How to find balance as a working mom with Paula Faris

real life voyv working moms Jun 08, 2023



00:00:00    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village and today I got to hang out with Paula Faris. She is the author of You Don't Have to Carry It All. This is the book we all need as working parents, specifically written for working mothers. We know that historically, working mothers have been forced and expected to carry it all. And Paula dives into all this in her book. Where do we go from here? What do we do next? How do we shift this conversation and these narratives and frankly these practices? She is the founder and leader of Carry Media, an organization that champions, advocates, and celebrates working mothers through content, resources, and storytelling. Paula is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, speaker, best-selling author of Called Out, and the host of the Paula Faris podcast. With over two decades in broadcast television, Paula started her career with TV affiliates in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Dayton, and then worked for almost a decade at ABC News, where she co-anchored Good Morning America Weekend, co-hosted The View, and launched the podcast Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris. She has reported on everything from politics, news, and entertainment to sports and faith, interviewing the likes of Reese Witherspoon, ever heard of her, Tiger Woods, Kellyanne Conway, now President Joe Biden. She's a real champion for working moms. And as myself, a working moms who employs a lot of other working moms, I think this is just such a needed topic to dive into the fact that we don't have to carry it all. We so often are. And this message is one that I think we need to not only have out into the world, but to continue the conversation going around. I loved hanging out with Paula, and I'm so excited to share this episode with you. Head out and snag her book.


00:01:54    Alyssa

Hey there. I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and co-creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy, vulnerable parts of being humans, raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together. 


00:02:18    Alyssa

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today get to hang out with Paula Faris. I found Paula on the World Wide Web on Instagram. I think Jen Hatmaker had shared something, and then I went down an Instagram rabbit hole and was like, oh, my gosh, I have to talk to her. Paula is the founder and leader of Carry Media. It's an organization that champions, advocates, and celebrates working mothers. Just like, pause, full stop. Thank you for that, Paula. Talk about what we need through content, resources, and storytelling. She's an Emmy Award winning journalist, speaker, bestselling author of Called Out, and host of the Paula Ferris Podcast. With over two decades of broadcast television, Paula started her career with TV affiliates in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Dayton. She then worked almost a decade at ABC News, where she co anchored Good Morning America Weekend, co hosted The View, and launched the podcast Journeys of Faith with Paula Ferris. She has reported on everything from politics, news, and entertainment to sports and faith, interviewing folks like Reese Witherspoon, Tiger Woods, Kellyanne Conway, and now President Joe Biden. Casual Paula. Casual Paula runs Carrie Media Paula runs Carrie Media from South Carolina, where she resides with her husband John and their three kids. Paula, I am truly jazzed to hang out with you because I could talk about working moms all day. 


00:03:54    Paula

Same. And how much time are we going to have? An hour. That's it? Yeah, I know, right? Can we do a series? How about if we do that? 


00:04:03    Alyssa

I'm here for it.


00:04:04    Paula

I'm here for it too. Why don't we just do a series on how we can support mothers and validate them and help them to feel seen and heard? I'm down for that. 


00:04:12    Alyssa

Well, you wrote the series. Carry it all. 


00:04:14    Paula

I did. You don't have to carry it all. So we're trying to, but we just can't do it. That's why we're burnt out record numbers here in America as mothers and working mothers. So, yeah, I'm super jazzed about the book and the message and the rallying cry for motherhood. And when I hear people already saying that they feel seen and heard, I'm like, that's it. That's it. That's, like that impact. That's what I want. I want mothers to feel seen and heard and valued as mothers, also validated. So, yeah, this is the most important story I think I'll ever report on in my life. 


00:04:51    Alyssa

I love it. And it's wild because we've been working, knew this interview was coming, and then last week, I was presenting at a conference in Palm Springs, and so I flew out. I was gone four days maybe, from my almost two year old, and I came back, and it was so interesting, the conversations I was having there with other working moms and then the conversations I was having back at home, family members, with friends, whatever. My husband also went with me. My mother in law gave us the gift of coming and staying with our toddler. He was not asked any of the same questions that I asked. 


00:05:34    Paula

Like who's with the kids? Who's with your child right now? How did it feel to go away? 


00:05:40    Alyssa

Correct. I came back on a Wednesday and was going to go to work on Thursday, and there were comments and remarks about that. No one asked him if he was taking Thursday off. 


