How “parenting out loud” can improve your workplace
The other day, my wife and I were having a conversation and she used a phrase with me that I’d never heard before. She said something about “parenting out loud” and it caught my attention. Now, it’s not abnormal for my wife to use a word or phrase that’s above my level of comprehension. She’s the brains of this operation and is far more intelligent than I am. But I want to get back to this idea of “parenting out loud” or “parenting loudly” and what it means.
My wife gave me a casual explanation, but I wanted to delve deeper to understand this concept better. So, let me begin by explaining what “parenting out loud” is. In its simplest definition, it means not hiding the fact that you’re a parent from your colleagues, employees, or supervisors. It means talking openly about your children, and how they impact your life – both negatively and positively – and taking interest in other parents who are having this shared experience. Parenting loudly is about having the ability to be your full self as a parent at work while maintaining a professional demeanor. This includes discussing your family openly (when appropriate) without fear that someone will treat you differently for being a parent.
While I’m a pretty transparent person, not everyone feels that they can share as freely. There are all sorts of scenarios where someone may feel uncomfortable talking about the challenges of parenthood. Think of a mother returning from parental leave, an adoptive parent navigating the tricky and nuanced processes to complete an adoption or foster placement, or even a coworker that’s needing to provide care for an elderly parent. Through my research, I even saw stories of parents who hid that they needed to attend a doctor’s appointment or sporting event for their child.
The pandemic has thrown another wrinkle into the lives of working parents. Hybrid and remote work can blur the lines between work and home, making employees – especially caregivers – feel like they’re never truly off. Their day doesn’t really start at 9am, nor does it really end at 5pm.
As employees, we want to bring our full selves to work. That includes the part of us that are parents (and all that comes with that responsibility). Workplaces that are aiming to be more inclusive should give thought to how they allow their employees to “parent loudly.” It’s important for senior leadership to set the tone and encourage others to “parent out loud.” This will give others the freedom to be more open and honest. Has your organization reviewed its policies to help create an inclusive environment for parents? For example, consider removing “maternity/paternity leave” and using “parental leave” instead. Is the HR staff trained on different types of families and the impact of family stigma? Does your credit union offer an EAP (employee assistance program) that includes support for parents? One of the ideas that I thought was really innovative was creating an ERG (employee resource group) specifically for parents.
As I’m writing this article, I can’t help but think about how thankful I am to work for an organization in Humanidei that allows me to “parent out loud.” I want to encourage more of you to get comfortable “parenting loudly” with me! Being a parent isn’t easy. There’s no need to struggle in silence.
If your credit union is interested in finding more ways to be inclusive and welcoming to parents and caregivers, please feel free to reach out to our team at Humanidei. Whether you’re looking to update current policies, establish ERGs, or assess the culture of inclusivity at your organization, we’re here to be your partner. Together, we’ll make sure not to overlook those employees who are navigating their professional lives alongside one of the most challenging jobs of all time – being a parent.