323: Maura Carlin and Christie Derrico—Isn’t It Time For Us To Solve The “Balance Dilemma” For Working Women?

Hear how to be bolder and braver at balancing your life

Suppose you are a working woman with children. I bet you have experienced the “Balance Dilemma.” How can you find the right balance between home life, family, a business or professional career, and even your own self-care? You, your partner or spouse, your friends and your family will enjoy this podcast. My guests, Maura Carlin and Christie Derrico, have an awesome podcast called The Balance Dilemma. Yes, the title is exactly what we want to share with our audience today. Need some help balancing all the different parts of your life? Listen in!

Watch and listen to our conversation here

Maura video1

How to help women and men have families, careers, and a life to live

A little background: Maura and Christie are both attorneys. Maura describes herself as: “Litigation attorney turned journalist, writer, podcaster, still asking questions.” Christie is an entrepreneur, lawyer, podcaster and author who combines her multi-disciplinary talents with her passion for giving back.

Making work life and home life successfully coexist together shouldn’t be so hard, but as most of us know, it is. Even after decades of women trying to balance their lives and their careers, very little has changed. Sadly, we’re still trying to figure it out.

Questions the three of us delved into which affect all of us

When we consider the declining birth rate, the later ages at which women are getting married and the limitations of childcare, as well as its cost, we as a society must step back and rethink, What we are doing? What do we value? How do we provide a more balanced life, and why is it even more essential to do it now?

Listen in and enjoy. And please share with us your ideas at info@simonassociates.net. 

To contact Maura and Christie

You can connect with Maura on LinkedIn or email her at mauracarlin@gmail.com. You can find Christie on LinkedIn.

Want a deeper dive into how you can achieve work-life balance? Start with these: 

Additional resources for you

Read the transcript of our podcast here

Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink With Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. I’m your host and your guide. And as you know, my job is to get you off the brink. We’ve moved into our 300+ podcast and it truly is an honor to celebrate with you. Every time we have a new one, we get lots of people across the globe coming to us asking for more. How do I get you off the brink? How do I help you soar? Well, I do that by letting you listen to people who are doing just that. They help you see, feel and think in new ways so you can add some tools into your portfolio. The world is going through a great transformation.

So today, I bring you two amazing women. I have Maura Carlin and Christie Dericco. I met them through a mutual friend who then introduced me and I was absolutely honored to be on their podcast, The Balance Dilemma. This was a terrific in-person WVOX recording of a podcast. And today we’re going to talk a little bit about podcasting. Actually a lot about podcasting, because I do them with great pleasure. I haven’t monetized it. I don’t want to, I don’t want have advertisers. I just want great people to help you see, feel and think in new ways.

So today, let me tell you a little bit about these two wonderful women. And then they’ll tell you about their own journey. But listen carefully to their own experiences. There’s something there for you, each of you, to begin to understand how in our life’s journey, we continue to soar only if we get off the brink. So here we go.

I have Maura Carlin here, who spent over 15 years as a litigator at law firms. Now remember, I could have been an attorney or an anthropologist. But it was my husband who said to me, “Be an anthropologist and I’ll be here for you,” and he doesn’t mind my telling you that because it was 55 years ago and I am still an anthropologist. But she started as a litigator while raising her family and left law and focused on journalism, working as a producer and host on LMC media’s news programming. So this is an interesting blend here. Her natural talent and live on-air interviews was on display weekly during roundtable discussions with elected officials, newsmakers and more. She received a BA from Cornell and a JD with honors from George Washington. But she is really on another part of her own journey.

Now Christie Derrico grew up in a world encouraged by female entrepreneurs and she and I love to share stories about those female entrepreneurs. I often thought I should write a book called What I Learned On My Grandmother’s Knee because it was my grandmother who taught me all about how to count money at the end of the day. It was so interesting, beginning with Christie’s grandmother and continuing to her mother, a tech entrepreneur. She established her law practice in 1998 and tailored her firm to meet her community and family needs. She lives in Westchester.

Maura has three sons, and Christie has four children. They are truly the epitome of “the balance dilemma.” Thank you for joining me today. I’ll start with Christie. What’s your journey? And then I’ll get to Maura and then we’ll go deep into what has podcasting taught us and what we’re trying to do with it. Christie, how about yourself?

