The Washington Post: Four challenges work-from-home parents will recognize, and how to keep them in check

This essay was published by The Washington Post on Feb. 6, 2018. It was republished by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Feb. 6, 2018, by The Chicago Daily Herald and Omaha World-Herald on Feb. 11, 2018 and by The Toronto Star on Feb. 13, 2018.

Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.

But technology is making working from home a viable option for many industries. A Gallup poll found almost half of employed Americans, or 43 percent, spend some time working remotely. “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the report said. Today, more than 60 percent of organizations allow some type of teleworking, compared with a mere 20 percent just two decades ago.

Not everyone is on board with telecommuting or even knows how to define it.

A company where I once interviewed touted a “very flexible work schedule.” When I asked if this meant employees sometimes worked from home, the hiring manager said no. “We’re all in the office before 8 a.m. and try to leave by 6 p.m. But if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the morning or something, we’ll let you, and you can make that time up later. We’re very flexible.”

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The Washington Post: How new mothers can avoid injury when starting to exercise again

 This story was originally published by The Washington Post on Dec. 13, 2016. It was republished by the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 15, 2016.

One January morning, while attempting my first jog since the birth of my 6-week-old baby, I was taken aback by my low endurance as I plodded along, hyperventilating and draped over the stroller’s handle.

I soon discovered endurance was only the beginning of the physical challenges I’d experience as a new mom. Pregnancy and childbirth can also weaken abdominal muscles, loosen ligaments and cause structural changes in the rib cage and pelvis. All of this makes a woman prone to injury if she pursues a bikini body too quickly. Continue reading

The Washington Post: How I lost and rediscovered my self-image after having kids

This essay was originally published by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, 2016

Our culture’s obsession with weight, from diet fads to the thigh gap, takes a particular toll after childbirth.

According to medical books, a 25- to 35-pound gain during pregnancy is considered healthy. A woman becomes roughly 12 pounds lighter immediately after childbirth. The rest is supposed to just melt away.

But instead of fitting a statistical bell curve, many new mothers feel like outliers.

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The Washington Post: Five suggestions for babyproofing the job interview

This post was published by The Washington Post on March 19, 2015.

Once upon a time, I was a fan of job interviews. That all changed after I’d switched careers, had a baby and decided to spend the first year at home with her.

I anticipated that my qualifications, with the added bonus of a baby who talks in Russian gibberish, would land me in the “yes” pile. In every cover letter and at every interview, I brought up my work as a stay-at-home-mom as a sign of commitment – prepared to whip out her picture and my color-coded Excel spreadsheet of organic purees.

Wrong.

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