How do you hold it together when it seems the world is coming apart?
Today, we’re talking pandemic life, entrepreneur life, mom life, and just well life, with a guest who has a lot to say about how to hold space for yourself when you need it.
Welcome to the podcast. I’m Julie Holton here with Audrea Fink and Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris We are your Think Tank of Three.
Julie Holton (00:02):
How do you hold it together when it seems the world is coming apart?
Today, we’re talking pandemic life, entrepreneur life, mom life, and just well life, with a guest who has a lot to say about how to hold space for yourself when you need it.
Julie Holton (00:46):
Welcome to the podcast. I’m Julie Holton here with Audrea Fink and Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris We are your Think Tank of Three.
Audrea Fink (00:53):
The theme of finding balance comes up a lot in this podcast. We all want to know what your secret is.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (00:59):
Spoiler alert. There isn’t one, at least not one that we found just yet, which is why we focus on the journey.
Audrea Fink (01:07):
And that journey has certainly taken a few unexpected twists and a few sharp terms, thanks to the pandemic.
Julie Holton (01:15):
Our guest today, Kate Snyder, is the owner of Piper and Gold, a public relations firm in Michigan. She is known here as a woman who holds nothing back, a fierce protector of her team, her family, the causes she believes in including protecting her own mental health. Kate, welcome to the show.
Kate Snyder (01:32):
Thank you so much for having me.
Julie Holton (01:34):
We’re so glad to have you here and to dive in. There’s so much to talk about, and I’m just going to jump right in Kate. Is there even such a thing as balancing business and life during a pandemic? How are you doing it?
Kate Snyder (01:48):
I’m not, I’m absolutely not. It’s a fallacy. It’s a complete fallacy. And I don’t think even just during a pandemic. I think that the expectations of women in leadership positions today make it impossible for there to truly be such a thing as balance.
Julie Holton (02:05):
Like what does balance mean to you? Because I think it even means different things to different people.
Kate Snyder (02:09):
I think you’re totally right. It has so much to do with your own personal desires and kind of tolerance for things and what you want.
We paint this picture that there’s somehow this balance thing. And it’s like, what is that? That’s different for every person.
And maybe that’s what balance really is, is knowing and identifying what you want, what you’re comfortable with, what you’re good with, and getting that. But that’s, that’s a journey.
Julie Holton (02:40):
Let’s just pretend for a moment that you had found this fairytale of balance before the pandemic. And so even if you had gotten it, like all of a sudden here comes along this global pandemic and you can’t leave your house and you can’t, meet with people in person. And so everything was just shifted.
Kate Snyder (02:57):
And we were, and still are, frankly for many of us, surrounded by fear and grief and hardship. And even if you, yourself and your family are in a relatively safe and secure place, it’s hard to not be impacted by such a macro scale tragedy to live with that and function every single day.
The chronic anxiety that the last 18 months has caused for people. There’s just no way that it doesn’t catch up to you. And that you don’t have to figure out how to like realign, how you process things, and just how you function on a day-to-day basis.
Audrea Fink (03:40):
One of the things that I feel has been a silver lining is that this pandemic really has caused a lot of people to reflect and reevaluate what’s important in their life and how they’re spending their time. And I don’t know, speaking at least for myself, that I would have ever thought to do that reevaluation without it. It really had an impact on me and saying, if this is the life that I’m living, is this really what I want?
What kind of shifts have you seen or experienced, you know, as you worked on balance? Well, this mythical creature named balance…
Kate Snyder (04:16):
For me, I definitely think it helped me to see that some of the things that I wanted were actually possible and were possible perhaps sooner than I thought was reasonable. I recognize that it is a huge position of privilege to even be able to think about how I want to craft my life post-pandemic and during a pandemic.
It is a testament to the privilege that I have and to the safety and security that my family is in. I know there are a lot of families that aren’t even in that kind of situation to be able to think about that stuff, but we are, and I’m so grateful for that.
