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, our daughter, Rumi, and 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 who all beg to hold her. Lately, workplace conversations 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.
Indi Joon at three 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 of our attention to work. I always say 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 my company supports parents in both of their roles: genius businesspeople and 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.
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 United States that provides paid maternity leave. And the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world without mandatory paid maternity leave. 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, and I have the means to provide her with wonderful care when I need to devote a day to my business.
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, and 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. I'm still figuring out where it'll go from here, but I know I want to do more to help children and their parents be all they can be.
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