00:05:52    Paula

I know. And you know what? So much of it this isn't a case against men. This is just like we have no realistic measuring stick of what it means to be a working mother or a mother in America. We have unrealistic expectations. And you hear the term working mom. You don't hear the term working dad. You hear mom guilt. You don't hear dad guilt. You hear about the mom penalty. You don't hear about the dad penalty. You hear about the mommy gap on the resume. You don't hear about the daddy gap. And it's just because I think before we even dive into the conversation. We have to change our attitudes in this country about how we view families and mothers and fathers because we say that we're a family friendly country, but really, are we? I mean, we're making it so difficult to have children in this country that we're having fewer children, which, by the way, is going to impact our bottom line. Because if we don't have children, we don't have a labor force. And if we don't have a labor force, we can't grow our economy, right? So you look at other countries and not just the beautiful interdependence that they have, which is awesome that your mother in law has stepped in, but that's so normal in other countries, right? You have family members living with you, but also the attitude from the get go is, I am my brother's keeper. We are raising the future of this country. Kids are our greatest natural resource. So the entire community and society, their attitudes are so different about kids and families. Because here Alyssa, I mean, it's like your kid your problem. You got to figure everything out. You don't get any help. There's barely any subsidies. And so we're making it more difficult to have children. And like I said, we can talk for hours about this, but I think it really does. Before we talk about new policies and we talk about moms just turning in the Mommy Martyr card and not striving for that perfectionism anymore, it really does start with societal attitudes. We need to get back to a country. If we say we're family values and family first, then we need to support families because it's not just the right thing to do. It's good for our bottom line. I really think the true health of a nation is determined by how it values and treats families. And that's one of the reasons I wrote this book. Because you look at all the inequities and inequalities and groups that are marginalized and mothers, it's insane how we are actually punished. Once we have kids, we're paid less, valued less, and scrutinized more. But I really think the reason we're in the situation we're in and by the way, that's my dog that you're hearing in the background. Welcome, bud. Welcome, Addie. She literally just decides to crash every single podcast I do. But I think we're in the situation we're in in this country because we don't value families and we don't value mothers in the workplace, let alone motherhood in general. So that's what I'm about. That's what I'm trying to change. 


00:08:46    Alyssa

I'm here for it. And when I got back, I wrote an Instagram post, and I was just sharing how I'm a better mom when I have time to be my whole self. 


00:09:01    Paula



00:09:05    Alyssa

My work in research is in emotional intelligence, in kids, right. And raising emotionally intelligent kids. And the reality is that we created a method, we researched it across the US. It's five components. One's adult child interactions. The other four are about us as the adult, and we can't do this work. We can't do the work that is so dear to my heart if we aren't able to fill our own cups, if we aren't able to take care of ourselves. Right? And as I was just, like, thinking about, like, I love this work so much. And the truth is, having access to consistent, dependable, high quality, affordable child care is crucial for me. Being the best mom, I can be the best at my job, the best wife I can be, the best friend, the best partner right. The best person, the person I want to be. 


00:09:54    Paula

Yeah, totally. 


00:09:56    Alyssa

And I had wrestled. I've been a part of raising so many other people's kids, worked in early childhood for a long time. I nanied so many things. And then when it came time for me as a mom, I was like, yeah, I want to keep working. Having time away from this human allows me to thrive with this human. 


00:10:20    Paula

And I think we've vilified women that want to work, too, that have a desire outside of the home. I think so much of that in my research, I found it started in the 1950s with June Cleaver, because that's when we did a disservice to men, and we did a disservice to women. We pushed men out of the homes and said, you're only as good as your paycheck. And we pushed women out of the workforce. Right. And we said, if you have any desires outside of the home I think it was Esquire magazine. Don't quote me on this, it's in the book wrote that any wife who had desires outside of the home was a menace. Working mothers were a menace. But so much of the book isn't just it's not just feeling. It's very fact based. I did a lot of research. There's a lot of history. Talked to sociologists, historians. And I learned that the most traditional family that we've ever had in America was the family that worked side by side, the mother and the father. They co labored, they co produced, they raised the children together. And it was in the 1950s when we pushed men out of the home and just said, Bring them a paycheck. And men are dealing with their own set of toxic messages, too. Right. Like, you're only as good as what you can bring home, and you're a failure if you can't do that. But then as more and more women needed to return to the workforce, because the majority of mothers these days are working because they have to. Alyssa and so I realized I had so many blind spots about motherhood and family when I wrote this book, and it gave me so much freedom because not only are more and more mothers working because they have to, but 70% of mothers will be the primary breadwinner in the family's home for their children at some point. So if we continue to marginalize mothers in the workplace and pay them $0.70 on the dollar compared to fathers, whereas even mothers of color make even less than that and if we continue to value mothers less and pass them over on promotions and deem them less viable leaders just because they've birthed the human race. We're going to continue cycles of debt and poverty. So I grew up with a stay at home mom. That's all I ever knew. And then I felt awful. I don't want to say I felt awful. I grew up with a stay at home mom and that's all I ever knew. And I carried so much tension as a working mom because I love my kids. They are absolutely my number one priority. But I also have to work and I do enjoy it. And we can't make mothers feel bad about that. And mom guilt is an American thing. I learned in writing this book. Other countries, they don't really even they're like, what is that? And if they do experience it, they don't experience it to the same extent because they have to work globally and they take so much pride in what they do. But like you said, childcare, like you have your mother in law, you have some systems and infrastructure in place. They have incredible infrastructure in place. Early childhood education starts at age two for some, and you only pay 25% of it, right? So there's this mentality. They support families, they support children. Children are their greatest natural resource. So it's not a burden to raise a family. Whereas here there's a happy gap, which I learned in doing research for the book. It is a stress and a strain to raise kids in America. And yes, other countries are dealing with war and famine and poverty. And I'm not saying it's easier, okay, but there's so much more support from a community level, from a policy level, from an attitude level. And moms don't really experience that guilt because they take a great amount of pride in helping to contribute and they know that there's a village helping to raise their children, as it should be, right? 


