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Work It

Maybrooks helps moms find jobs that work

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Remember when flexibility meant backbends and forward folds? Yeah, neither do we. These days it’s about finding balance between your family and your work. And, if you’re lucky, squeezing in an occasional yoga class.

Maybrooks, a new job board/online magazine hybrid, supports moms in finding work that works for them. In other words, flexible jobs.

Stacey Delo and Debi Ryan, two working moms who nanny-shared and passed each other at pickup in a frenzy, launched Maybrooks to help women like them (and us and you) find work that allows balance.

We sat down with them to find out more about the site and their own experiences, and to get the Maybrooks take on leaning in.

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The spark for Maybrooks: We realized we couldn’t put our finger on a site that was a go-to online resource for working mothers — from the time they think about getting pregnant and wonder what it will mean for their jobs, to when they seek more flexibility at their jobs, to when they may want to return to the workplace after some time off with children. We built the site as a tool for working mothers to help each other.

How the site works: We really believe it takes a village to bring more flexibility to the work environment, and that with the help of our growing network of women, we can promote companies that already practice and support this concept (with existing flex policies and women’s initiatives) and shine a light on smaller companies that by nature seek big brains on a short-term or project-style basis. A big part of our effort is to encourage women — from the everyday individual, to the hiring manager, to the business owner — to share links to flexible jobs they see at their own companies or industry listservs they’re a part of.

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Let’s talk about the “F” word: It’s so funny, because people get so fidgety around the word “flexibility,” like it means that someone doesn’t want to work hard. In fact, most of us want to — and do — work very hard, and we are always available thanks to smartphones and tablets.

Agreed. Let’s make them fidget some more. Define flexible careers: The definition of a flexible career for us is, well, flexible. It’s personal based on what a company and an individual arrive at together. Some flexible jobs are full-time with flexible elements such as the ability to telecommute one day a week or the ability to leave at 4 p.m., with the understanding that you will be back online — and working — after 8 p.m. For others, flexible is part-time — two to three days a week, or what we like to call “the bus-stop gig,” where you work between the hours of school drop and and pickup, which could still equal 30 hours a week. Still for others, flexibility might come as short-term contract or freelance jobs that offer some autonomy.

Your secret to finding balance: We had put a lot of time and effort into our careers by the time we had our first babies. Stepping out entirely felt wrong because we had achieved a lot and because we identified strongly with our jobs. But we also knew that our children would be little only for a short period of time, and we wanted to be with them, too. We’ve worked this into the philosophy of the way we work today, and while we’re working like crazy as start-up co-founders, we each take a day a week to spend with our kids. It’s difficult to do this, but it’s really built into our personal mission for the site and our families.

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The Maybrooks job board was the first time we had seen the terms “maternityship” and “returnship.” How do they work? A maternityship is a contract opportunity (three to five months) where an experienced person fills in for a woman on maternity leave. A returnship is an internship for a woman returning to work after some time off.

If this were a sorority meeting, this next question would get snaps. Tell us about the “mom premium”: The mom premium highlights the high quality of job candidate we believe that working mothers make for employers. If you already employ a working mother, then you know they are organized and efficient. There’s zero time for lollygagging in the hallways — because they have a second or third shift to do at home. As an article in Inc. magazine put it recently, “moms are wired to kick ass.”

What’s the Maybrooks take on Lean In? We say whatever you want to do — lean in, lean out — fine. But lean over! Lean over — extend your hand — and help another working woman find a flexible job or career. This is exactly what Maybrooks is about. In fact, the majority of jobs posted on our site have come from women — those with their own companies and those in hiring roles. This is incredibly important because it goes against the grain that women don’t want to help each other succeed — we’re seeing the opposite on our site.

To learn more, go to maybrooks.com.

Photos: Viet Hwang / Courtesy of Maybrooks; Andrea Ismert / Courtesy of Maybrooks