In recent years, I’ve wanted to take a month off in the summers and take our family… This is so bougie and I’m sorry but take our family and go rent a house and live in Reykjavik for a month in the summers. We visited there in 2015, I think and fell in love with it. And I want my child to see that the American culture, the American hustle is not the only way of life.
I had this dream, but I thought like, how is that ever actually going to happen? How can I leave my company for a month? My husband is a mechanical engineer. How can he leave his job for a month?
And now we’ve seen I can step away or I can work remotely. He can even work remotely. He worked remotely for over a year. It’s completely possible for us to be able to do this thing that, in my head was like the Mecca of life. Now we’ve all seen you get to change what you want.
I started working from 7a to 3p, which seems like this little thing, but I loved it. It was because there wasn’t after-school care available for my kid and I wanted to be able to go pick him up. Now that school’s starting back up in the fall, I’m going to try to go back to that schedule because I actually really enjoy being able to spend that time with him. And I never thought, how could I do that? How can I leave my team? But they don’t see it that way.
Audrea Fink (06:22):
I know right before I left my job, I was working 7a to 3p and I switched to it and I didn’t think it was going to be possible, but I read this book and I am obsessed with this book. It’s called Do Nothing. And it’s all about like the history of work and how the 8 to 5 even became the 8 to 5 and how the American hustle turned into the American hustle because it didn’t use to be like that.
And it changed my way of thinking. And what I found was working from 7 to 3, meant that I had these really super productive, quiet mornings. And then I had the hustle and bustle of my day of meetings. And then I was done by 3, mostly 4 because I’m not very good at cutting myself off.
But then I had a whole evening and afternoon to myself, which was glorious because it meant I could spend time with my family. I was out and about when there was still daylight, it made a huge difference in my mental health. And I think we are finding these flexibilities within the workspace that we never allowed for before because we never thought about why should we challenge that system.
Julie Holton (07:27):
Okay. You touched on something too that I think is really important to spotlight this dream. Maybe something sounds a little bougie but here’s the thing, we talk about how it is so important for us to celebrate our successes and to celebrate our wins, especially during a pandemic.
And that is actually a lesson that Reischea and Audrea kept putting on me, but it’s really important for us when we are able to see these dreams realized or see a different way of living for ourselves or something that we’ve always wanted that we thought we couldn’t have. That’s what we’re working towards in the first place.
It’s hard of course, to see so many who are struggling right now. I know the work that you do at Piper and Gold, and that’s a big part of the work you do. It’s a very mission-focused day in and day out. You and your team are giving so much to the community. It’s important to celebrate that success gives you these gains in your personal life.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (08:22):
You shouldn’t be apologizing for success. You’ve worked for it. You’ve put in the work. You’ve put in the effort. There’s no need to apologize for achieving the goals for which you’ve worked.
Kate Snyder (08:34):
I think you point out something that’s really critical for people that work in mission-driven work because it is so hard when you work with disadvantaged populations. When you work with folks that are facing hardships on a daily basis, it does create this kind of syndrome of guilt, where it can be really hard to balance celebrating success, letting go releasing the hardships that you’ve seen, and also acknowledging your own contributions that you’re making toward them, because it can feel sometimes like it’s never enough.
And when you’re trying to cut off and take care of your family or yourself, it can be hard to say, but it’s enough for today. It’s been enough today and I’m going to come back to it tomorrow. And it is that really weird dichotomy of being proud of yourself and your team and your accomplishments and celebrating those while also still trying to be sensitive to people that are in pain.
Audrea Fink (09:32):
We talk a lot on this podcast about holding two conflicting truths. Knowing that taking a month off and going to another country is a privilege, acknowledging that privilege is important, and also taking care of your mental health and being in a position where you can take that trip. That is also okay. They’re conflicting in a lot of ways, right?