00:14:21    Alyssa

Totally. Well, and I think that that's the distinction. That's huge is that so often here people will say it takes a village. And it's like, okay, but where is that village? Or whatever. But I think it actually starts with going back to it takes a village and full stop. Let's actually take that in. That means that when your kids are with an in law or at childcare or with someone else outside of you, you're not failing them. It takes a village. We're not supposed to do that alone. And I think that for so many of us, we can say it. It takes a village, and it's exhausting. We are carrying too much. But then when it comes time to pass some of it off, there's guilt that comes with passing some of it off. 


00:15:07    Paula

Alyssa, you're a failure if you have to ask for help, right? You have to carry it all. You have to be a mommy martyr. You have to be a perfect pinterest mom, or we're going to shame you. You can't ask for help. God forbid you hire somebody to clean your house once a month. We're going to shame you about that too. It's crazy, isn't it? 


00:15:25    Alyssa

My neighbor is a stay at home mom of three, fourth on the way, and she's incredible. And we very much do life together. And I was like, listen, when I moved in, I was like, I'm not the human who's going to make you food and bring it over, but you can drop your kids off in my house at any point. Whatever. This is what I bring to the table. I'm not going to make you, like, homemade bread. Not going to make myself homemade bread. And she was like, great, I make a delicious Irish soda bread. That's what I bring to the table. I'll drop off soup, and I'm like, when you're sick, drop your kids off. Like, great, yeah, totally tagged this. But it's that give and take of, like, you still get to ask for help when you're a stay at home mom, right? She and I have had this discussion of, like, me as a working mom and what comes up for me and then her as a stay at home mom and what comes up for her. What can you ask for in different spaces? And as a working mom, one of the things that's hard for me is asking for help for more time away, right? Like, I'm going to hang out with a friend or whatever, and asking for help for more time away is a tough one for me. Yeah. 


00:16:41    Paula

But I love that the mommy wars are real, and it's the stay at homes versus the moms in the workplace. And we know all moms work, right? 


00:16:50    Alyssa



00:16:50    Paula

I call stay at home stay at homes. I couldn't do it. I have to work. But I also couldn't do it. Right. So I think it's just understanding and respecting another person's choice. But go ahead. I didn't want to interrupt. 


00:17:02    Alyssa

Oh, no. I love that we basically just have this pact of, like, it does take a village in between us. There's no shame in that game. 


00:17:12    Paula

That's so good. 


00:17:13    Alyssa

It is the best gift that I can just go next door and say, like, oh, my gosh, my child's driving me nuts. Can he come play for a minute? And I can pop back inside and do my dishes, listen to a podcast or whatever. We can tag team this. But I think it really comes back to us actually believing that it takes a village and that we're allowed to have a village. 


00:17:38    Paula

Yeah. Instead of in name only, like you said, we say it takes a village, but have we created that village? And are we that village? And have we decided, I can't carry it all? And actually I can carry it all. But that's probably why I'm not a good version of myself. It's why I'm burnt out, right? 


00:17:56    Alyssa

I'm not having a good time. 


00:17:58    Paula

Yes, exactly. And I think that's one thing that I've really learned to do. It's very hard for me to ask for help because, again, we have no realistic measuring stick of what it means to be a mother, except for that perfect pinterest mom who does it all with a smile on her face. Yay. And I'm like, I don't want to do that anymore. I'm just miserable. I'm so burnt out from that. And so deciding first and foremost that I need to ask for help. And that is not a sign of weakness. It is not a sign of failure. I had to decide that because society is going to tell me that I am both of those things. I am weak and I am a failure. But I'm just pushing back and I'm like, I need help. And I'm not ashamed about I'm not ashamed that I have somebody clean my house once a month. 