Christie Derrico: Well, Andi, like many people, I was inspired by reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer from freshman year of high school when that is usually assigned. And I went right from college to law school, and I was a college athlete. And then I went to compete in law school. As you know, more than I can attest, law school is not an easy feat. Each level you go up in your education, it’s harder and harder. But I have loved being an attorney. And I’ve handled litigation, handling many cases, criminal and civil. And I also established a local practice where I got to connect with people in the community. And that’s one of my favorite things.

I’m not very good at tracking my pro bono hours because there are just so many of them. If someone walks in with a problem, I’m there to help even if sometimes they can’t pay what would be the customary rate. So I met Maura on a show a few years ago. And we just struck up a friendship and started a conversation that became The Balance Dilemma and it had a launch in this pandemic where many people had an opportunity to pivot and try new things. And that’s our story.

Andi Simon: What I love about it, you must know Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take. Givers just really are essential to the beauty and joy of our society. And as you said about your pro bono, givers, you know, it’s sort of like, How can I help? As opposed to, How can you pay me? And that is a real mark of a woman I want to have on my podcast. Maura, what about you?

Maura Carlin: You know, it’s funny, I hadn’t even realized how similar Christie and I were in those beginning years because I too wanted to be a lawyer after reading To Kill a Mockingbird in eighth or ninth grade. And I did not come from a family of lawyers or business people, for that matter. My father was an artist. And my mother was a teacher, and both grew up poor. And I didn’t want to do what they did. And I wanted to be a lawyer. So I went to college. I too, was a college athlete for a couple of years, and went straight to law school also. And during law school, I really didn’t know much about the practice of law as it turned out, and ended up going to a big firm in New York City, and started my law career that way.

And then along the way, like two intense career couples with children, couldn’t really make it work very well. And there were things going on at home. And I went home thinking it was temporary. And we then actually had a third kid, and I got involved in local journalism, which is something I had always been interested in. I did radio in college, and I really pursued that while I was home. I needed flexibility, I needed to be around. So there we have it. And Christie and I met on the set of this new show, which was a combination of news and a discussion roundtable. And we hit it off right away talking about the struggle.

Andi Simon: The struggle has accelerated during the pandemic. It was there before, people talked about work-life balance, and I used to say, Why is work not life? I couldn’t quite figure out what this balance was that we were trying to get. But it was always about women in that work-life balance. And it is an interesting time for us to take a look at how women have creatively solved an unexpected challenge. And now we’re trying to figure out how the next challenge is going to put more strain or opportunities for creative ideas to come forth, as people are being asked to come back to the workplace.

And I’m hearing this constant recurring theme: Well, you knew before the pandemic, to work at home was a gift you gave me. It was part of my benefits. During the pandemic, you gave me a day to figure out how to do it. And now you want me to come back to the office. And some folks are going back in the office and sitting on zoom in the office because their colleagues are still removed. We haven’t figured this out. So go ahead.

Christie Derrico: So Maura and I, the three of us, have used the same word: flexibility. So adding to my bio, I had a formula for flexibility from having a mother and a grandmother who were working mothers. And I learned things, and things have been tweaked through the generations. I have my mother’s sisters who still run the family business and they have children. And so I had a benefit of things that many women don’t: I have rules. I try to keep things hyperlocal like Maura. I’m very involved in the community. So if something falls apart, you’re a known entity and somebody can swoop in and drive your kid home or something like that. But what really brought Maura and I together was an article that was at that time, 30 years old: Confessions of a Superwoman. Maura why don’t you tell Andi about how this spawned our project?

Maura Carlin: This is actually a funny story. Your parents dump everything in your attic when you have a house to get you out of theirs. So at that time I was finally hitting the boxes and I found this article from December 1980. I don’t know where or how I got it, but I clearly didn’t read it. And this woman was trying to do it. And this was what really hit me. She was trying to have this high flying career and she was a prominent scientist. And she had a child and she couldn’t make it work. And what really struck me and what Christie and I talked about 30 years later, was very little had changed, and even more so, we were speaking about it in the same terms and that was just unbelievable and kind of horrifying at the same time.

