we'remaking them now in this moment to be clear that they're only temporary.
So back to maternity versus paternity leave, which I hate to sort of be gendered about it.
But just in terms of splitting up who's gettingwhat primary caregiver, secondary trigger, whatever it is, um, you know, I understandcouples where the mother might have more access to more leave than her partner has or mightneed to take more of it.
But you have to be really clear with eachother about not setting up patterns that are going to last and one thing that can be veryhelpful in this situation is if mom takes more maternity leave and dad takes paternityleave when Mom does go back to work.
If she does, that dad then takes over fora period of time either dad or partner, I should say, even if it is only, you know, a week, but to be home with that baby, let that baby get a little bit older before theygo into childcare, let dad or partner have that time on their own with the baby to reallylearn things, you know, in the trenches, but also just as importantly, for mom to realize, hey, it doesn't have to all be me, this person who I chose to be my partner is so capableand so loving and has an amazing bond with our child and like, I can go off and do myjob.
And in fact, there's actually there's a study, there was a study out of Germany that I'm actually not positive, that showed that forevery month of paternity leave, a dad takes his wife's lifetime, his wife's earnings fouryears later, are up by 7%.
And that's not because of the money she madein that month.
It's because of the patterns that were established.
So take all of that in the context of whatindividually is Families we're dealing with now.
And I think there's lessons to extrapolatethat could ultimately be helpful primarily about communication if we're making choices, because it's the right thing for our family in this moment, and we're thinking leaningmore towards equity as opposed to equality, like, that's okay.
But let's just all talk about it and acknowledgeit and maybe even do something as deliberate as put a date on the calendar six weeks fromnow, three months from now, six months from now, to both sit down and look at it and assess.
And aside huge aside, all hail single moms, this is in single parents single dads to like this is an almost impossible thing to do forsingle parents.
Some of them I'm coaching right now.
And I just I you know, it's a privilege toeven have a partner who is a resource for you so you better use them if you've got them.
>> First of all, I'm going to make it a pointwith my husband put it on the calendar for three months from now.
>> But Lauren, that was so helpful I'm takingnotes.
>> I need to take right sometimes >> I think your comment about single momsis so crucial.
And when I brought about community and buildingyour tribe and building your sisterhood that's what's going to sustain you.
Right? That that, that no matter who you are whatis stressful for you, but if you are a single parent who is trying to figure out all ofthis on your own when she's doing her work at three in the morning, that's when she canget her.
That's when she can get her work done.
Yeah, that that's what we need.
We need our tribe.
We need our sisterhood.
We need our community and to be there withthem and for them.
>> I sorry I'm trying to get rid of them.
>> Is that our noise? It's me, It's me, I'm sorry.
My notificationswent back on them.
>> Sarah you said something in our prep call, which I thought was so interesting, which was preparing your business for the worst right, but dealingwith the worst case scenario helps alleviate some of your anxiety.
Can you talk about that philosophy? Because I think that's a really importantthing for us in our personal lives and in our work lives.
>> Yeah, sure.
You know, when, when, initially we we saw kind of the impact of COVID, maybe earlierthan a lot of other Americans, because so many of our partners are overseas, and specifically, we have a lot of partners out in China.
So we saw our factories in China shuttingdown.
Gosh, in late January, early February, I think, you know, late January, we knew it was gonna be a problem, but at that point, we were stilllike, Oh, well, you know, like, that's over the Pacific.
It's not gonna like we never thought it would get to this.
And I think a few weeks later, when it when itbecame clear that it wasn't even a question of if but when it was gonna it was going tohit we started scenario planning.
Which is, you know, what most companies woulddo in this situation? You just start thinking, Okay, what's theimpact gonna be on your business? We had six scenarios and the sixth scenario.
The what actually happened in reality farsurpassed the worst case scenario that we had planned for.
And so that was, that was a huge shock.
And then all of this was changing in realtime.
We knew so little about COVID-19.
So, you know, I don't I don't at all likefault anyone for for this, but I think what part of that taught me to do is, Ok, let’s really think about what the worse case scenario is now, so I hear some storiesabout some things starting to open in the south and you know, is that really a gooddecision uh that people are really conflicted about it and there is artificial come Juneknow you stores will start to open up but the truth is we don’t know if anything isgoing to comeback in the summer or if anything is going to come back in the fall.
ActuallyI think Dr.
Fauci was just quoted saying Coronavirus will be a thing in the fall and will be coupledwith flu season .