00:18:44    Alyssa



00:18:44    Paula

And in other countries, it's very normalized and it's very affordable. Not just childcare as quality and affordable. Everything is affordable. American mothers are working harder than any mothers in the entire world. We are trying to do it all. We are trying to carry it all. And it's why we are just broken and burned out. So anyway, I've been traveling for work. I've been traveling for the book tour. I have so many friends that I have asked for help. And I don't feel bad about it because I also know that I am that help to them. I'm like, hey, I'm going to pick up your kid from track or from volleyball and take them home. Hey, I'm going to just bring you guys dinner. I'm going to come clean your house. Right? So if you don't have that community and it doesn't have to be family, because God knows friends can be closer than family, you create it and you start it in your own community. You start it with your friends. You be that change. It starts with you saying, I can't do it all. I'm not going to anymore. I'm going to ask for help and I'm going to be that help to other people. But it's really difficult. I had a friend, I have a really good friend. She's single, she's in her 30s, no kids. She loves to invest in my kids, especially my daughter, who's 15. So when I had been traveling, I'm like, hey, can you hang out with Caroline? Can you pick her up from track and take her to volleyball? Can you be her Uber? Essentially, she loves it, and Caroline loves it, too. It's a gift to allow your children to be influenced by other people that you trust, right. Other people that are sowing into them. You're all about sewing and building into their lives. It's actually so good for them. And children of working moms, again, my experience, I had a stay at home mom, so I don't know any different. Put children at stay at home children of working mothers. Like, sons are really good partners. They're excellent fathers. And daughters tend to be a little more confident. So I have to make a choice to push back against that guilt. It is very much an American thing. I don't need to feel bad about asking for help. I'm going to be that help. I'm going to drop the perfectionism. I'm going to drop a ball every single day, drop the plastic, keep the glass ones in the air. And I love that my kid it's almost like a paradigm ship. I love that my kids have other people that get to invest in them and so into them and speak life into them. It's so important that they're hearing other voices besides our own. And all the stats show that children of working parents, they tend to turn out really good and respectful, and they're good partners. 


00:21:20    Alyssa

I think it's vulnerable, though, if you walk into my house right now, it very much looks like a toddler lives here, right? 


00:21:29    Paula

Guess what? You have a toddler. 


00:21:32    Alyssa

Correct. But it's vulnerable, right, to say, like, yeah, come on into my especially messy correct. Even my best friend the other day, I texted her, was like, we got to get out of the house. Can we come over for dinner? And she was like, yeah, come on over, whatever. I'm making fish tacos. Great. And then she was like, disclaimer, my house looks like a bomb went off. And I was like, Just for the record, never need the disclaimer and what can I pick up on the way? Right? But it's vulnerable to say, you're going to see my imperfections, because we are measuring our messy insides up against those curated, perfect, instagram shareable outsides. And I don't think a whole lot of people are sharing the story of, like, I have to get out of my house because my toddler's going nuts in here. Can I come over for dinner? Right? 


00:22:33    Paula



00:22:33    Alyssa

I think it's also we have to be willing to be inconvenienced. That when I reached out to her. 


00:22:42    Paula

That is so good. We have to be willing to be inconvenienced. Wow, that's awesome. 


00:22:48    Alyssa

But that's the real part of being a part of somebody's village. Yes, that you're going to be inconvenienced. And when I reached out to Francesca and said, Can I come over? And she's like, yeah, sure. She's going to have to make more fish tacos. Right. The whole thing. There's going to be more on her plate to do. And it's going to be sometimes inconvenient when you're picking somebody else's kid up and you're bringing them home from practice, there's going to be some inconvenience to that. And I think we have to accept that part of it, that it's not going to be like, oh yeah, right now I can help somebody because I found a spare 20 minutes in my schedule. 


00:23:26    Paula

That's so good. That's such a good copy. I've never thought about it like that. Alyssa and it's not just like expect, but almost embrace the inconvenience because that's what having a village, it's inconvenience and it is sacrificed. But it's the best thing for our families. It's not just good for our mental health, it's good for our kids. It's good for everybody involved. And that's really the global standard. That's how they've been able to do it. And they're not caring at all because their mother in law or father in law lives with them and helps out. They're not just coming over to babysit. It's very much raising children is so privatized in this country. It's all on us. We have to pay for childcare. We might get a little subsidy. We have to pay for everything. It's so stressful. And then at the end of the day, when our kids are old enough to work, who benefits? Society in the labor force. So invest in our kids because they're either the future of this country or they're not. And if we don't continue to procreate, we're not going to have a human race. Don't punish us and don't scrutinize us. But I love what you just said. I'm going to steal that line. 


00:24:40    Alyssa

Yeah, take it and run. Take it and run with it. 