Christie Derrico: And I will just add to that, that in the pandemic, even leading up to it, progress has been with fits and starts. And we’ve seen in our community, I think there are less day cares here than when I moved here in the late 90s. Why is that? And how can we move forward unless we address the elephant in the room—childcare—and other issues that help women stay in the workforce. And our project, The Balance Dilemma, has been a super interesting social science, so to speak, analysis of all the machinations of this work-life balance. What has been most interesting to me is that our guests have been entrepreneurs, re-inventors, creators, executives, parents, partners. We have had fine artists, other types of artists, writers, all people telling the story, not just women. There are men too of how they have made a life for their families and themselves and keeping their identity and making livings and things like that. It’s been absolutely fascinating.

Andi Simon: I’m curious, maybe you can provide perspective on this. How do we make changes, because to your point, there’s less childcare, there are fewer childcare workers. I didn’t have childcare, I had to hire a nanny. I remember my husband and I navigating the complex waters of who was going to work on which days, and I worked Wednesdays and Saturdays at the university, so he could take care of the kids on Saturdays. There was always navigating. But on the other hand, we never really thought back and said, What did we do here? This was sort of just how we got it done. But how do we make the changes that are going to be necessary to create something we’re calling a work-life balance or something? I’m not quite sure that vision of what we’re going toward, and I’m not sure how to help us get there.

Maura Carlin: I think we need to figure out the childcare piece of it, as Christie was saying. Someone has to be there at some time, whether it’s a parent, or another family member, or someone you hire. I don’t see another solution. But it’s something that keeps getting ignored. And one of the things on the balance limb is, interestingly, we don’t talk politics, but this is the one policy area where we kind of have to go into it and see how different people have handled it. And it always seems, and this is where my husband and I actually had a problem because it comes back to this: someone seems to have some flexibility. You know, even our last guest, who was the lead parent, she from the very beginning was able to work from home long before work from home was a thing. And that allowed her to be around for the children. She also hired someone that you could delegate to, but she had the flexibility. And I don’t know how you do it otherwise. Why are children the afterthought instead of the thought in our society? Christie, do you have perspective?

Christie Derrico: Absolutely, I mean, we’ve had some common links with Frank Schaeffer. I found his book, Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy. It’s a big, big, long title. But I found some of the things, I’m not saying Frank and I agreed on everything, but it was refreshing that he was discussing it and putting it out there. And we were discussing just this weekend with my mother when she was finishing her college degree and she was at community college, there was a childcare facility. And I remember being there. That didn’t mean I was there 7-to-7, but in the time that she had to take some classes, I could go there. I wonder how many colleges have childcare facilities these days? I don’t think many. And it has made it an afterthought. But childcare is just one component of it.

The thing that Maura and I have touched upon is planning. Young people, young women, young men, don’t often think about, How do I want my life to look 20 years from now? They kind of spontaneously go into things that they like without really thinking, Oh, wait, is this going to be the career that gives me the best work-life balance? And Maura and I were not fond of the book…what was the name of it, Maura? It had a Wall Street exec in London and it was so depressing that she would come home at night and couldn’t stand to see her husband. She would buy store-bought pies and distress them to bring them into school for the school play. Like it was such a Debbie Downer of a working woman. I couldn’t stand to read the book, not that it wasn’t well written or entertaining, it just hit a nerve with me.

So how can we make this, as you say, something that there is some forethought, or there is some flexibility. I think the change in the marketplace in the economy is allowing people in general to change careers easier. You’re not staying in one place. So we have to be open to, Maybe I’m going to shift to this, maybe I won’t earn as much money, but I’m in it. And maybe I need to be there for four years, and then it could shift again. So hopefully these changes that were coming out of this pandemic can facilitate that flexibility that did not used to exist. I also think that the flexibility is coming from employers. If you ask for it, because of the pandemic, allowing people to work from home or understanding that people do have other people to watch over. And it’s not just children, it’s their elderly, elderly families as well, which is also huge.

