Kim Collins Kalicky is a 50-something wife, writer, and mother of two grown boys. Her latest book, Mothers Fulfilled, focuses on her life as a full-time working parent, and the challenges her hectic schedule presented in the office and at home. On a broader scale, the book discusses work-life balance for families throughout the United States. Kim introduces a dialogue about the need for parents to have more flexible scheduling options at work.
Kim, who’s had a long career in finance, recalls her life as a working mother and believes a four-day work week would have been ideal. She doesn’t throw out this number without basis. Rather, she remembers a time when a four-day schedule was her only viable option. During this time, her husband lost every hair on his body over a 10-week period; a condition his doctors attributed to stress. While this family health crisis was occurring, her youngest son, Ben, was having trouble adjusting to daycare. Kim knew her family needed her, and she requested a temporary four-day schedule (a request that took 6 months for the leaders at her firm to approve). Despite the challenges of trying to do a full-time job in 32 hours, Kim says the extra day made all the difference, giving her the breathing room she so desperately needed.
In retrospect, Kim wishes she asked for a flexible schedule from the get-go, but as many working parents know, flexibility is not always an easy thing to ask for – or acquire. MP couldn’t help but think of her own years as a full-time working parent, and how nervous she was to ask her boss for part-time work before CP#2 was born. There’s so much risk involved. What happens if your company says no to your request? What will you do next? And how will you be regarded once you’ve asked?
Kim believes that parents should be able to ask for schedules that work for them without fear of consequence. In retrospect, she says, she might have found a firm that would have allowed her a permanent, four-day schedule. She advises new parents to listen to their needs and advocate for themselves in each phase of their working/parenting lives. She writes, “Now you may decide you want some flexibility in your schedule or fewer hours, and if your company doesn’t feel right any more, perhaps you should dig deeper.”
In Mothers Fulfilled, Kim is the cheerleader in your corner, the knowing friend you go to for support. It’s a book worth reading if you’re on the fence about where to go next with your career, or if you need the courage to make a choice. If you’re like MP, who took a great leap of faith in her own career, it’s a book that makes you remember where you came from, and appreciate the decisions you made all the more.
To learn more about Mothers Fulfilled, visit amazon.com.