You work with people who are living in hardship, and you are working to try to better their lives. It doesn’t mean that you have to say, “my life doesn’t get to have these things.” Every woman on this podcast has a pretty solid privilege. And everyone on this podcast has these disadvantages that they deal with. And we have to be sensitive to those disadvantages and sensitive to those privileges, but we don’t need to apologize for our success. And I think it’s something that women frequently struggle with because generally speaking, we are so empathetic and we do see that if someone has hardships, we want to help. We want to offer support. We don’t want to make them feel bad about it.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (10:30):
So Kate organically, this ability for you to take the time away, what about when you share that with your, with the company and your clients, “we’re taking a step back.” What was the reaction from the individuals? We need to take a step back. I’m taking a step back. We all need to take a step back. So let’s take a step back from social media, from the public eye. It’s time to stop and breathe.
Kate Snyder (10:53):
It was such a forced setback at the beginning, at the beginning of the pandemic. So many of us were being forced to step back at the same time that I think that that normalized it in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. So many of us were having to step out of meetings or reschedule stuff, or just didn’t show up on a zoom because a kid was having a meltdown or we all had spotty internet or the laptop died and we don’t have access to tech support.
I do think that the organic nature of it has led to a more structured look at how do I permanently do this as opposed to doing it as a result, as a reactive measure, to just adjusting to life and when the pandemic started. But I’ve been working with that structural component because for me, I’m a big process person. I love a good process.
I’d say the last year-plus has been stressful on my mental health. I don’t like to feel out of control. I don’t like when things are not predictable when they’re not stable. I thrive on stability and steadiness. I’m a very even keel person. I could eat the same thing for lunch every day and be perfectly fine with that. I like my order and my routine.
And I’m still, even as we enter the fourth wave, my anxiety has spiked. I’m having to learn new coping tools and mechanisms just when I thought I was almost done with this. For me structure and frankly, working with consultants and my team to build out that structure of what I want post-pandemic, has been my approach and listening to what others need to feel supported while I’m also getting what I need and relying on experts to help with that has been the way, whether they’re mental health or consultants, it’s been the way that I’ve tried to move forward.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (13:02):
How long did it take you to figure out the manner in which you could make this work for you? I was hearing you when you were like, I’m all about the process. And I’m like, well, this threw a massive wrench into your process, but you seem to have discovered a new process. How long did it take you to get to that level of, okay, this is how I do this?
Kate Snyder (13:23):
There’ve been waves and I’m definitely not there yet. But 2021 has really been where that structural process has started to come into play, where it’s become clear both from a personal perspective and a professional perspective that this albeit temporary is long-term temporary.
We’re not coming out of this anytime soon, still. And for a long time last year, I really did feel like I was in a holding pattern. I talked to my therapist about it all the time that I just felt like everything in my life was waiting for this pandemic to end. So I could move forward, whatever phase it was last summer, we bubbled with another family and had a nanny. We made the really difficult and medication requiring a decision in the fall to send our son to in-person school.
So there have been these phases and these changes, but at the beginning of this year is we brought on a consultant at work and we’ve been working with them to revamp our project management process, to reflect what the post-pandemic world is going to look like.
We’ve had full-time team members that have moved outside the region. We’ve always had remote employees, but now almost half of our team is remote. And so helping us restructure to be more functional for that, then also allows me to be more remote.
I’ve always said that I was 55 and out, we would figure out what the next plan for the company was. We’d succession plan for about 10 years prior to my departure and then love y’all I’m out. Now, we’ve actually started planning for that a lot earlier because in looking at what do we want to structure work like, I’ve been given this opportunity to think, not just what is my retirement looks like, but what does getting to retirement look like? I see options in a way that I didn’t see before, they’re concrete now.
Whereas before it was this idea, this idea that I’m just going to run, I’m going to run really hard and really fast. I play the long game and then I’m going to pivot. And so I, it was going to be work, work, work, work, work, and then I wanted to be able to be around and really be present for my kid. When he started to hit his teenage years.
