Hurray for Home Work!

September is the time to celebrate home work. The home work I’m talking about is not grueling hours of math, reading and writing that children will be bringing home each school day in the coming months. The home work I’m referring to is work at home.

Home work, in this sense, is the flexibility to finish your audit report in the evening after you toddler is in bed. Home work is writing my editor’s letter late at night and submitting it online after a fun-filled afternoon in the pool with my family. Home work is telecommuting — the ability to spend time with your kids and still get the job done. And home work can mean freedom for many women, freedom to be a mom and a professional all rolled into one.

I understand about professional moms. When I was in grade school, my mom took a job working full time as a travel agent. Mom would walk in the door after work, smartly dressed from her day at the office, and smile; my eyes would light up with pride. I thought my working mom was one of the greatest people on earth. She traveled to exotic places; she had an office, and a desk with a nameplate on it. She was cool. And, if Mom suffered guilt about her time away from us, she never showed it.

Until I became a mom, I never knew guilt was a part of the home and work equation. And maybe it doesn’t have to be.

Mothers in the work force today are looking at work in a new way, negotiating more time at home. They are talking openly with employers who appreciate their contributions and are helping them find a way to make their family and career possible.

This month, we honor 40 North Carolina companies for their outstanding efforts to provide work/life balance for their employees. The Family-Friendly 40 list, (page 13) includes companies and business leaders who are breaking down the barriers of the traditional 40-hour week by offering more than just benefits — by creating flexible solutions for families.
Judging by the survey responses of more than 1,000 readers, flexibility is the answer. Writer Sheryl Grant delves into the issue

in “Trends in the Workplace” to discover that 60 percent of N.C. parents rank flexibility at work as their top priority. And many other moms insist they feel the same. In my interview with “Momfidence” author Paula Spencer on page 27, she talks about the importance of flexibility at home and work. But she, like me, admits that “mommy guilt” is hard to avoid. You learn to accept it, feeling confident the job you’re doing as a mom is good enough.

In my mother’s generation, they didn’t talk much about flex-time, job-share or work/life balance. But in those days the fax was the fastest business innovation available. She didn’t have e-mail, cell phones or (gasp!) a Blackberry and she never took work home. In today’s culture of business at break-neck speed and Uber-mom (and dad) expectations, it’s refreshing to see people working from home and finding some balance.

Need a little balance in your work and life? Meet some fascinating women in Charlotte to network and relax at our 10th Annual Moms@Work luncheon on Monday, Sept. 17, at the Westin Charlotte. We’ll get together for a wonderful lunch, and with Paula Spencer as our speaker, I’m sure we’ll enjoy a few laughs as well. To find out more or purchase tickets, log on to www.charlotteparent.com/events. I’ll be there and I invite you to join us.

All the best,

Eve

*Paula will autograph “Momfidence: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting” after the luncheon on Sept. 17. Copies will be available for sale at the luncheon.