An Interview with Liz from Hello Ladies
I am a full-time, working mother of two kids. I work in marketing, run Hello Ladies, moonlight as a freelance writer and volunteer. As a result, my house is always messy and I have no social life – something has to give, right?
The idea for Hello Ladies came to me on Equal Pay Day in 2009. Equal Pay Day is the day we set aside every year to acknowledge women earn less than men for similar work (currently 17.8 percent less). One of the ways activists observe the day is to wear red – symbolizing women are still in the red financially. My son was in first grade at the time and I had explained the concept to him and asked him to wear red that day. As he was filing into the classroom, I turned to a group of mothers in the school yard and noted how proud I was of my child for helping me observe Equal Pay Day. The women, including several who work outside the home, had no idea there was a gender wage gap. I was shocked and I thought to myself, “Hello ladies, you need to know this!” I started the site in an effort to deliver useful, actionable information to busy women like me who want to stay on top of news affecting women but don’t have a lot of spare time.
What is Hello Ladies about? What are some of the most popular topics on the site?
I call Hello Ladies the intersection of feminism and life and my goal is to be a source of news and information for smart, busy women. To that end, I write about career, work/life issues, politics and occasionally shoes and other fun topics. Women are amazing multitaskers and it’s possible for us to care about public policy and want to know orange is the new black all at the same time.
It’s interesting, I don’t think of myself as a mom blogger, more like a blogger who is a mother, but the posts that resonate the most with readers are the ones that deal with parenting, and specifically being a working mother. My posts on trying to balance career and family, like “Mominology” and the “Life of a Working Mother,” about the day my skirt fell in the toilet on my way to the office, strike a chord with other women trying to manage career and family. And more general working woman topics are popular too – like dealing with sexual harassment on the job as well as coverage of the Wal-Mart gender discrimination suit.
Also, posts about retailers selling padded bikini tops and sexy Halloween costumes for little girls, or how dangerously thin the actresses on television are, have been popular because parents are challenged with how to raise healthy girls and boys amid some very unhealthy messages from the media.
Which current political issues should women be paying most attention to?
All of them! But more specifically, Washington has been playing politics with women’s health and that’s just scary. Recently we’ve seen all male Congressional panels debating the need for contraception coverage, a partisan fight over protecting victims of domestic violence, and a presidential contender questioning the value of prenatal testing.
With regards to work and the economy, we have yet to pass The Paycheck Fairness Act, close to half of the private sector workers in this country don’t have paid sick days so how do they care for sick children or elderly parents, and the U.S. is one of four countries that doesn’t offer paid family leave to new mothers. These are not women’s issues. These are family issues that affect all of us.
Our best course of action is to elect more women to office. Women represent half of the population yet hold only 16.8 percent of the seats in Congress. Vote. Support women candidates. Run for office.
Unsurprisingly, moms are busy people—any time management and time-saving tips or tricks you can offer?
Know your non-negotiables and let the rest go. Working takes up the majority of my week. After that, making time for my family and Hello Ladies are non-negotiable. Being clear about my priorities allows me to say no, guilt-free, to anything that would interfere with the time I choose to spend at home or on my laptop. Hence the messy house.
What are some ways in which your family tries to save money?
We all pack lunches – for work and for school. I hate eating my money. I’d rather wear it!
What are your top 5 tips for all moms?
- Learn to negotiate. Negotiate at work for extra vacation, flex time, work-from-home options, and anything else that will make balancing your life more manageable. And negotiate at home to keep the peace and make the chore list more equitable.
- Embrace no. Get crystal clear about what matters to you and your family and say no to everything else. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but with some practice, it eventually just rolls of your tongue.
- Get involved. Yes our children need us at home, but they also need us to help make this world a better place. Donate your time and unique skills to a cause that matters. Your children will benefit from it.
- Lead from the front. Mothers are natural helpers. So many of us are comfortable behind the scenes – but our children, especially our daughters, need role models. Take charge, grab the mic, lead an organization. Our daughters can’t be what they can’t see.
- Have fun. When I travel for business, I always jump on my hotel bed and shop for cheap, sparkly jewelry at the airport. Find a way to have fun every day no matter what’s on your agenda.