I don’t like babies. I don’t think they’re cute. I don’t like toddlers. They’re sociopaths/ I’m not a fan. I like mine. Like, mine’s good. But it’s not the phase of life that I ever felt the need to be immersed in. But when he starts to really foundationally form who he is as a human and when he really needs support in ways that he doesn’t know how to ask for and when it matters, if someone’s at every single swim meet, that’s when I wanted to be able to be around. Now I’m able to see that it’s not just black or white. I actually can have phases of work, be done, and I can slowly ratchet myself down instead of just go all out and then stop.
Julie Holton (16:27):
So many people can relate to what you’re saying too. There’s this idea that exists out there that we have to just hustle that it’s all about the grind that it’s 24/7 till the day you retire. You need to work yourself to the bone, to full exhaustion. Otherwise, you must not be working hard enough. Like you’re not, you’re not going to be successful enough. You’re not going to attain the goals. You’re not helping your team enough. Just all these different ideas that are out there.
And I think especially during the last few years now, we’ve really been learning that we can find balance every day. That we can turn it on, we can turn it off. We can take days. We can take a day off. We can take a vacation, we can take a month off. And I think that this is something that’s really important for us because how many people do we know get to retirement and have nothing left. They don’t even know what they want because they’ve all they’ve known as work. And I think that that’s something that our generation is discovering.
Now that we can have this. We can have what we want. Now. We still have to work hard when we clock in. So to speak at work, we’re still working really hard. And we’re, you know, until the moment we clock out the hustle isn’t gone, but it’s that 24/7 grind that we’ve let go of.
Audrea Fink (17:46):
I’m hearing in the back of my head, like this justification. We’re working hard so therefore we can take a break. That is so ingrained in us. I feel like that hustle is ingrained to us culturally and as women, because we have this home that we have to deal with and we’re also in the workplace. And we walk this weird line of at work, but not part of the bro club, not to say that all men are part of that. There’s this different expectation on women. As I’m hearing you say that, like my whole body is like, why are we justifying how hard we work?
You know what I don’t hear men saying? “Well, I took this weekend to go on a golfing trip or whatever, but I worked really hard during the week.” They don’t justify it. The expectation is that they work hard, right?
But women work harder? I’m sorry, but they do. I carry more emotional work at home than my husband does. I just do. I know I do. And when we go to work, both of us work our butts off. And when we come home, I keep going and he sits down and relaxes and he doesn’t justify it because he’s not working anymore.
Why do I feel the need to justify when I come home and relax? Sure, the dishes aren’t going to get done, but that’s not the end of the world.
Because it’s been ingrained in us. It’s been ingrained in us from the very beginning,
Julie Holton (19:02):
This is a therapy session right here. I’m telling you. Even Kate as I hear you talking about pausing and finding the right… I need us to come up with a better word for balanced.
When I hear about you talking about pausing, I just am having these flashbacks. I’m triggered back to the beginning of the pandemic when I was taking phone calls from my clients, literally all hours of the day and night, all throughout the weekend. And I never took a moment to pause because I felt this responsibility to help them keep their businesses going. And that is a lot of pressure. When as a business owner, I’m trying to keep my own business going and let’s not forget about the health concerns of a pandemic.
Kate Snyder (19:41):
I remember that that week, that everything shut down, we had gone to Disney World for a family vacation. So when we left, there was one case in California directly related to travel. So it was a thing that was happening overseas. People were keeping an eye on it, but it wasn’t what it became.
And while we were there every day, it progressed. And every day it got a little worse and we ended up leaving. It was when we were scheduled to come home but the night we came home was literally the night before Disney shut down.
So we were there when they announced the closure of Disney land, we were there. When they announced that the NBA was canceling, that the NCAA tournament was being canceled. That South by Southwest was being canceled. All these things. And then Friday night, they announced that Walt Disney World would be closing on Sunday. And we were flying home Saturday night. It was in the height of it all.
And Thursday night, I stayed up to watch the governor’s press conference and just see what would happen, what she was going to announce. They announced that schools were closing. So we didn’t even get our son’s school stuff because we weren’t back in time to have his last day of school.
