Josie Maran’s Blog: Work/Life Balance – For Me and My Company

10/18/2012 at 04:00 PM ET

Josie Maran's Blog: Work/Life Balance
Outdoors with Indi Joon – Courtesy Josie Maran

Our blogger Josie Maran is now a mama twice over! The face of Maybelline for years, the model, 34, has also dabbled in acting, appearing in Van Helsing, and reality TV, where she took a spin on Dancing with the Stars.

In 2007, Maran established Josie Maran Cosmetics, her own natural product line. Since the launch, the Argan oil-based skincare and cosmetics have been the recipient of various industry awards.

Having welcomed her second daughter on July 1, Maran resides in Pennsylvania and California with her husband, Ali Alborzi, 6-year-old Rumi Joon and 3-month-old Indi Joon.

You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter @josie_maran.

Hello there, my PEOPLE peeps.

After a long, hot, beautiful and productive (see Indi Joon, below) summer in Pennsylvania, I’m glad to be back at work, flying between L.A. and the farm with my husband Ali and our daughter Rumi, with Indi in my arms.

Not just my arms, actually. Now that I’m back in the office, Indi Joon is surrounded by her JMC aunties and uncles, all of them begging to hold her. Workplace conversations lately tend to revolve around questions like, “Did someone go poopie?” and “Where’s the binkie?” The soundtrack for our workdays is a sweet mix of cooing and laughter.

Josie Maran's Blog: Work/Life Balance
Indi Joon at 3 months – Courtesy Josie Maran

Believe me, I know how incredibly lucky I am, in so many ways. Unlike lots of working moms, I have a loving office environment and coworkers who are cool with me breastfeeding during meetings. I have someone to care for Indi on days when Ali and I need to devote all our attention to work. I always say that it takes a village to raise a child, and I’m blessed with a huge, loving village of helpers — friends, family, coworkers and now a nanny.

Despite my insanely good fortune, I still struggle to find balance between motherhood and career, home and work. As founder and Chief Eco Officer, I’m not just figuring out the balance for myself; I’m figuring it out for my company. We have lots of parents at JMC. Our VP of Product Development gave birth shortly after I did. Our VP of Marketing has two young kids, and so do several other JMC moms and dads.

I want to make sure that my company supports parents in both of their roles: as genius businesspeople and as nurturing moms and dads. So I’ve been thinking about how I can make JMC more supportive than a conventional work environment, without compromising the business that supports all of our families.

Josie Maran's Blog: Work/Life Balance
At the office – Courtesy Josie Maran

To see how I could make life a little more child-friendly for my employees, I did some research and found out that the U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to provide a safe and private location and compensated breaks for employees to pump breast milk.

That’s great, but I also learned that the State of California is one of few states in the U.S. that provides paid maternity leave. And the U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world that provides no paid maternity leave. So what’s the deal? Shouldn’t we be doing more?

The decision to come back to work when Indi was only two months old was mine. I know I can bring her to work with me whenever I want to, and I have the means to provide her with wonderful care when I need to devote a day to my business.

Josie Maran's Blog: Work/Life Balance
Sister kisses – Courtesy Josie Maran

But what about all the moms who don’t have resources like mine? Motherhood is one of the world’s most important jobs. Shouldn’t we make it easier for women to be everything they want to be — mothers, professionals, superheroes?

I don’t always succeed, but I try to do what Ghandi suggested: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” For starters, I’m focusing on making life easier for the moms and dads who work at JMC.

I want my company to be a safe and loving environment for parents and their children, where kids can come to work if their parents are in a bind, and where moms and dads feel like they can always put their children first, even if it means missing some work. Where it goes from here, I’m still figuring out. But I know I want to do more to help children and their parents be all they can be.

Josie Maran's Blog: Work/Life Balance
Working is exhausting! – Courtesy Josie Maran

With love,

— Josie Maran, Mama/CEO

P.S. Do you work for a great parent-friendly company? I’d love to hear your suggestions about what steps employers can take to support the mommies and daddies that work with them.

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Showing 66 comments

lovely123 on

She can pop out another one during her backyard hike…

kjc on

Gosh, as a Canadian, it is truely shocking how poor maternity leave benefits are for Americans.