Andi Simon: Let’s think big. Frank Schaeffer was on the podcast and I loved his ideas. And I said, So why is it so hard for employers to realize that if they opened up a child-friendly culture, they could attract people who would not only come and want to come and stay, but see them aligned with their own values? Is that such a foreign idea? As we’re talking about it, and he and I talked about it, I said, Frank, this isn’t so hard, just open up the gap. My daughter worked for The Gap. The Gap had a daycare where you can bring them in at three months. And they did it. So why is this such a mystery? And why do they fight it? Well, you don’t have to go into politics and figure out why society and government doesn’t. But how many businesses could do it tomorrow?

Christie Derrico: Well, I think we have to look at successful examples. So we’re lawyers, and Maura and I love to research. So I am a fact-, evidence-based person. So we can have a theory and it sounds great, but if I can’t find the data to support that, even if it’s a good formula, I’m not going to be behind it. And I won’t bore you, Maura knows, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of some of these issues. And we have a running Google document with our research that I find absolutely fascinating on the issues of family and work. But we have to do things here that have been proven to be successful.

The evidence just shows that if you have flexibility, women do stay in the jobs longer. But we have to be in agreement that there’s some professions that you just can’t bring your kid to work. So maybe this is why I think it needs to be a broader societal solution. And another thing that we found is, it’s a lot easier to achieve flexibility when you’re at the top of your game. If you’re having to do this at the beginning of your career, before you’ve had the chance to do internships and put in long hours and prove yourself, it is a lot harder. So these are the discussions that we have to have and stop kicking the can down the road.

Andi Simon: Well, is that why the birth rate in this country is declining and declining at a very high rate and marriage rate is declining. And people aren’t getting married till they’re older. They are having kids at high risk levels and 40% of the kids are born to single parents and not to the guys. And so now you have an interesting demographic. Now, it’s telling us something to your point, How can we not plan ahead? Well, we are planning ahead, sort of, which is, I’m not going to get married, we live together, I’ve done my savings. I think that the generation that’s coming is so different from the Boomers and even different from Gen X and Gen Y somewhat. But they see this and they’re beginning to talk about the changes they can bring. And I’m hoping that they can visualize something that addresses the balance dilemma.

Christie Derrico: We have discussed this quite a bit. Our oldest children are the same age and they’re in a similar line of work. But we can’t answer whether these are for social scientists to study but I was curious. I did read the book. It’s a dialogue with the Boomer and the Millennial. And it did open my eyes to see some of the reasons why some of the things you are talking about exist. We can’t sit there and say, Well, back in my day we did it this way.

There’s a reason they feel insecurity. They went through some national crises, the 2008 meltdown, 911. These are part of the reasons that they feel they need huge security before they go on to that next step, aside from the socio expectations and living together and things like that. So I think that we have to look at them, address them, and try to give support, otherwise this is going to keep trending and we’re not alone. All developed countries have low birth rates, but some have been more successful than others. And I think when we say fact- or evidence-based, that’s what we need to look at: How do they do it in the countries where it’s worked? And how can we have takeaways from those examples?

Maura Carlin: Well, I actually don’t 100% agree with Christie in terms of the age groups just because looking at them, I don’t think that our older children fall into that. And it may be because I think they’re considered young millennials, as opposed to the older millennials. So at least for my son, I don’t think he was affected by those things the way some of the older ones were. I also think what they’ve seen is, how hard it is. I don’t think it’s just because of external things like crashes and, you know, real big crises, like 911. I think that they’ve seen their parents trying to figure out how to do this. And my eldest was keenly aware of the decision that I made, that someone needed to be there. And there, they haven’t seen a solution.

Andi Simon: Let me shift the focus aspect. Men. I’m married to a fantastic guy who went into his own business. When I was an executive at a bank, and I’m traveling up to Buffalo, and he’s taking care of the kids, not that he’s not employed, working and building his own business. But without Mr. Mom, it would have been more challenging. And we always had nannies, but they weren’t the same. My kids’ relationship to Mr. Mom is fantastic. And I think that’s because he did become like a mom. And he was the guy who made sure they had a driver to pick them up and take them. And he was the one who picked them up and took them out for dinner. And we made it work. And they are both professional women doing the same.

How are the men handling the roles they play? Are they shifting? Are they reinventing what masculine means? Are they good at staying at home? Moms: I had some executive coaching clients where the guys were sitting on the couch, and the kids were crying, and they were on the phone with me, on Zoom. And they said, How do I deal with this certain child who’s a husband and two children who are children?