After the governor made her announcement, we work with tons of school clients, funds of higher ed clients, government clients that have public-facing sites that have lots of people coming through the doors, public health entities. So all of our clients were in crisis at once. That had never happened in my career before. I was a senior in college for 9/11. And I think that there probably would have been some comparable responses had I been truly in the professional world of work at that time, I was in an internship.
So I saw a little bit of it, but not a lot of it. But even still for businesses outside of New York City, their operations weren’t really fundamentally impacted the way that this impacted all of us nationally. And so I actually set up this like triage system with our team that was then communicated out an email, went out at 1:30 in the morning, which I always schedule emails for the next day, even if I’m choosing to work late. So I don’t set that expectation that I’m going to be available 24/7. And yet I kind of started my email saying the fact that I’m sending you an email at 2:00 AM, tells us what a big deal this is.
And I basically laid out for our clients that this is going to be our hierarchy of triage. And for those of you that aren’t at the top level. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for understanding that right now we are one collective that is interconnected because of your relationship with us as an agency. And we thank you for believing in the fact that this agency does mission-driven work and being willing to take a back seat for, we had said a week for a week, while we triaged the schools, the public health entities, the healthcare institutions that are at the highest level of need right now. And then we’ll move on to the second-highest level of need, which is those that, you know, touch the most people. And then we’ll move on to the third, highest level of need. And at the end of all of that, we’re going to touch base with everyone. And re-evaluate, what are our priorities now? How does that need to change? What do we need to do?
I’m a person that I need to compartmentalize. I actually just under five years ago, had a slip and fall accident and got a traumatic brain injury. And I never realized before that I was likely neurodivergent until I was learning to recover. And they were like, “well hun, your brain doesn’t quite work the way that the traditional brain works.” And I was like, oh, well, I just thought everyone’s worked like that. Like, so that explains it. This is part of the black and white aspect. So I was like, “oh, that’s not, that’s not a thing? This isn’t a thing? Well, that’s why I think everyone’s stupid. Wow. That’s why I’m kind of a jerk because I just assumed people were being dumb.”
And that’s when I started to have this thing called flooding, emotional flooding. And it’s what happens when your brain receptors, can’t receive all of this stuff that’s coming at it. And I never had a problem with that before never experienced it. I would say all the time like, oh, this is what people with emotions feel. I don’t like those terrible. But because of that, I had the opportunity, through occupational therapy and all sorts of different types of brain injury rehabilitation, to learn how to handle the fire hose. I was so grateful for that in the pandemic, because even my neurodivergent pre-brain injury brain, I don’t know, would have been able to just say, I’m incapable of doing all this. Like I’m incapable of processing all of this at once.
And so all we can do is segment. We need to start with the highest need and break it down from there. And thank you to everyone that is not highest need because I just can’t. And I had to learn that with my brain injury, to be able to say, I just can’t, I literally couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. And so I had to learn how to say, I physically can’t do that in the way I used to. And it allowed me to be less embarrassed saying we just can’t right now. So this is how we are, this is what we can do. This is how we are going to function while we figure out what happens to her
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (25:29):
And you just dropped in there. Another PSA, public service announcement is why everybody needs therapy. I repeat. Everybody. Needs. Every single human would benefit from therapy.
And then what you were talking about, how to learn with a bunch of things that were coming at you that you don’t think you would’ve been able to handle pre-injury, pre-therapy.
You automatically jump into process mode. You get into crisis management mode. That is what you do. Yes. Okay. So that’s actually a great thing because you are someone who says, okay, here’s my picture. And you can move the pieces around the puzzle to figure out how to make that work and on the receiving end of that.
However, when you said thank you to the clients who are not necessarily a high priority, thank you for your patience, what ended up being the response to you, lining it up saying, here’s the situation? This is what you’re going to have to deal with. This is what’s going to happen. Thank you for your patience.