I had my baby in April 2011, and received a full year from work. My first 3 months my employer topped up what I made so I received 100% of my wage. The following 9 months I received the standard 55% of my wage. I’ve also extended my leave for an extra 6 months. I’m receiving no money, but my employer has to hold my position for up to a full year if I choose not to go back until April 2013. I am so thankful to be a Canadian.

I’m glad you are trying to do more for your employees, Josie. I can’t imagine how hard new moms must have it. You have a beautiful family.

I on

KJC I live in a tourist town and boy do the waitress complain about how Canadians are bad tippers. I guess every where has it’s up n downs.

Leslie on

I’m going to have twins in march… And I don’t expect anyone to pay for that decision except me and my husband. I don’t expect my employer to sacrifice by holding my position open for a year and a half, nor do I expect my government (aka my fellow americans) to foot the bill for me.

Just because I chose to have babies doesn’t mean I think I’m entitled to extra money or resources. I’m by no means well off… But I made it a priority to plan my insurance and make sure we had enough saved so I could stay at home. It isn’t easy at all, but my husband and I take full financial responsibility for our decision to bring these lives into the world.

Lauren on

Leslie, the government doesn’t “foot the bill” for mat leave – if you pay into EI with every paycheque (which everyone does, unless you’re self-employed), you are recouping your own money. Additionally, employers often hire contract workers for the mat leave term. It may be slightly inconvenient, but it ensures that moms (or dads) get quality time with their child during the first year. Seems logical to me!

I’m glad I live in a country where having children isn’t an expensive inconvenience. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about health insurance or hospital bills. I’m glad I can be home with my child for a year (or more) without professional repercussions.

Yes, having children is a personal decision, but it shouldn’t have to be such a tough choice in the US. If I lived there, I’d seriously contemplate not having kids, because there doesn’t seem to be any incentive when you don’t receive any help – including access to your own employment insurance! Your country needs a better support system for parents, it’s quite appalling when compared to the rest of the developed world.

Congrats to Josie for supporting her staff, she sounds like an awesome person to work for!

K on

Lauren, I agree with you and I envy you! We Americans tend to overreact when you tell us we suck. It’s pretty obvious that we do though. Everything about my country is embarassing right now; from the obsession with looks, obesity, celebrity worship, white trash reality shows, and candidates for President that are bigots and animal abusers. I am brave enough to say it. We suck.

Xan on

Oh Leslie…

I know that the world is in danger because of overpopulation, but from a socio-cultural perspective, if people only had children when their finances were so well-planned that a mother could stop working for several months, or even years, at no strain to the family’s economic situation, the lower and middle classes would die out. That is terribly classist.

Momto2 on

K Xan – maybe you should trade your citizenship to one of the many people who are begging to come be a citizen in our country if you think we suck so bad!

I for one believe in America!!

joss on

Leslie – EXACTLY!

We did the same when we had our two girls (it’s called sacrifice) and the idea that a couple should not consider how they are going financially provide for their children is terribly irresponsible. If one would simply think it through, it would be painfully clear that the policies and opinions that have created this entitlement mentality are, in fact, classist. One should be insulted by the notion!

Momto2 on

Joss, as a single mother, I agree it is hard to give birth and have kids. But why do we need the government to be involved in mandating what the laws are for employers? Businesses in this country are struggling to stay alive, let alone pay for something else.

There is no many tree to pay for all of these entitlements.

If you don’t like America, then leave. We are AMERICA, I am proud of it!! We don’t need to be another Europe or Canada!!

Missy on

I knew things were going to turn sour as soon as I read kjc’s comment. Canada is different from the U.S. so stop with all the entitlement talk. You don’t know how much she paid in taxes or how her government works.

Leslie, please get off your high horse. You went off on an unnecessary, passive aggressive rant.

Calla on

@Leslie and Joss It’s great that your families are fiscally responsible and probably had access to information on financial health and literacy. Those who grow up in extreme poverty don’t necessarily have access on how to financially plan for families.

Why wouldn’t you expect your employer to support your maternity leave? YOU provide their company w/ your expertise and hard work so they can support THEIR family.