And so now we’re saying maybe there is a possibility that thing don’tcome back until the middle of 2021 and when you think that in some ways so depressingbut I think for me – I think of myself as a numbers person and I will say when I seethe real numbers come in vs my forecast and the real numbers are significantly worse thanwhat I forecasted for that is a terrible feeling.
Whereas if I set my expectation low and wecome in above I think ah, that was a good week.
And there is something deeply psychologicalabout I know, I never thought I’d say this but financial planning is one of the mostphysiological processes that really exist in business and I tried to take that lessonand apply it generally to my life and I think OK worse case scenario things are not goingto come back until the second half of 2021 and then what does that look like and setmy baseline expectation there and I think that has been helpful for me emotionally andI also just think about having a baby in this climate.
I don’t know, and now things inNew York are changing so I think your partner actually can be there but maybe my partnercan’t be there and my husband and what does that look like and mentally preparing forthat and then being pleasantly surprised when things don’t turn out that way.
>> I think it’s an amazing attitude that ratherthan duck, hide, pretend, put on we always want to put on a positive outlook and painta rosy picture and be optimistic but if you’re being realistic and that you can look at theworst case scenario, be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t come true.
>> It’s a hard impulse to tamp down, I think this generation, honestly the generationabove me, the generation below me and my own generation have been so trained to have thehighest expectation of ourselves so it’s been a really hard thing, it’s a brave thing, it’s hard to think of as being brave to lower your expectations that actually it mightmake the end result more achievable.
>> I think that one of the…I think rather than loweringyour expectations right, this idea there has been a total reset, has been something thathas really been on my mind, especially because I have always been such a um ambitious, mywhole business is built around women’s ambition and how can we keep going and how can we keepstriving so to literally be forced to stay home, retool my business, I was in the middleof building a live events business um and uh has really made me and I guess I said Ididn’t want to do any self-evaluation but I guess I have, this is actually a deeplypsychological exercise but it’s actually made me pay very careful attention to whatwe value in ourselves and the way we um we think about what makes us successful as aperson and happy as a person and I really don’t mean that in a weird way, I mean thatin a why am I , why am I doing this and is it OK to not fill up my bank account the wayI thought I was, to not have the awards the way I thought were going to come, to hustlein a different way than I expected you know and to, those are the facts of life.
Um asopposed to feeling disappointed about them.
It’s a reset for everyone to know that thateverybody’s in the same boat.
So I had promised that this would be a nuts andbolts discussion.
Everyone’s who’s watching, we have a big crowd out there actually, I’vejust looked at the number, um that everybody that’s watching will walk away with actionabletips.
What can you do the minute you get off this call, the minute you wake up tomorrowmorning? What do we need to do, to shore up our, um, our sense of self in the face ofwork, life crashing? So, let’s do a quick lightening round.
Lauren, three things.
>> Three things, I brought my sticky notes.
Integrate you lists.
If you have a work to do list thatyou’re working from but you also have a mental list of all the things that have tohappen in your personal life right now to make your home run, your family run the wayyou want it to to all be ok, put it all on one place.
It all counts right now, it allshould and when it’s all visible in front of you, you’re not going to spend brainspace worrying about what are you forgetting about in this moment.
It all counts, anythingyou check off should count right now because you’re obviously working weird hours andyou know taking care of yourself and your home and your family at weird hours too, it’sall ok all the time.
>> I have a very retro notebook, my notebook is, I like a check mark.
>> I like a box with the item with a check through the box and a line through the item.
Off the list.
If I’ve done a thing not on the list, I will write it on the list and scratch it off.
Whatever makes you feel good.
>> Including the groceries you’re thinking about at 3 o’clock in the morning.
>> Yes, totally yes, and then OK so maybe this actually counts as the secondthing.
Make that list as visible to everybody else who is in your home right now as youpossible can.
I mean we have started writing down, we have a, my kids are older.
My kidsare 8 and 11 so they can read and participate and help around the home.
Like, one enormoussilver lining for me is they want to.
It might be because their mother looks a little bitvulnerable right now and she needs help and so they are helping but we have a dry eraseboard on , that’s just a weekly calendar that I got on Amazon while ago that is onour refrigerator and you know it includes, it used to include after school activities, now it includes things like what’s for dinner every night so we’re not going to have anyobjections, everybody can see it in front of them, if there is some reason they reallywant tacos on Tuesday ok, tell mom know, tell me now.
So make it all really visible.