Kate Snyder (26:33):
It was so validating to be quite honest because I didn’t know if that was the right course. I didn’t know if it was okay to say to a third of our clients, “You’re not important enough right now.” And so it was really validating to receive those messages back and to have everyone say, thank you for sending this out. Thank you for letting us know what to expect.
They had just as much uncertainty and fear as I had, you know, for their organizations as I had for mine. And so to have someone, even if I was saying, I don’t know what comes next, but just know that you do come, you know, it was reassuring to them. And then they reassured me right back.
So it was really validating to know that our clients truly did share our values as a company and that they got it. They had chosen to work with us because of who we are. And then when we showed who we were, they didn’t Bach. They’re like, oh yeah. Well, this is why we picked you.
Audrea Fink (27:35):
So frequently, I think the communication matters more than the actual action plan. The action plan of this is we’re going to triage is important, but had you not said anything to your clients who weren’t going to get that information or get the response that they were used to they’re going to build a story. Because in lieu of communication that says, “this is what we’re doing,” we all build our own stories.
So not only were you able to say, “Hey, this is a crisis and we are going to function differently than usual because this is a different than usual situation,” but you also said, “don’t build your own stories.”
Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s how you slot in. And that way they don’t have to have anxiety about it.
I know where I worked, we really struggled sometimes with building that hierarchy, because there’s always an exception, right? Like there’s always a rule that’s different for this person. And it will always be that way.
If you don’t explain, bold-faced, here is how we’re operating. Anything outside of this and you’re probably not going to get the same response because we are in crisis management mode versus business as usual.
I think even today, people are like, we’ve got to get back to normal. We got to get back to normal and normal doesn’t exist anymore. This is the new normal. How will we operate knowing that some of this will still be crisis management? We do not have an answer. Let’s be really clear and transparent about what we can do, what we can’t do, and set our expectations because most people will be fine so long as they aren’t building their own story.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (29:11):
That’s the case with, well, basically everything in life, right? Communication. If you aren’t communicating. I mean, I use this joke all the time: a girlfriend and a boyfriend in a car they’re driving in a car. The woman says,”Ooh my gosh. We’ve been together for six months.” And the guy’s response is, “Hmm, six months.” And then he immediately looks at the dashboard on the car and he’s like, oh, wait, that’s when I last got the car or whatever, and then he went into this train of, oh, he’s left what she said and is in a completely different realm.
Meanwhile, because he didn’t say anything, she’s like, Oh my God, I totally freaked him out. Six months. What does that mean? If he’s not saying, does he want to break up? I think he wants to break up. I can’t believe he wants to break. She goes through this whole thing, then she blurts out loud, “Okay, fine. We can just break up.” And the guy’s like, wait, what, what just happened? I just needed an oil change, maybe rotate the tires.
Exactly. And granted that it’s a very exaggerated, short form of, you know, this is from a conversation that went through this woman’s head in probably 60 seconds versus him. But if you hadn’t done what you did with your clients, as Audrea said, if you hadn’t laid it out and or not giving them that time to make up in their head: “Well, why isn’t she reaching out to me tomorrow? Why is it when I make a call I don’t get that call back for 48 hours or it’s a week later for a voice to voice response?” But the fact that you told them ahead of time, here is A, B, and C. This is how we’re doing this. I thank you for your time. I thank you for your patience. You matter, but there is a pecking order to the matter. The second PSA since you’ve dropped the first one about therapy is: Communication Matters.
Julie Holton (31:11):
Kate, one other topic that I want to talk about because I know that all 4 of us are really passionate about this. Talking about women in the workforce. Within even just a few months of the pandemic, statistics had already shown that women have been set back 20 to 30 years.
I was talking to my CPA for example, and she is the breadwinner in her family. Her husband has a great career just as she does, but when it came to homeschooling their daughter, she was the person who was more naturally able to help her daughter through school. And that essentially became a full-time job in and of itself. She actually cut her hours, even though she’s the breadwinner in order to take care of her daughter and to help her daughter through school. So there’s an example of a family that even chose less money, less pay during the pandemic, in order to care for their family.