If your boss values you as an employee and wants to retain you, so you can continue your productivity, then benefits should be in place that make you feel like you are valued. Not “oh you’re pregnant, don’t expect your job to be here after the baby’s born, nice work though and thanks for the good times.”

It’s not about entitlement, it’s about creating an employment culture that supports families, for both the bosses and the employees.

lovely123 on

Calla, employers don’t have to do squat in California – “an at will state”. They can can you, and hire someone else to do the same work for a lot less per hour. Sure, they may have to pay unemployment, but the way unemployment is nowadays, don’t expect it to last. Even the unemployment office is siding with the corporations on not paying benefits.

Kristin on

It isn’t just about the maternity leave policies. As a mother of a 2 year old, I am happy to be working and financially able to provide quality daycare for my child.

The problems for me arise when I have to leave early to pick up my son who is sick, or if I need to stay home with him. If daycare calls, I have to leave. Immediately. Not because I want to slack off, but because I HAVE to go. My child needs me and he is number one.

Some people treat you worse because of this. It is subtle things, like asking for a doctor’s note from the pediatrician (Please, I am not taking him to the pediatrician every time he vomits so I can pay a 30 dollar copay and be told to just rest). It’s times when my husband takes his turn with our sick child and people literally ask him, “why isnt his mother staying home with him?”

I am an employee, and I do my job, but I am a mother first and foremost. Employers need to be understanding of this. They simply need to be understanding, non judgmental, and flexible.

Finally, I work from home one day a week and it has been a LIFE SAVER. My son still goes to daycare, but between working on assignments I am able to do laundry, run the vaccuum, pick up, etc. And during my lunch break I run errands. It helps me be a better mom at night because I don’t have to worry about those things – and that makes me happier. Which, in turn, makes me a better employee.

Mo on

Well said K.W. I dont even have kids but it would be nice for an employer to respect a person’s family life……ppl act like maternity leave is govt assistantance and if it is so be it is rather work thru out my pregnancy and if my employer can offer me maternity leave, so I can heal, spend time bonding w my new baby, adjusting i’ll take that….bc its not going to last for forever..

I’m a mother before I’m a worker that’s my number one job and there is no shame in that, I dont have to plan time from work to be a mother jobs should understand that.

Natasha on

I love that she’s able to take her daughter to work with her. I went back to work 2 months PP even though I was entitled to a year of maternity leave. We just couldn’t survive on 55% of my income when my husband doesn’t have the greatest job.

My work has been so supportive of me coming back. They put blinds in my office so I could pump and continue to work. I have a playpen in my office as well in case my son needs to spend an hour or two here if our sitter is sick. So long as it doesn’t get in the way of my productivity, they are super supportive.

Wish all women were as lucky as I am.

Kait on

I think on-site daycares are the best way to go – A good friend of mine was able to head back to work 3 months after having her baby since her office had on-site daycare. She could stop in to breast feed, or just to check on him if she was feeling like she needed to.

She was far more productive then she would have been if he’d been home or at an off-site facility. She knew they could easily get her if there was an issue or she was needed, and she could eat lunch with him and have some much loved face time.

I know it’s not for all companies, and I know it may not work for everyone, but I’m hopeful that when my time to have children comes around (not for another 5-6 years hopefully!) that I’ll be fortunate enough to work somewhere with on-site child care.

JM on

Interesting discussion here, shocking from an outsider’s perspective, but interesting. How does that song go? ‘All my life, watching America, all my life, there’s panic in America’.

Too true… So many great great things about America, but I will always be glad I don’t live there when it comes to things like benefits. I work, my husband works and I am glad we don’t HAVE to rely on government benefits for everything, but no way in hell would i want us or others to do without them. Especially health care. I feel really sorry for Americans when I hear about the state of things over there, honestly I do. I will fight till the end to keep our beloved NHS even if the conservatives are starting to tear it to pieces.

Maternity leave, yeah, it is better over here, at least in my job and from what i have heard from my employers and my friends’ employers (or indeed, my friends who employ people who take maternity leave) the positives of providing that kind of service in your company FAR outweigh the negatives….

