Over at BNET this week, I’m getting a lot of comments on a post called “More kids won’t kill your career…unless you want them to.” This summer, I kept seeing headlines claiming that having a third child was the “kiss of death” to one’s career. This rather alarming announcement turned out to be based on an Australian study finding that women with three children were less likely to work outside the home than women with two children. Of course, the whole correlation/causation issue comes up, but looking closer at the numbers, I realized that one could have put an entirely different headline on the study. Because it turned out that a solid 55% of Australian mothers with three kids had jobs. That was a lower percentage than those with two kids, but it’s still more than half. I guess a headline claiming “Majority of moms of three in workforce” just wouldn’t be as catchy.
So I wrote about that over at BNET, leading in with the stories of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Whatever you think of either of them, the truth is that they’ve built big political careers in a male-dominated field while having fairly large families (as have plenty of Democratic women too — see Jennifer Granholm, Nancy Pelosi, etc.) Then there are women who’ve achieved amazing things in other fields: J.K. Rowling, for instance. Or WellPoint CEO Angela Braly (3 kids). The point is, three kids does not have to be the kiss of death. And in fact, is not for the majority of the Australian women the researchers studied.
I also posted “What’s your bedtime ritual?” That last hour before bed is a good time to do something relaxing or personally fulfilling. Many of us wind up just watching TV, because it’s passive and helps you unwind. But there are other things that can help a person unwind too. I’ve been trying to read outside, enjoying these last few days of summer as the weather takes on a bit of a chill. It’s quiet and relaxing, and if I’ve got a good book (which I’m trying to keep in stock from my local library!) then it’s a very pleasant way to get myself close to sleep.
Finally, today (Thursday) I posted an interview with Adelaide Lancaster, co-author with Amy Abrams of The Big Enough Company. These two women founded In Good Company, a shared workspace in NYC (where I’ve spoken in the past). They shared “4 Secrets Happy Entrepreneurs Know,” pointing out that when it comes to entrepreneurial ventures, bigger isn’t always better. I think that’s a fair point, though I think there’s another side too, in that many small business owners don’t think big enough. They’re scared to hire people, to invest in the business, to take risks that might result in sales growth around an order of magnitude (rather than just inching up). Obviously, you have to figure out what you’re in it for. A relaxed lifestyle is good. So is cold hard cash. There are good arguments for both! That would truly be a good company if you could combine the two!