00:24:42    Paula

You have to be willing to be inconvenient. That's so good. 


00:24:49    Alyssa

Have you been scrolling the Internet? And there's all these tools for calming your child and how to regulate and whatever, and you try them and your child just gets amped up or that doesn't work. Or you find yourself in these cycles where it's like epic meltdown. Try to come back from it and you just feel like you're putting out fires all day long. If this is you, you aren't alone. And we collaborated with an Occupational Therapist to create our Sensory Profile quiz. This is going to help you learn about what helps your child regulate what's happening in their unique nervous system. We are all different and figuring out what you're sensitive to or what helps you regulate is the key for actually doing this work, for getting to a regulated state, for having tools, for calming down, for having tools for regulation. Head on over to to take the quiz for free. You can take it as many times as you like for as many humans as you'd like, and we will deliver results right to your inbox to get you kick started on this journey.  


00:26:10    Alyssa

What do you think it looks like to make the workplace work for mothers. I've got a team of ten moms. We're almost all moms over here. And what do you think it looks like? 


00:26:23    Paula

Well, I think before we even talk about how we can give working moms the support they need and deserve, and again, most moms have to work. 70% will be the primary breadwinner. I think we have to set up the case for why we need to support them. And the why is more moms are working because they have to. We'll be the primary breadwinner. We don't want to continue cycles of debt and poverty, but also motherhood. There's the perception of motherhood, Alyssa, and then there's the reality. This was fascinating for me to dive into the science and physiologically what happens to you once you become a parent, whether the baby grew in your heart or your tummy, you grow in empathy, you grow in capacity. You grow in courage. You grow in emotional intelligence. You grow in vision. You're a better leader. You take more risks. You're productive. You're efficient. Guess what? All of that was equipped through parenthood. When parents are well supported, they are the most efficient, loyal, and productive employees that you can find. And we're facing serious hiring and retention crises in this country. We're not taking care of parents. When you take care of them, they're going to be one of the best employees you have. And also, like, 70% to 80% of the workplace consists of parents. And then this next generation that's coming behind, they want something different than Millennials and Gen Z. They'll consume almost 75% of the workplace within three years. So for companies that aren't taking care of the whole self, if they're not already facing a retention crisis and a hiring crisis, they will very soon. Overwhelmingly, employees, not just parents, not just moms, want flexible hours. 95% in a Wall Street Journal poll. 75% want hybrid locations. And there's creative things that companies can do, big and small, which I document. It's actually chapter nine. I dedicate it to what corporations and what corporate America could do. Whether, regardless of the size of your company, you can get creative, offer childcare at networking events, right? One company is trying to bridge the gap from maternity leave to the return to office. And they're like, bring your kids to work until they're mobile, and then it helps that transition back to the workplace. It also gets the entire office invested in those babies, because the harder we make it on mothers, we're going to continue to push them out of the workforce. We need the voice of mothers. We need our leadership. We need our empathy and our courage. I mean, it's proven we bring something so unique and so skilled and so efficient if you want to get something done right, I mean, your efficiency just improved. A friend of mine who I also write about in the book, his name's John rulen. He's a CEO. He's like, I. Only hire moms. They're the most underrated workforce on the planet. But you have to take care of them. You have to value them as a mother first. You can't hold them to archaic standards nine to five. It's like, sure, sometimes the video is off on the zoom. Measure the measurables. As a company, you have to be committed to measuring the measurables. And I'm telling you, you take care of a mother, she will not leave. She is loyal, she is efficient, and she is productive as heck, and she'll get the job done for you. But you have to value her as a mother first instead of scrutinizing her and penalizing her. Celebrate motherhood. Then value what she uniquely brings to the workplace. 


00:29:45    Alyssa

100%. And I think that it's in practice and it's in theory, right? That when my husband was taking off work early to take my son to the doctor to get his shots, he was a really attentive, involved dad. When I'm taking off work early to take my son to go get his shots, you're not committed anymore. Correct. 


00:30:11    Paula

You're a risk. You're a liability. 


00:30:14    Alyssa

And so it's not just in practice. It's in theory that we have to take in what is the story we're telling ourself about this. 


00:30:21    Paula

And that's a societal message that's really American. My family and I traveled to Europe. It was so normal to see Dads, just Dads, pushing the kids in strollers, taking their kids out for lunch, taking them through the city. It's very normalized. They get six months paternity leave, which I think really, Alyssa, the more research I've done on it, I think paternity leave could actually do the could be the greatest thing we can do for gender equality, because out of the gate. It not only supports a relationship with your child and improves that relationship down the road, and it supports your partner and helps to mitigate postpartum depression. It's proven to. But out of the gate, it changes the dynamic, and it says, we are raising this kid together because there's the mom default. We do everything right from the beginning, the expectation, right when the baby is born. I mean, my husband never took paternity leave. He went back the day after our third was born, and he was praised, oh, look at how committed he is to his job. He just had a baby. And I was like, this is what's wrong with our society. We continue to push men out of the homes, right? And push women out of the workplace. And it's so infuriating. And you mentioned the double standard too, again and again. This isn't the case against men. We need men. 