Christie Derrico: We’ve had two guests, and we’ve had a number of men, but we’ve had two guests, for sure, men who did that. One in particular. And he really was. He liked to be called Mr. Dad, as he told us. His wife is a very prominent orthopedic surgeon, and he took over the homefront. And that was in fact the title of our episode. It was a choice he made, he was a lawyer also. And he was happy with having done that. And the kids grew up, they’re happy. And they probably do, according to him, give a hard time to mom sometimes for that. Another one was a teacher, a journalist, who flew all over the world, and was never around. And ultimately decided that he would step back from that and take things that kept him around more. So I mean, they are starting to make those kinds of decisions.

But what it’s showing us is not that two people can have these high-flying careers at the same time, but rather that somebody has to step back, and it almost doesn’t matter who it is. Someone has to step back. Go ahead, step back at home. So the other guest we had was a teacher. And he gave us an insight on paternity leave. And what he told us, one question we had had was when men take paternity leave, what are the stats? Are they home while the wives are home just giving a hand or they really, you know, coming in and staying home with the child alone, because obviously that’s a big difference. And Steph explained, as did another guest of ours, a female guest, that they staggered the paternity leave so that someone who was a family member could be home with a newborn, and they could stretch out the time before they needed to hire a caregiver or bring them to a daycare.

This is where analysis is important to understand how these families are cobbling it together. But as I’m hearing it, Andi, your perspective, you know, your voice here is men and how they’re handling the situation. Women, we have found, also do something called gatekeeping. They’re used to running the house, they say how the laundry is folded, dinner, what’s prepared. We have to let go of some of those, our anal habits, and I’m speaking for myself, and just allow someone else. My husband did the shopping yesterday. I have to stop thinking in my head, all the things he forgot, or all the things that he bought that I don’t like or don’t usually buy. It’s okay. And if he decides to make a meal during the week, I’ve got to eat it. I’m sure it’s gonna be healthy. And I can’t be the gatekeeper, which will be which penalizes me at the end of the day, if I can’t delegate, if I can’t accept that my children put their laundry away 60% perfect and some clean stuff goes back in the laundry bin or whatever they do, or dirty into the drawers. It’s okay. And that’s part of this discussion that we have to take up, maybe a little less perfect because we will be liberated if we can do that. Now we’re gonna start sharing.

Andi Simon: Your evidence is also grounded in a history where when the men came back from the war, the women who were doing just fine working were put back into their home. And welcome to the suburbs where they had their home. And I’ve met men who have wanted to sell the home, only to find out that it was a castle that the woman had controlled and built, and she was not going to sell that home. He thought it was a house. And she said, I’m not selling this, I built it. It was her career in a complementary fashion. Their identity is connected to their job, which was to care for the home.

And I met another woman whose husband was an accountant, and she had dinner for him every night, the same time, when he came home. I’m going to think of it as theater, they knew those roles really well. They could play them in a heartbeat. Could they change roles and play a new one? Oh, it was terrifying. The thought of, How will I do this? So there’s so much complexity into something that on the tip of our tongue says, But of course you can. And I’m not sure it’s that easy.

Maura Carlin: Something I don’t think we talk about enough is the work demands and how they’ve changed over the generations. No jobs or few jobs are nine to five anymore, or even less than that. And I’ll just tell you that my mother was a teacher, she was still home in the afternoon. My father, while he wasn’t a businessman, actually negotiated for shorter hours and did freelance on the side. And he was home on Fridays. But even when he worked full time in the city, it wasn’t the same kind of hours that we are expected to work now. And you know, that makes it harder. For one, to deal with the children, but it’s harder to get childcare for those who want to work 9-7 or 7-9. So that’s another piece that I don’t think we talk about enough.

Christie Derrico: I’m sorry, the entrepreneurial solution. That’s, I don’t advocate any 9-9. No. And believe me, I work hard. But a lot of my work and my husband’s work, we do bring it home. What I was going to say, before we did mention Confessions of a Superwoman. But another great article is, Why I Want a Wife, which I had to write an essay on in high school. One of my teachers had me write an essay and it has nothing to do with, you know, partners, sexual partners. It’s a support system. And this hidden workload.