Momto2 on

Don’t feel too sorry for us Americans JM – we live in the greatest country in the world and have the worlds best healthcare!! That’s why people are trying to become citizens here everyday!!

kjc on

Leslie and Joss, I was not trying to start something with my first comment. I was simply sharing what benefits I have received since welcoming my child.

I pay my taxes and contribute to unemployment income benefits, so yeah, I am entitled. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t take these benefits if your country offered the same. And don’t try to make me feel guilty because mine does.

My employer offers an option to extend my mat-leave for a full year after my 52 weeks are up. I’m not receiving any money or benefits, but my husband and I can afford it, so why shouldn’t I take them up on it?!? It’s their choice to offer it to their employees. If they weren’t willing to hold on to my position, they wouldn’t give me the option.

The United States are seriously lacking compared to most other first world counties. Look it up.

I’m glad you are being responsible and making sure you are financially secure before the birth of your twins, but the reality is, a lot of people aren’t. I truly hope that the USA catches up in terms of maternity leave.

Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your babies.

Momto2 on

How do you contribute to unemployment taxed, kjc? That is a tax paid only by your employer, not the employee.

SB on

One of the cutest babies I’ve seen in a long time. She made me smile : )

Missy on


I don’t think you said anything wrong in your previous post, and you did not offend me at all. People in this country have gone overboard with belittling people who use “benefits”, so you will see a lot of heated discussions whenever the topic comes up. You will see people saying the word “entitlement” like it is a curse word.

I live in the U.S., but I have also researched taxes, maternity leave, and welfare statistics of other countries, so I am somwhat aware of how much Canadians pay in taxes.

Rachel on

It’s sweet to see someone who’s appreciative to have an environment, where she can work and nurture her baby. And, it’s also nice to see that she is keeping all parents in her thoughts, starting with the parents who work for her.

Wendy on

Our world is a happier place with Josie in it.

HR on

I live in Canada and only get 6 weeks at 100% pay, then 35% pay for the rest up to a year on maternity leave. So it is not that great and I’m a teacher! It’s really just province to province. I would love it if my company were more supportive!!

Northern Girl on

As I sit here holding my sleeping 6 month old daughter I am reminded of how lucky I am. I also live in Canada and am extremely appreciative of my leave and health care.

I cannot imagine having to worry about health costs when the first and last thing on my mind should be the precious new life I’m about to bring into the world.

The only costs I incurred were the fuel to get to the hospital and $300 dollars for two nights in a private suite – the cost of a decent hotel room in the city in which I gave birth.

K.W. on

Leslie – to a certain extent I agree…but I also don’t think a woman should lose her job because she has had a child..

I work for a large hospital and now if you work less then 28hrs / wk – the hospital will not hold your position for you when you have a baby…and we can no longer use our short term disability insurance (which we pay for) to cover any of our maternity leave..

I’m sure if – completely and totally – that if men were the ones who gave birth that things would be much different…there needs to be some kind of compromise / middle ground when it comes to maternity leave..

K on

What is wrong with supporting children and families? I am thankful to live in California or I would have had to go back to work too early. I think that as a nation we should focus more on families and communities.

Penelope on

I wish Americans would take care of future Americans by providing a year long maternity leave. When children are well taken care off, society as a whole benefits.

Work/Life Suggestions on

Some great research on work/life and work and family have been done that provide critical analysis of work/life policies as well as provide suggestions about creating a positive work/life atmosphere in a company. In addition, some companies bring in people that can evaluate your specific company climate and provide more specific suggestions. Examples of researchers that have done this are Arlie Hochschild and Phyllis Moen. There is also the Families and Work Institute that can provide resources.

canadianinusa on

I am inspired by Josie’s mission. I am a Canadian that had both of my children in the United States.

We are fortunate and I can stay home with my children without any concern. I watch women around me all the time that go back to work anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. With your first child this can be managed with help but with the second or third it seems to be quite a strain on families. Having the time off allows one parent to focus on the entire family so much better for the child’s first year so no one is neglected.