00:31:40    Alyssa

No, I think we just need that perspective for us. 


00:31:42    Paula

Yes, we need the perspective for us. But there is something called a mom penalty. We make $0.70 on the dollar because we're no longer deemed viable leaders. And we're passed over on promotions, whereas a father, he's now, oh, my gosh, he has a family to support, so we need to pay him more. And I'm like, if you really look at the science what's happening to mothers, we just became the ideal employee. That pregnant employee that you had, she is growing in empathy and efficiency and capacity right now. Scientifically growing that baby and how we respond to our families that are on our roster goes a long way. And if we're offering a policy that we're not taking advantage of, if we're offering paternity leave and we're not taking it as a leader, that's one of the greatest things we can do for our employees is to walk the walk, not just talk it. Take it right. Pick your kids up from school. Because, again, we're either family friendly in this country or we're not. And we've got to do a better job taking care of our families because it's the right thing to do. But it's really good for your bottom line. It's good for companies bottom line. It's so good for your bottom line to take care of families in the workplace. But also, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, what's good for families. It's also going to be great for the 25 year old on your roster who doesn't want a family or just wants to hang out with his dog on the weekend. It's good for everybody on your roster, and you got to do it because the next generation that's coming up wants something totally different than their parents had. 


00:33:06    Alyssa

They demand it in a way that absolutely I'm so jazzed about. Like, so jazzed about the four day work week. 


00:33:13    Paula

I mean, there's ways you can do this without it being detrimental to your bottom that can actually be profitable. The four day work week has been transformative, and everyone's more productive. So we have to reassess our infrastructure, our work infrastructure. 


00:33:32    Alyssa

We have to yeah. And what it means. I studied abroad in Austria when I was 15 and then have maintained good friendships over there, actually. So lovely. And one of my best friends from America ended up going over meeting one of my Austrian friends. They now have two kids. She lives in Europe, and we have had kids in alignment with each other. We're pregnant together, whatever. And tracking her journey through pregnancy and as a working mom in Austria versus what my experience was in the States, and then my Austrian friends and just their perspective and approach. And one of my best friends in Austria was a teacher. Gets two years off. Not fully paid the full two years, but a nice chunk of it. And she's a stay at home parent during that time. And I went over with my husband, and we visited, and her mother in law was coming to spend the day with her kids, and I was like, oh, cool. What's going on? She was like, oh, she comes every Wednesday. And I was like, oh, that's rad awesome. And I was like, Why? And she was like, when else would I have all my appointments or take time for me or get things done or whatever it was? So just like that, it was a duh thing for her. She was like, when would I do it?


00:34:49    Paula

It's not selfish. We're selfish if we take time for ourselves. 


00:34:53    Alyssa

For her, it was like, I mean, of course that's what happens. She literally was like, when else would I do all these things? And I was like, God, I love this. 


00:35:00    Paula

I do too. It's a paradigm. It's a total paradigm shift. And it's not selfish and it's not weakness. And that's why they're so much healthier mentally. Wow, that's mind blowing. You know one thing that kind of blew my mind when I totally nerded out in chapter three and talked about and researched the history of American families. I learned that in World War II. So when our GIS came back from the war and the women had been in the workforce to fulfill the labor force, right, because the men were away, the women were then pushed back homes and the men were given their the GI's were given their jobs back. And and that's when we had this, like, bifurcation. And we thought it was going to be a good thing. It just kind of backfired because that's when we started pushing men out of the home. It's evil what we did to men. And that's when it really started separately. If you look at what happened in Europe post World War II and this is probably like, your friend is benefiting from this. They had two major crises after the war. They lost all their men and they lost all their laborers because the men were the labor force. So they turned to women and they needed the women to fulfill the labor force, but they also needed women to procreate and have babies because they lost all their men. So they're like, we need women to labor. We need them in the labor force, but we also need to make it sustainable and we have to incentivize them to stay in the workforce. So that's why they have these incredible early education policies and huge childcare subsidies and why it's a total like it's just a paradigm shift. It's not as much of a stress and strain to have children in other countries because they're all invested in it. And it is just really fascinating for me to see one point in time, the diverging, the lanes, the diverging directions. Like we went one way in America and Europe who does a really good job taking care of families, yeah, they've got their own issues, economic issues too, right? But that's where things really started. So it wasn't like Europe did it out of the good of their hearts for moral reasons. They're like, we have a crises. We need women. We need them in the labor force. And we need them to procreate, and they got to stay in the labor force. So they just happened upon it. 