Running a house is laborious if you are cleaning in COVID. So many people couldn’t have their cleaning help come in and they realized, this is really tough work. And there’s a lot more I think that can go into parenting than just, you know, the ministerial making the sausage, as they call it. I mean, there are issues that come up with children, or at least in some families, that can’t be addressed by other people.

Andi Simon: Yep, they need their parents. Now that leads to the role of parents. Because, you know, we started the conversation: Has our society put on the side burner the child? And it worries me because rather than the child being the foremost most important thing that we should be working for, that we should be developing society around, it’s almost a sidebar, and as Frank was discovering by taking care of his grandchild, this is exciting. It’s wonderful. It’s exhilarating. Why are we all built around our children? So as you’re doing your research, why aren’t we all built around the children? What is it in our American society where children are hard, both wonderful, but also challenging. How do we get our values on that stuff?

Christie Derrico: The word helicoptering has come up. And in the course of our research, the UN study on birth rates has found that over-parenting has contributed to the lower birth rates, the expectations, and truthfully, I think children are less independent. The days of “just be home at six” are gone. They’re very orchestrated with lots of activities. And a lot of parents’ involvement is required driving. Even if you hire someone to drive, you have to be careful that it has to be somebody who’s very skilled with your precious cargo. But that is a part of this discussion. And now we found again, with the pandemic, with the schools closed, a huge bulk of the support system that parents had disappeared overnight. And not only did you have them home, you are expected to do their schooling in front of a computer.

But I will say that from the guests we’ve spoken to and our personal experiences, I actually don’t think people have put the parenting on the backburner. I think that they’re expecting to do it all. And they’re expecting to do parenting at a much higher level than at least my parents did. Some of it’s from society, and some of it is internal. Yeah, and some of it is the kids.

Andi Simon: You’re raising some interesting questions about society because I remember that I was pretty free and I had a bike, and I could ride my bike after school over to Lord and Taylor’s and I had my own allowance. I could spend it however, I didn’t have to explain much of anything. We went outside onto the street and played kickball, whoever was around. I still know my next-door neighbor. And Bobby and I laugh sometimes how free we were to be, and to learn through that becoming.

But today, everything is different. And if you don’t have them in lacrosse, and then soccer and then rugby, then they hang around with nothing to do because nobody’s outside hanging out playing kickball. So you’re caught between the two. So let’s assume that’s just going to be our society for a while. As you look forward to coming out of the pandemic, any thoughts for the women who are willing to look for that balance dilemma and somehow address it in some fashion because the businesses are full of a balance dilemma.

Maura Carlin: I think it’s going to have to be flexible. And it’s going to have to be flexibility coming from the employers. The problem that I see, and I think about this all the time is, it’s one thing to be flexible. But if the workload doesn’t change, it’s very hard. And I’m not talking about those who allow the workload to fill as many hours as you have. But there are things that just can’t be flexible. I tried it at one point. After having kids, if the judge needed me to be in court, I had to be in court. And it really didn’t matter whether it wasn’t my day, or I had a parent-teacher conference. So, you know, there’s a society piece in control. And those are two good insights.

Christie Derrico: Well, I have managed to make my career flexible. And I have been before judges and I can remember a couple of tough experiences. I did have one story. My husband cut his finger one morning, and all I had was a Mickey Mouse or princess Band-Aid. And I said, “This is it. You’re gonna have to go to court with this.” So he puts it on and he goes, “This is great. The jury is gonna love this. They’ll know I’m a dad.” And I walked out and I said, “Ah, if I had walked in with the Mickey Mouse Band-Aid, I think that they would have thought, She’s a terrible mom. She can’t even get a Band-Aid. See the symbolism? Isn’t it the same Band-Aid?

In any event, this comes back to the issue of change. You know, when deciding careers and which position, the thing that we have addressed on our show are pivots, divots, pitfalls, curveballs…they happen, and how do you handle it. Or if you did decide to stay home for 10 years for great reasons, we have to stop thinking of parenting as pure drudgery. It’s the most wonderful time and you only get that one chance. So if you decide to stay home, what happens? It takes a lot of courage.