This is not about abusing a system. It works and you are not required to take the whole time you have the option without fear. For so many of my friends all of their time off is used for children’s sick days, many have not been able to schedule a vacation in years. There has to be a way to make it work better for all. I am inspired by those like Josie that try.

joanna on

Yes, it’s about the child, the mother, the family, but it’s also about a much bigger picture. Mothers are nurtures, teachers, etc. Children learn the most they will ever learn in the first three years of their lives. What better way to nurture a healthy – emotionally, mentally, physically – person than to give them the person that loves them, their mother. Having a happy, healthy child is good for the child, the mother, the family, the village, the country – society as a whole benefits.

Kristal on

I agree with Josie and the others who realize that taking the time to nurture your family, in that first year is important.

Some people think that providing these benefits is somehow going bleed America dry but they forget that Canadians do pay taxes for these benefits also, they are so worried about people ‘abusing the system’ and having an entitlement attitude. America will be better off if folks are well taken care of and people feel valued. If jou are not a productive worker then your company should not keep you but if you we’re productive all along and they get pregnant and then ask for 6 months to a year to be with your child – that should not be a reason to can you.

Also remember if some of the poor folks at the bottom are abusing the system. Don’t you think the more sophisticated folks at the top are not cheating the system in an even bigger way?? Aside from benefits – Bernie Madoff was allowed to game the tax and financial system stealing millions of dollars for more that 20 to 30 years- which could have paid for how many of our maternity leaves??? There people gaming the system from the bottom and the top and the folks in the middle and the country as a whole gets screwed and pay for these a abusers!!!

There are many more Madoffs floating around they just have the means to not get caught so please stop saying that we do not need benefit programs to help folks who are not rich or folks in general. We just need to work harder stopping the abusers of the programs. It’s only when you have lost your job or insurance and get sick that you realize the need for such programs.

Beth on

Just to stir the pot, but why does it seem like the mothers are the ones that are penalized when a couple decides to start a family?

Becky on

Mothers get screwed…SELDOM do they make the same money they were making prior to going on maternity leave…they basically start from the bottom up again. Yes it would be nice to have options like taking my baby to work but I didn’t. My position was held for 3 months even though I had to train someone else prior to leaving (RIDICULOUS)…..

Melly on

I applaud Josie. The US needs more employers like her. I think our country should be ashamed at how we treat mothers and families. What about paternity leave for dads? Shouldn’t dads get at least 6 weeks off (paid!) as well so they can bond with baby and help mom out?

I think the US should adopt Canada’s policies on maternity leave. Families first!

Juliet on

Benefits for mothers and women in general are terrible in the US, and will only become much worse if the Romney/Ryan budget is passed. How on God’s earth can any woman support a potential president who REFUSES to say where he stands on equal pay?? I would much rather vote for the man who was raised by a single mom and is father of two daughters. There is someone who has intrinsic understanding of women and the challenges we face.

Momto2 on

Juliet, at least with Romney\ Ryan our country won’t go bankrupt! We are all going to be hurting when no one has jobs or houses.

By the way, the fact is that women make less under the Obama administration.

I on

Our country is in debt Juliet. We can’t continue giving All these hand outs. I wish Ron Paul won.

ND on

A great article, but what about the author’s husband (i.e. the dad of the baby). She mentions dads at her workplace but not him?

I would suggest that, although it’s counterintuitive, what the US really needs is paternity leave not maternity leave (the maternity leave will follow in short order).

Sara Smile on

If Canadians have it so great, why do they come here and clean out our costcos, sams clubs,etc.? Can’t even find a friggin gallon of milk around here because of them!

Momto2 on

Amen Sara Smile!!

I on

Yeah Sara Smile I work retail and Canadians come in a buy clothes in the us they tell me it cost less in the US.

KRS on

Sara Smile, we Canadians come to your big box stores because, as the whole world knows, Americans know how to “super size” better than anyone else! By the way, we Canadians call them LITRES of milk.

Also, the maternity benefits in my country are excellent, but please remember that we pay into Employment Insurance out of each paycheque as soon as we enter the work force, so it’s not exactly on the government’s dime.

Also, we are quite highly taxed as a nation, so we should have awesome benefits for mat leave, healthcare, unemployment etc. It’s the price we pay to live in the best country in the world, and well worth it!

meghan on

momto2, try to condense all your snotty bullying to one post.

Momto2 on

Really meghan, voicing my opinion is bullying?

