The second Power of 10 focus group, Working Moms, had their first meeting on August 25 to begin the process of identifying the needs of this group and what type of programs could help and support these woman.
The group consisted of 6 working mothers, ages ranging from early 30’s to late 50’s, with children at home and children attending college.
There was a dynamic exchange of thoughts, experiences, concerns, and ideas. At times being a viewer was difficult. I had found myself wanting to participate in the discussion, as the comments were situations I have dealt with and will still deal with as a working mom.
To get the group started they were asked “What are the challenges working women face”.
The list was comprehensive. Women take a huge responsibility for the family, from financial responsibility, to transportation of children to events, to health needs. And with that responsibility is an underlying emotion that they (we) live with called guilt. They feel guilty if they haven’t spent enough time with their jobs, with their kids, with their spouses/partners, with their family, with their friends.
A comment made during the meeting summed it all up: “You know even if we were each given a $1000 to spend on ourselves for pampering, we probably wouldn’t spend it, we’d feel too guilty!” The room was filled with head nodding.
And the comments continued… we feel guilty if we missed an event that the family would enjoy or the kids should be involved in. Every time we are doing one thing, we feel guilty about something we are not doing.
So what could this group support to help relieve those challenges we face:
- connecting working mom’s in the community to groups and organizations that keep them informed on upcoming events, needs, and activities to benefit the family;
- finding a program to support working mom’s when their children are sick and they can’t go to daycare and plan B isn’t available;
- finding “a mom” to support them, giving them a break;
- developing a program that creates real neighborhoods versus virtual neighborhoods, a neighborhood that supports the family, which in-turn supports the working mom.
By the second meeting on September 8th all of this was discussed with passion, energy and hope. I’m confident that whatever program this group decides to support it will help create the social changes needed for working mom’s.
Submitted by: Kelly Laux, Women’s Fund Board of Directors