00:37:11    Alyssa

Well, it's what's happening now, right, with the four day work week with prioritizing moms, finally, it is this new generation love this. That they're saying, like, no, this is what we need to continue to stay and work. 


00:37:27    Paula

Yeah. And I think it's great. I think it's fantastic that this next generation wants something different. And if we don't listen to them, we won't be able to grow our business. We won't be able to grow our economy. They want something different, and what's good is that? We've seen that what they want works. 


00:37:49    Alyssa

There's research to support it. 


00:37:50    Paula

There's so much research to support it. All of these return to office memos. And look, there's some industries that can't do it. Education. Although some educators and some schools are contemplating four day work weeks, four day school weeks. But there's some real creative ways that you can incentivize. Going back to my friend John Rulin, who's the CEO, he pays for house cleaning for all of his employees twice a month, but he knows if he gives the moms a stipend, they'll spend it on groceries around their kids. So he's like, you pick out whoever you want to clean your house. I'll reimburse you for it. Which I think is genius, because he knows that moms, we always put ourselves last in this country. He'll pay for the summer camp for the children of his employees. 


00:38:37    Alyssa

I love that, summer camp. Can we talk about summer camp for the love 


00:38:42    Paula

I know. Seriously. 


00:38:44    Paula

And his retention rate is 100. 


00:38:47    Alyssa

Oh, I bet. Can I work for John? Yeah, I know. 


00:38:50    Paula

I want to work for him, too. John, will you hire me, please? Because being an entrepreneur and founder of a carry, it's more than I can carry right now. 


00:39:02    Alyssa

Sure. No, that is genius, and I love it. And, yeah, my background is in early Ed. Right. And direct service, we got to get creative. We already can't afford in early Ed right now. Teachers. And all that money is coming out of a parent's pocket. And as it stands right now, yeah, that burnout is going to continue, and now we have a child care shortage. And I'm so proud of early childhood educators for saying, I'm not going back to those conditions when absolutely. We were pulled out in COVID. And I'm so proud of early childhood educators for taking this stance and saying, you're going to have to pay me more than $12 an hour. You're going to have to support me in so many other ways. And I hope that it is really going to be a culture shift like we're seeing in so many other workforces that allow us, those of us in direct service, like teachers, to also have flexibility and support. 


00:39:58    Paula

Well, who has so much influence over our children? They're teachers. Right. And what has blown my mind in a lot of this research is teachers are, what, 75% to 80% female, and yet the majority of states and districts don't offer paid leave. My friends who are teachers are like, Paula, I had to dip into my sick days, try to accumulate as many as I could because they don't get any paid time off. 


00:40:26    Alyssa



00:40:27    Paula

And then they were paying their subs while they were out or they were timing their pregnancies around summer break. And it's no surprise that only one in ten teachers are recommending the profession to others, because we're not taking care of them. And there was a video that went viral from the Oklahoma legislature not long ago, and the legislature this isn't a red versus blue issue to me. This is like, let's support families. And they were politicians of the aisle. Our kids are greatest natural resource or not. Are they our future or are they not? And they were describing whether or not they were going to give paid leave to state employees, aka teachers. They didn't want it to be a utopia. 


00:41:10    Alyssa

Oh, I saw that! 


00:41:12    Paula

They didn't want to pay them for vacation time, and I'm like, have you pushed a child out of your vagina? And guess what? I'm not afraid to call it a vagina, because I think we also have to do a better job of being real. You talked about the real real, and you talked about the curated posts. We have to do a much better job of being vulnerable and saying, this is what's actually happening to me, instead of posting our bounce back baby photos three days after we had a baby. I'm sorry. 


00:41:42    Alyssa

Would you like to see all the fluids from all my holes right now? 


00:41:45    Paula

Exactly. No, thank you. So we also have to do a better job of inviting other people into the conversation, because we've done such a great job of curating it and making it something that it's actually not. It's actually really tough, but we were equipped with some incredible capabilities that we didn't have beforehand. But we've got to be honest about it with ourselves and with others. We have to be vulnerable. And that can be really hard to do, but it does. We do have such a say in it, and often when I first came back from work, after my first one of my male colleagues, he was a young, single man asked how my vacation was. And I was so angry and hurt, and I tried to sanitize my response to him. I document it in the book, and you don't have to carry it all. And then the more I thought about it, like years had passed, I'm like, I wish I would have I wish my response had been a little different. And they don't know what they don't know, because I realized I do have a part to play in this. Now, I'm not, mothers are definitely marginalized, so I'm not blaming the marginalized community here at all. But we do have a part to play in inviting people into the conversation. They don't know what they don't know. We have to be real about it. 