For now we live in a free country and I can voice my opinion!

Missy on

@ Momto2,

People are trying to become citizens in other countries also. The U.S. is a great country, but so is Sweden, so is Canada, Australia, etc. You are not the only one who can be patriotic and proud of your country.

Also, this country has been going bankrupt long before the Obama Administration. Do you know how much the U.S. spends to invade other countries? Do you understand how much the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost?

I’d rather pay extra taxes so that women and men don”t have to rush back to work after a couple of weeks of having a baby, than go bankrupt policing, destroying, then rebuilding countries in the Middle East.

Momto2 on

America is the #1 country to immigrate to in the world. Mainly because of the quality of life we enjoy here. When Obama took office our country had 1.3 trillion dollars in debt compared to the the current 16 trillion in current debt. This house of cards is about to collapse just like it did in Greece. We will soon have a problem paying the interest on the astonishing debt.

Yes, wars do cost a lot of money. But I think that is one of the very few ways the government needs to provide for me. Had we not gone to war, we most likely would have had another terrorist attack on American soil. And, who do you want to be the World leader? China? A country that fosters terrorism? Sounds like a pretty scary world to me.

We need to move past this crazy notion that our government needs to take care of us all. We need to take care of ourselves, our familes, and our neighbors. The government has failed in every instance it has tried to take care of people- Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment, Medicare, and Education. We should all be helping our neighbors and taking care of our own families. Not relying on our government to do everything for us.

Sara Smile on

KRS, all that trouble for super size? lol I’m not buying that for a minute. Get milk in your own country if you have it so great there. I don’t give a hoot what you call a GALLON of milk.

Missy on


I have no problem with someone using welfare if they really need it. No, they shouldn’t use it for the rest of their lives, but if someone has children and was laid off or hurt on the job then why not get help when needed. What do you think FICA is? If you work then it is taken out of your check along with numerous things that are deducted.

Also, terrorist attacks happen often in this country. Just because they are not done by Muslims does not make it anything less than terrorism. The shooting at the Colorado theater, Columbine, The Sikh Temple shooting, the DC snipers, the OKC bombing, gang violence, white supremacy groups, etc. are all examples of terrorism.

Oh, so you want the government to provide for you by going to war? The government may be able to protect you from some things but they surely cannot stop every crazy person in this country with a vendetta.

Momto2 on

@Missy, you need to check your facts. FICA is social security tax. Unemployment tax burden is only carried by employers, not employees. The welfare system in our country is out of control, unpoliced, and does in fact end up supporting people cradle to grave.

Yes, there are crazy people everywhere. But don’t fool yourself into thinking they have near the capabilities or hatred that the terrorism from the mid east does. How soon we forget 9/11.

KRS on

Sara Smile, you’re silly. You shouldn’t take yourself so seriously….maybe smile more?

Missy on


I know about FICA, Income tax, Unemployment tax, etc. The point I was making is that there are things deducted from your check and taxes that you pay to the government every month to help fund benefits. Why shouldn’t someone collect unemployment for a short amount of time until they are able to find another job? People work everyday to make their employer rich, then all of a sudden their employer decides they want to outsource their jobs to India. I wouldn’t dare judge a person for collecting unemployment if needed until they found another job. Also why shouldn’t an 85 year old collect Social Security after they have been paying into it for the past 40 years?

Now I’m not saying that someone should solely depend on the government for help and be lazy, but I won’t turn my nose up at someone who who uses government assistance if they are in dire need.

I haven’t forgotten 9/11. My husband is in Afghanistan right now, and my brother-in-law served in Iraq. And yes, there are plenty of Americans filled with hate and malice. You are more likely to be harmed by a fellow American than you are someone from the Middle East.

Sara Smile on

KRS I find happiness every day in the good ole US of A. Come on now, you know that’s why you really come here. Now go have a glass of milk. It’s on me lol.

KRS on

Isn’t national pride a wonderful thing, Sara Smile? I’m glad you feel it, as do I. A group of 8 of us took a road trip down the Washington/Oregon coast in August, and were thrilled by the gorgeous scenery. Only slightly less awesome was our ability to buy wine and liquor RIGHT INSIDE THE GROCERY STORE! So yes, your country has all kinds of good going on, I just don’t think it’s better in any way than Canada!

anne on

Congrats on your new little one. How cute! I am a former college professor and have three kids ages 3,4 and 7. About 12 years ago, I decided to start working from home and never looked back.