And we have featured many guests who have done return-ships. One woman was like a 40-year-old intern. And we didn’t get to address this in one of our recent shows, but it was on my mind. She said that she felt that her managers could turn to her and talk about business problems because she was the only adult in the room, or, you know, a senior adult, not somebody who was 22 years old and didn’t even know where to put the stamp on an envelope. So there are aspects, and now we can look at different careers, see where we might fit in best and aim for that. It probably takes us a couple years to reenter. But looking at these pivots, I think you have to just build yourself up and do it.

Andi Simon: It’s interesting listening to you because I hope those who are listening to us begin to think to themselves, How do we begin to change our attitudes or values, our minds? I did a workshop for the Petroleum Association in Pennsylvania in June last year, and they’re all struggling without drivers. I said, Have you thought of hiring women? And they looked at me. I said, Well, listen, what is wrong with having drivers from 10-3? And let them do it when they drop the kids off at the schoolbus and pick them up after? And they looked at me. I said, You’re short, you know, you have a challenge. And how can you then compliment them differently? How do you start to think about it from the eyes of what’s possible? Because they’re all sitting there waiting for jobs. And you simply say, Well, that’s not our job. Why?

Christie Derrico: These are the discussions we need to have because benefits are tied to employment. So if you have an employee, and they have a benefits package, it’s harder to rationalize what is part time. Does a person want to take that on and have no benefits? So those are the solutions and the discussions we need to have. So we can have people that just can’t commit to 40 hours a week, or 38-42 hours a week. And there are places for them. The biggest thing though when you return to the workforce is your family and getting them to adapt to loading the dishwasher, doing their own laundry, picking up a night to cook something. This is part of the cooperation.

Andi Simon: You know, as a conductor of the family orchestra, everyone had an instrument to play. And if you conducted it well, they enjoyed it, it was an opportunity to shine as opposed to a penalty box because they were trialed. We can talk about how I trained my family, because part of it was to give them the confidence that they could have the opportunity to learn the training, and not to do and to be them. I was the enabler, the facilitator, the lover, the hugger, but not the “I’ll take charge, you really messed it up” person. And that requires maturity on our part, to see this as a conductor might, where they aren’t all playing their instruments yet, but nobody’s trained them to play them. And so the metaphor that works for me might be something to share as you’re thinking about them.

I do have two thoughts to talk about. What is self-care? We have a 30-day challenge, actually a 60-day challenge, for a group of women presidents down in Nashville, it’s going on now. And it’s called Time to Take Care of You. And they’re all stressed out. But the research is extraordinary that self-care can reduce stress. And what’s happened is that for many successful women, they think it’s guilty to take care of themselves. What does that mean, anything from having a cup of coffee on their porch, to working out, to setting aside time on their calendar for quiet time, a quiet walk, to go and have a hobby that they can do and how to program it so that it’s part of their day.

What are you seeing in terms of self-care, because this is our third and I’m going to be doing these as often as I can because everyone who gets into them doesn’t want it to stop. Taking care of themselves is something to overcome, called guilt. And then when they do it, they go, “Oh, this makes me feel like I’m valued. I’m worth something.” What do you see? Maura, do you want to start?

Maura Carlin: Well, I mean, personally, I’m one of those people who needs to exercise. I need to move. Not everyone feels that way. I think the problem is finding the time. It’s very hard to set aside that time. And Christie and I do talk about that you need to have friends. If that’s important to you, you need to get exercise for health reasons. But for some people, it’s sort of like what energizes them. I think you need time to yourself. And I will tell you that I have started doing a gratitude compassion class that I’m failing at miserably. But that’s okay. And the big part of it is being kind to yourself. Yes. And I think that’s what we all need more of.

Andi Simon: Well, I find that the challenge is just fascinating. Because once they get into it, it takes a day or two or three, and then all of a sudden, they don’t want to stop it. And it has a gratitude part at the end and the wall of wins with a high-fiving each other. Christie, do you find people with self-care as the afterthought also, because without it, you can’t be happy?

Christie Derrico: Well, in the evolution of my family, my grandmother unfortunately passed away before she was 60. And I feel that she nearly worked herself to death. She did have an illness, but she was not good at the self-care aspect of it. And she had the biggest heart. And I think of her all the time in terms of the lessons as a business owner, and a mother. And my mother brought that to the table to say, You got to have sports, you have to have friends. So it’s something that’s been part of my life. I get up very early to do my exercise, which sometimes can be, you know, exhausting, but it’s maybe you do it three days a week, and not five, you know, you find a way to accommodate it.