Thekids now know Wednesday’s cleaning day so they know to stripe their beds on Wednesdayand it is, it makes me feel, it would take me two seconds to stripe their beds, knowingthey’re doing it makes me feel like, the other thing I can check off is I’m doinggood mothering right now, they’re learning to do this stuff and their wives will thankme one day.
Um, that’s the second thing.
The third thing is you know we’re so umdeliberate about who we make phone calls and zoom calls with right now and so I think it’simportant not to forget that a lot of this sort of social business development and alsojust what we get out of work, if you’re going into a work place is the more casualhi, hello in the hallway, stopping by somebody’s cube, that whatever your proverbial watercoolerconversation were, those are probably gone right now and if there is any way to preservethem, and I don’t mean you need to set up a zoom call with like all you know, all thenew parents necessarily in your office and then that person is also going to have tobe a part of the associate, all of these sort of extra extra extra calls that are meantto make people feel included actually can just take up a ton of time particularly inthe introverts that may not what to participate but if you can make a group of like 1 on 1, make a 10 minute phone call on the phone, not even visible, if you can , >> And not transactional, not like hey I need this thing from you.
>> No, not at all, just be like hey, I was thinkingabout you.
And you can even say, I know if we were in the office together, I know wewouldn’t be in mtgs right now but like, I would say hi to you and I would be so curioushow you are doing so I just, if you have time, I’ve love to chat for 5 mins.
They’regoing to think you have an agenda, you don’t, it’s gonna be like lovely and it’s goingto help you cultivate these relationships.
You’re gonna want to have that once we areall back.
>> I just had a flash back Lauren to when you and I worked in an office together.
Yes, and how I walked down the hall to see you and like yes, we should do that.
>> You guys used to work in an office together? >> We did a long time ago.
I did not know that.
>> I did not know that.
>> I was Ann’s assistant for a few months.
>> I don’t remember that, I don’t rememberthat.
>> I was! I assisted like six senior editors and you were one of them and I , I mean youwere probably 1 year older than I am but I was like, she’s amazing! >> I like it, alright I like your to do list Sarah what’s your lightning round?Three things we have to do the minute we get off this call.
>> Yeah, um well the first thingI would schedule is, if you, uh work with other people, I really recommend this mentalhealth check, you just want to suggest it to your boss, this is something I heard isreally helpful and actually creating an opportunity for you to be human with your coworkers, you’llbe surprised I think and the tip is you have to go first.
You have to suggest it and thenyou have to go first because the first person that goes really sets the stage and if youcan be transparent, you’ll be amazed what you get in return um and I think tensionscan run really high right now in the conversations we’re having especially if you’re talkingabout cost cutting or layoffs or furloughs or whatever they may be and really understandingwhere the other person is coming from look like I know my COO she hadn’t slept in threedays because she has a three year old toddler who is, or 2 year old toddler who is teethingand is like, she can’t sleep.
And just knowing she is in that head space, it creates so muchroom for empathy that I think can be hard sometimes over a zoom call or conference all.
So I definitely recommend that.
Um the second one you know is just something I’ve beendoing like for myself personally and I realized I’m the childless one so I get the luxuryof a little more me time um but uh when uh it depends on when the day ends.
Today’sgoing to be a little late but gerneally my day gets to wrap up around 7 – 7:30 um andI my husband makes a mocktail for me and makes himself a martini and that’s the end ofthe day.
And I um think when seemingly like the days are never ending and work and lifelike you know, to Ann’s point, they’re all colliding and spilling into each other.
For me it’s the holding the mocktail in hand is a signal to step away from the laptopbecause otherwise, you could just be sitting there forever.
>> We do that at my housetoo.
There is happy hour where I say to my husband how was your day today.
And we sayto the kids how was school today even though we’ve been in each other’s space yeah, there’s still, you still want to keep some of those structures of your day.
I think there are, yeah, moment of reflection.
>> I think it’s a little ceremonial thingand for me my mocktail is uh, my imaginary gin and tonic um, it’s just tonic with alot of lime water but it’s enough to just me think whoo the day is done.
And so that’sthat and I think the last thing have to say this because I run M.
LaFleur but gettingdressed in the morning, I said the first few days I thought this is amazing I can walkaround in my sweat pants all day and then after like day 4 I was just like gosh, thisis really not good for my sanity and so I started dressing I’m still kind of, themakeup thing I haven’t really gotten around to though I did wear a little makeup for youtoday so I hope you appreciate it, but even putting on these earrings for me I , uh, Ifeel a little better and then I have this process of undressing at the end of the daywhich also signals to me the end of the day is over um so you know, I think dress up.