I’m also a blogger and do other work online such as data entry and article writing. I have a blog called the Legitimate Online Job Directory all about legitimate, no scam, no mlm work from home and how to really maintain a work / life balance. I invite everyone to check it out.

Marky on

I have worked DHS, and one of my jobs was to work with families who were receiving aid. I occasionally saw a family who needed short-term help and we would quickly step in to get food for the family, diapers, make arrangements for clothing, and provide ways to keep the family together. (I live in a state where children are only removed in cases where their life is threatened, or mom chooses the abuser over the child, and yes, that does happen!)

It initially surprised me how many families were 3rd generation recipients of aid, and my state is 48th in the nation for benefits! It was always amazing to me that the people I worked with were never without cigarettes, soda, and/ or beer, but couldn’t afford diapers, which I would be scrambling to provide for their family. None of these items can be bought with food stamps, but since the recipient can get a certain amount of change, they would save the change and buy those items. (Not soap, or laundry supplies). I was beyond idealistic when I first began working that field, but after a few years….not so much.

I’m seeing many posts about how business owners should provide all sorts of benefits for a year or more, but my daughter is a small business owner, and, while not required to provide insurance, always has felt she should. Only one of her employees over the last 17 years, had several pre-existing conditions which drove insurance costs sky-high for my daughter and the rest of the employees. Though that employee has moved away, insurance is unbelievably high for her small company, and believe me when I tell you, she isn’t rich personally, and while she is very fair and understanding with her employees, the sense of entitlement shocks me. When did we decide the business owner not only should pay fairly, provide insurance, never replace us, regardless of how long we take off, but should take care of our family, no matter what personal decisions we make? My daughter can’t have that same option, and she owns the business as a single mom! There has to be some reason used, and personal responsibility for our own decisions, IMHO.

Momto2 on

Amen Marky!!! I am also a small business owner and couldn’t agree more with every word of your post!!!

j on


Kelly on

While paid maternity leave would be nice, its not practical. We live in a country where we are not experiencing a birth shortage…unlike Russia where they were giving incentives for people to procreate. However, flexible work schedules would be great and satisfy the needs of both employer and employee.

You also have to consider how fair is it to people who choose not to have children…do we give them time off as well and call it something else? I have an 18-month old and would have loved to have someone to pay me to take time off with her…but that is more than what most companies can afford. I am very happy that I have a generous health insurance plan and hope that companies focus on at least that for their employees. I wish telecommuting and flex schedule were a part of the deal at my workplace but it is not a reality right now.

Kudos to you for providing an atmosphere like that at your company!

SJ on

Hi Josie,

I have wondered about the same thing and think about it on many days. I initiated a lot of wellness activities in my office and we are lucky to have 3 months off where I work as its an NGO. However, I see my friends struggle with this time and time again.

As women what could we do to change this in America or even New York? I am assuming this varies state to state and a local law and not federal! Wish on some issues of labour laws the federal laws would just look out for its citizens. NY city is one place that is just out of control. With people occupying every inch of space its becoming unbearable and on top of that horrible labour laws. No days off, barely any maternity leave etc. The coorporations are caring less and less for its employees because everyone is pretty much dispensible!

Melissa S on

I would love to work for your company Josie. Are you hiring in the Detroit area? 🙂

Stacey on

Having a child should not make someone else responsible for supporting it. If you cannot afford to take time off from work, then maybe you should re-think having a child. Where has this country gone so wrong in now thinking that it’s everyone’s right to live how they want, but someone else should be forced to take the responsibility? The country is bankrupt from generations of people who are freeloaders: social programs were NEVER meant to support half the population who decided that they were OWED a handout for life. It’s the same with maternity leave. I could maybe understand an employer having to hold a job for you, but paying you to have a child – that’s just plain silly.

Stacey on

Is this post still open?

mama3 on

oh how sweet!!! love the pics! also, the Honest Co. diapers are the best…my sweet babe has the same ones.