But in talking about pivots and trying new things, I went back to school, and I am almost halfway through a Masters in English. And I see our podcast as something that Maura and I did. That was a personal hobby that turned into something. We learned new things. And we had to make room for this. I mean, Maura edits the audio for our shows, I do the newsletter and the graphics. I can’t even believe I’ve learned how to do that. I think it’s really important to keep learning new things, especially with all the new technology. And it can be very frustrating. But I think actually keeping up with it is really important. From a mental standpoint, and to not feel like the world has passed.

Andi Simon: So we are about ready to wrap up. So if that is your first: the world doesn’t pass you by, you must stay up on top. Do you have one or two other things more and then I’ll let Christie do hers.

Maura Carlin: The thing that I keep telling myself that I wished I told myself earlier was to be bolder and be braver. And things that scare me, I have to go do them.

Andi Simon: I love that be bolder, be braver. I never thought of it that way. But you’re right. To be brave I think is what we need to be because the times have always been tough. And somehow we all had families that mustered through them. And I think these are going to be exciting times to come out and be brave, be courageous. Christie, your last thoughts.

Christie Derrico: With the gratitude theme, sometimes we have to stop and reflect and really applaud ourselves about what we’ve achieved. Stop focusing on what we didn’t do, the things that didn’t turn out great. Never. You must love to have experienced love loss, like it’s all part of it. And I think that Maura and I do a post mortem at the end of our season, and even sitting here today, I was thinking this weekend, how much we achieved on the goals we set for ourselves. And if some don’t happen, that doesn’t really matter. That’s okay too. But it’s important to take stock and be appreciative and compliment yourself that you’ve done a good job.

Andi Simon: You know, the brain research I love because it’s, you know, being an anthropologist and looking at culture, that the brain, the human being, needs gratitude, appreciation. It needs to have those three things every day that you did well. And all of a sudden, the car is actually toasted and the rain goes flying around and that love hormone makes you feel warm and fuzzy. If you don’t, the cortisol has a great time making you feel angry. Somebody said to me at a meeting, “I have a friend who’s angry all the time. How do they change?” He said, “Just take control of your mind. There’s nothing in your mind. That’s anger. It’s just the way you think. So now what’s happening is you’re happy.” How do you turn lemons into lemonade because nobody can do it but us. And we can each do it so that we can then smile every morning.

So the first thing that my little 30-day challenge tells you to do is to wake in the morning and smile. And all of a sudden, the day looks very cool. Why not? It’s perfect. This has been such fun. If they want to listen to The Balance Dilemma, or get a hold of you, where and how do they do that?

Christie Derrico: We are on the internet at thebalancedilemma.com where you can find old episodes. We have show notes and things recommended by our guests. We’re also on social media at The Balance Dilemma podcast on Facebook and LinkedIn. And any place you listen to your podcasts, which could be Apple, iTunes, Google Spotify. The Balance Dilemma, you can find all the episodes and listen in. We appreciate it.

Andi Simon: You were bold and brave and courageous and true. And I loved having both of you here. So for my listeners, all of you have done a great job making us in the top 5% of global podcasts. I don’t know how many podcasts there are, so I don’t know what that actually means, other than it’s fun to share. And we’re in the top world 20’s futures podcast. So I’m a real fan of Futurism because the signals are coming to us every day. And today’s podcast makes me remember that there are signals coming to us that the times are changing fast. We know that. But how can we do this in a way that will be stronger for our kids and their kids and create a real strong culture and society where children are in the forefront of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it? And that doesn’t mean just popping them in the car and helicoptering them over to the next lacrosse game.

I mean, there’s something broader here and even getting them to love to read and understand the joy of exploring ideas and staying on top of what’s happening because they’re going to lead us. These are great, great stories. You can reach me at info@andisimon.com. My books are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble: Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business and On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights from which this whole podcast developed. And as we move into our post-300th podcast, I’m really happy to be sharing lots and lots of great stories. Thanks for coming. Have a great day. Stay well and enjoy the joy of living.