By: Emma Plumb
Director of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, a national initiative advocating for widespread adoption of work flexibility.
It’s hard for me to believe that my daughter will be turning one next month. In many ways, it feels like just yesterday that I was headed to the hospital with contractions. And yet, when I think about all the changes that have happened since I went into labor, it also seems miraculous that it’s all been packed into such a short time.
Every day, Willow amazes me with a new skill, a new gesture, a new spark. Watching her grow from a teeny bundle into the little person she’s already become has been an incredible journey.
And my own evolution–while not nearly as impressive as my daughter’s–has been profound in its own way as well. In my first few weeks as a mom, I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable even leaving the house again: everything about caring for a tiny human was unfamiliar and overwhelming. And then 11 weeks in, just as I’d started to find my way as a new mom, transitioning to being a new working mom was a whole other challenge.
But now at this 11 month milestone, I’m finally feeling settled in my dual role. And the main reason I’ve been able to find my footing is the fact that my job is flexible. I work part-time from home, and I set my own schedule. When I’m working, I’m laser-focused on getting my job done, but I also take breaks throughout the day to see Willow, and those breaks allow me to recharge for each work session. As a result, I’m more efficient and more productive in less time than ever before. And I get to stay tightly connected with my daughter–which means that I’ve been able to continue to nurse her, I’ve been around for all her firsts, and I get the pleasure of small joys throughout each day that come from having her nearby.
It’s no surprise to me that flexibility has been so valuable in my foray into motherhood: I’m the director of an advocacy initiative called 1 Million for Work Flexibility–a diverse coalition of companies, nonprofits, and thought-leaders who understand that work flexibility benefits individuals, organizations, and communities. We are eager for workers of all levels across the country to stand up for the widespread adoption of work flexibility by joining our movement and becoming one of the 1 Million for Work Flexibility.
As a woman, I’ve long known that flexibility is a critical component of a productive, healthy, and diverse workplace. As a mother, that knowledge is reinforced every day as I’m juggling caring for Willow with doing my job.
But it’s as the mother of a daughter that this issue has taken on a new significance for me. It would be one thing if I didn’t have the flexibility and support I need to find fulfillment both at work and at home. But it’s another for me to know it’s still unclear whether or not Willow will grow up in a world designed for her to achieve her potential.
That’s why I’m thrilled to be joining the United State of Women. I’m excited to brainstorm with thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations committed to making sure all women and girls– including Willow– have a lifetime of success.