00:43:00    Alyssa

Yeah. Even down to like when I was in my first trimester with Sage, I was just so exhausted, and I had shared something on social and on Seed, and I was like, oh, my God, I'm just like, so beat, blah, blah. And people just started submitting stories. Like a kindergarten teacher who was like, I fell asleep at my desk at one point and a kid woke me up. I just literally couldn't stay awake. All these stories of first trimester stories, and I was like, wow, we're doing this in silence. Right? From the minute that we're like, we're pregnant, it's like, first of all, don't tell anybody because what if you lose it? You don't want to put that on anybody else to have to feel uncomfortable. 


00:43:50    Paula

God forbid anyone feel uncomfortable. 


00:43:51    Alyssa

Correct. Yeah. You should carry this in silence. A, B, you are going to feel exhausted. You might be throwing up every single day. You can't eat a single thing and also just move through the world as if none of that is happening. Right, from the jump.


00:44:10    Paula

Yes, right from the beginning. But we've been programmed to do that because there's statistics that show and research that shows if you reveal you're pregnant, you're less likely to get hired. So the discrimination starts right away. And that's why I'm like, okay, before we talk about how we're going to give mothers support, we need to make a better case for why, why it's important, and also what it has done to us scientifically to make us incredible human beings again. Whether the baby grew in our heart or our tummy, it has made us a baddie, and we have to know that and we have to advocate for it. But society needs to know that we're not count cheerios. We're not a risk and a liability. We're not less committed. The science and research actually shows the total opposite. So that's why I think moms need a rebrand. We just do. 


00:45:08    Alyssa

I love it. So your book, you don't have to carry it all. What's your one hope? If you were like, oh, man, every hand that this lands in, here's what I hope for. 


00:45:21    Paula

My greatest hope. The intent is the how and the why. We can give mothers the support they need and deserve. But I want mothers to feel seen. I want mothers to feel valued and validated and empowered. My greatest desire is that this book is a hug and a sword that you feel seen and validated and heard and that finally somebody is saying it out loud, but you also feel empowered that there is a better way forward. And here's how we're going to get there. As a journalist, it's really important that I don't just report on the awful and tragic news. I want there to be. There's a silver lining. The sun is coming up tomorrow. There is a better way forward. And so the book is helpful and it's hopeful. It's a tool belt. It empowers you. So that's my greatest hope, though, is that moms feel seen and heard and valued and then empowered at the end of the day. 


00:46:22    Alyssa

I love that. Thank you. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for putting it out. I literally like Jen. I think it was Jen had shared it and I was like, wait, excuse me. What? And then my deep dive into you on Instagram. 


00:46:35    Paula

You're like, how did I get here? 


00:46:36    Alyssa

Correct. It was one of those where I was like, oh, my gosh, I hope I don't accidentally double tap this post because it's so far back. She's going to for sure see. 


00:46:44    Paula

That's hilarious. 


00:46:47    Alyssa

It's so real. And I was like, oh, I love her. I can't wait to chat. Thank you so much for this message. It's crucial, I feel seen in it, right? 


00:46:55    Paula

That's all that matters. That's really all that matters. And it honestly is the most important story I'll ever tell as a mom, but also as a journalist. It's the most important story I'll ever tell and I'll never get over the honor and privilege to beat the drum for mothers and motherhood. 


00:47:12    Alyssa

I love it. Amazing. Where can people find you, follow you, learn more about you? 


00:47:18    Paula

I'm easy to find on Instagram. DM me. Reach out to me at Paulafaris. I think I have a Facebook page, which I sometimes post but don't. But Instagram is the best one. You can get the book anywhere. It's sold. It's been the number one new release in Motherhood since it came out. And so that's a testament that the book is resonating. And get it for one of my friends. She has three kids. She's like, I wish I would have read this before I had kids. 


00:47:45    Alyssa

Correct. And great baby shower gift. 


00:47:48    Paula

It's a great Mother's Day gift for any mother in your life. And also, it's an invitation to some to men, the brave men that want to we can't do this on our own. Alyssa, marginalized people can never create a movement of change correct. Without inviting other people into the conversation. So I have a whole chapter dedicated to how we can invite men into the conversation. We need them as allies and how corporate America how we can invite them into the conversation. So I encourage you to just like I said, it was my honor to write, but I learned so much in writing this book about motherhood and families and I'm just so proud to be a mom. I am so proud. But I'm more determined than ever to change the game for motherhood after writing this. 


00:48:34    Alyssa

Love it. Thank you so much. 


00:48:36    Paula

Thank you. It was my pleasure. 


00:48:38    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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