Not necessarily for anyone else but yourself.
Because I think it does make a difference.
>> I think it signals that you’re, that we’re not in a sloppy.
Lazy, omg my god overwhelmingright, it shows that you’re on top of things.
Still, I mean, I’m wearing slippers, hah >> Me too! >> But the rest of the outfit came together, I’m wearing my Girl Scout green.
But I thinkyou’re right, the as much as we can hold to the rituals of the day, that keeps everythingfrom turning into one big mess, um the last piece of advice I will give though is to embracethe mess.
That um, if we try too hard to wrangle this crazy situation into something that feelstiny and manageable, we’re going to drive ourselves crazy.
And that the mess can be momentum and energyto keep things moving forward and that sometimes when everything gets thrown on the floor we’reyou’re like oh wait I forgot about this great ideas that I’ve been working on andthis is the new thing.
So to look for the opportunities and possibilities rather thanfeeling like the mess is gonna get you somewhere better, rather than feeling like the messis going to suck you under is my one take away, is to embrace the mess.
>> Great advice.
>> I think we have time for one, I don’t knowif I’m getting a note from the Girl Scout organizers for a couple of questions.
We’vegotten some great comments.
Somebody posted they are having a mental health day um forall of their staff, no emails, no mtgs, concentrating on life and recentering, >> I love that idea.
What a great boss whoever you are.
>> Yeah! And I think that is amazing, I think that is something we should do whenever we can, right is to be kind to ourselves.
One of the things Ireally object to is when we talk about self care is the mani and massage, like self careis being aware of your triggers, of your mood and taking the steps you need to give yourselfthe peace and zen.
This ones feels like it’s perfect for Lauren the question thatjust popped up.
What structures and tools so you use to improve your spousal and orfamily communication.
>> Oh, ok so here’s a good one, so this is again, this is something I advise under normal circumstances but I don’t know why it couldn’t also work now.
So Sunday night comparing of the calendars.
If you’re in a dual working family and youneed to sort of, you can sit down every Sunday night and the first couple times is kind ofpainful and then it just becomes habit and it actually becomes a relief but to sort ofcarve out ok look, you look at your calendar and I’ll look at my calendar and what arethe times during this week if the proverbial crap hits the fan that I can’t be on, likeI am going to be pitching this super important client, I am going to be giving a presentation, whatever your equivalent is, call that time and make sure your partner knows about itand cover it for each other so that you know that you already claimed it it’s also soa way that you know, in normal circumstances, it’s cold season and the kids go to a daycarewhere they have a fever at all they can’t go, is this whole week going to be one thatI cover or you cover, who’s taking Tuesday and who’s taking Wednesday and very oftenyou don’t need the cover but just being able to um claim it and to have that visablityinto what you do all day long actually is important to you and important to your familiessecurity um really goes a long way.
>> I put my important meetings on my husbands calendar.
>> Yeah, I can’t do that, my husbands a physchiartist so I can’t with patients.
>> But I do think that’s a good, the, the naming and claiming is super important.
I thank youguys so much for this conversation um, Girl Scout Network I hope that this was valuableto you.
You know where to find us on social media and I would love to hear from anybodywho is out here listening and to be in touch in other way that can be helpful to each other.
I am the biggest believer in the power of community.
The Girl Scouts are shoring upcommunity for generations to come and I think these kinds of conversation are crucial tohave um and so I thank you.
I think we’re going to turn it back to the Girl Scouts team.
>> Thank you so much everyone, it was so lovelyyou have you with us.
And thank you everyone for inviting the Girl Scout Network into yourhomes.
We’ll be hosting a wide varity of campfire chats so be sure to stay up to datewith our offerings on girlscouts.
Tune in Sunday and Wednesday when we’llhave two more baking classes with Sonam Sonhdi, a winner of the Food Networks Girl Scout Cookiechallenge and you won’t want to miss those.
One more exciting piece of news to share beforesigning off is of course about Girl Scout cookies.
Girl Scout Cookie Cares allows youto buy boxes online and have them shipped safely.
You can also donate them directlyto first responders on the frontlines of COVID-19.
The link was posted in the chat log and willbe included in the follow up email to today’s event.
Your generosity will also help supportthe 1.
7 million Girl Scouts depending on the cookie program to fund life-changing girllead programs, experiences and learning.
And I think that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Thankyou for joining us this evening and we look forward to welcoming you back at our nextevents.
Thank you! Bye, Thank you! Thank you!.