Student Parents and the Pandemic

We are so thrilled that we’ve expanded the It’s Working Project to include a broader range of parents including their specific needs and challenges. We are quickly gathering insights from student parents. These stories must be shared. The Washington Post did an outstanding job of introducing readers to some of these families, and the broad range of issues impacting student parents now, under the cloud of Covid-19.


Student parents

Mothers on the Verge


I have been thinking about, writing about, and remaining curious about the young mothers in my world. How can I help? I keep my ears and my heart open. And I ask, over and again, what can I do to help?

The truth is, the best thing I can offer – that any of us can offer in the midst of this madness is support. As we have passed the official start of fall and we move into cooler, more isolated days the form of this resembles something we knew in March. Yet our perspective (200,000 and growing deaths will do that to a culture) is much altered. 

Educating children has become draining, painful really just too much. Working mothers, in particular, share their need for space – to breathe, to think, to consider or create — it is simply gone. 

I asked some of you to share what you would like to gift these women in your lives. I thought I would share my shortlist of loving remedies. These will not change our circumstances or those of these women we do deeply love and respect. But these gifts are given in the spirit of love with hopes for a few minutes of self-care. 



There is little that soothes my nerves like the smell of a carefully chosen candle. And the best news is that there are always candles to be found on sale. This is just the type of gift that says, “I care so very much”…

Otherland is a Brooklyn based, woman-owned candle company. That aside, their product has an authentic love for the art of candles- from stunning packaging to long-burning candles that fill a room with comfort and care. I am partial to Daybed and Chandelier. Other candles such as Nest and Fresh Sake (which reminds me of our first showroom in NYC) are also in the near-perfect range. These are a bit easier to find on sale. Consider Apricot Tea for quiet notes or Sicilian Tangerine for bright citrus day-long treats. 


The end of a long day should have a reward. My vote — a decadent scrub for the shower. The two that I gift with love over and again are Ren Mococain rose and Fresh brown sugar. Each has equal parts texture, fragrance and TLC. Getting into a bed of cool, clean sheets after a soothed after a hot shower scrub is a treat that I give thinking of the true value of ten minutes for self. 

Sleep Spray:

The days are endless, ruthless and long. Sleep can be elusive. And that is why I like to gift sleep (or as close as I can get)! My two standouts are very different. This Works Pillow Spray is infused with Lavender, Chamomile and Vetiver. They even have a nap version which seems like a crazy long shot – even a tease so I do not give that one!!! Ren has a very different scent profile, Ren’s And Now to Sleep is quieter in scent. I sent this to a dear friend this week with hopes that she could get more rest. My fingers are crossed. 

These are just a few ideas…The rule is simply this — send something that comforts, that might seem like an extravagance and that says I am cheering you on. 

What have you been sending — we’d love to know!

Julia and one of her favorite young mothers, Jessica! 

4 Strengths of Family-Friendly Work Cultures


In the media: Harvard Business Review

Date: September 14, 2020


As Covid-19 grew into a pandemic, Michael Schaffer, a father of three in a dual-working household, worried a lot: about his parents in Delaware; about his highly creative, curious, and social kids, who’d had to switch to remote learning; and even about his dog, who was now sharing the home with everyone 24/7. But what Mike did not worry about was his role at Edelman, where he was Senior Vice President, Digital + Corporate. While friends, family, and colleagues all around him had to suddenly adjust to remote work, he’d already been doing it for close to 18 months. That’s how long it had been since he and his family had moved from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles for his wife’s career. Edelman was committed to supporting the shifting needs of its employees and their families, even if they had to relocate, and to that end the company had put in place a set of technologies, protocols, tools designed to help enable remote work — which had made it possible for Mike to move to Los Angeles with his family but still stay on the DC team that he loved. He felt lucky.

The It’s Working Project, where I make sense of the challenging and ever-evolving intersection between work and caregiving, has interviewed employees and HR departments about how their workplace dynamics are shifting during Covid. It’s important that workplaces get this right, because although one-third of the US workforce is considered essential and has been on the job through the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the rest of American workers have shifted to remote work, some of them probably permanently. It’s been a bumpy experience for many employers and workers, especially parents, but in recent conversations with Mike and others I’ve noticed a compelling pattern: The workplaces that are thriving today are those that had already invested in family-centric policies and are building on what they’d learned.

As late as February, when companies committed themselves to family-friendly benefits by offering flexible work days, back-up-care reimbursement, and remote working options, and by prohibiting end-of-day meetings, they typically did so in the name of recruitment, retention, and brand culture. But no longer. Some of these programs grew out of the economic realities of a formerly low unemployment rate, they’ve left organizations well positioned for the quickly shifting workplace dynamics of Covid-19. To understand how — and why — I’ve begun collecting the stories of workers.

Let’s consider a few here.

Click here to read the full article.

Labor Day is Looking Well, Laborious


It is the start of a long, Labor Day weekend. I’ve got a good book and some yoga on my mind. Here in Maryland, crabs may be in order as well. There are glimpses of what kept us good and giddy in the past. And really, this is a feeling that is hard to come by as we enter into the early days of September 2020. 


There is much to say about our summer that was not quite recognizable. The hill we need to scale is now many miles higher as most schools are starting the year in remote learning mode. The logistics, the weight of it all is just a set-up for frustration and exhaustion. So let’s say you’ve come up with some masterful way to keep your world working…that would be remarkable really. And if so, please share! 


As our dear friend Melaine Fodder Kay shares…this is tricky business. Sending love and patience to all of you. And a reminder, we want to hear your story – please share!