I’ve had a number of people from my M connections team. One woman whose husband is a physician had such an increase in hours at the hospital. And he was home so little, to begin with, that in order to care for their three kids, she stepped away completely from work. A number of women have chosen to leave the workforce. So here we are set back now, 20 to 30 years, we already had so much work to do on the issue of equity and equality. Now, what, where do we start? Do we have a responsibility? What does this look like for women?
Kate Snyder (32:39):
Isn’t that in the million-dollar question? It’s clearly systemic. Just like any massive systemic issue, the overwhelming how to fix this, you know, especially when it’s this systemic issue, that’s millennia in the making, right?
We’re basically saying how do we address sexism in the workplace and implicit bias and, and it’s so big, but it does require systems. When we think about how we treated dads during the pandemic and the flexibility granted to them and the expectations placed on them versus how we treated moms. Did we see them receive equal flexibility, equal expectation?
I am in a relatively gender-nontraditional relationship. My husband has always been the primary caregiver to our child. That was kind of something we discussed and decided upon prior to making the choice to have a kid.
And he’s got the very eight to five with a lunch and two 15 minute breaks kind of job. And so it was always very, “you’re going to have to do drop-offs and pickups. You’re going to have to be the one to do sick days because my schedule doesn’t really accommodate those things.” And while it’s gotten better and I’ve been able to build in those things, because I’ve wanted to be more involved than I thought I would. It’s still in many ways, he still has the majority of those responsibilities.
And, and yet I say the majority of those responsibilities, and it’s really probably 50/50, but because the expectation is so skewed that 50/50 feels like he has a disproportionate share because it’s a lot more than a lot of other relationships that we see mirrored.
And, you know, even at his company, we’ve had to shift schedules again because he personally didn’t feel comfortable asking if he could start work an hour late once they returned to the office to drop our kid off. Whereas it was just the expectation that I would shift my schedule. And yes, some of that is because I don’t have a boss.
Some of it is cultural, right? Like he, after reflecting realized, like I just didn’t feel comfortable asking that of a male boss and a male-dominated environment, because that’s just not the way it works there. You have to kind of ask how many other people find themselves in that situation. Even if there’s been that conversation about relationship equity, parenting equity, and how that’s impacted people throughout the pandemic. There may not be systemic support for equity in the way that a family may want. And not everyone has the freedom or flexibility to create that. Not everyone has the freedom to say, well, then I’m just going to find a different job. Or I’m going to ask my employer. That’s not an option for everyone. And so that’s where we have to really grapple with the fact that this is a systemic issue. We were already fighting so many other systemic issues.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (35:55):
That’s also a brain rewire. It really is a brain rewire. You know, we can go back to your neuro-issue. It is ingrained. As I said before, these roles of women, this is what you’re supposed to do, because you are a woman you’re supposed to be at home. You’re supposed to raise your child. How long did we let women feel guilty for wanting to work outside the home?
I almost jumped through the screen, Kate, when you said you’re not loving the baby, toddler, I’ve got two kids. I love my children. Not necessarily in love with this particular age, because they’re five and 10. I’m looking forward to 10 and up. And then one of my in-laws, we were talking and she had said the same thing. I was like, “ it’s not just me?” because you’re constantly told this is the only time that they’re going to be this age. I get that. And there are moments that are really cute and great, but I don’t want to play with my kids for two hours a day. After 20 minutes, I’m done. And then I’m made to feel guilty about that. And it’s like, but that’s not how I built.
Audrea Fink (37:05):
And why isn’t that expectation on your husband? Culturally speaking, why? I feel like women are expected to do so much more and not even physically. I feel like my husband and I have a pretty equitable division of labor in terms of the way labor gets accomplished.
And I hold the emotional labor on my shoulders. If I don’t tell him the dishes need to be done, it’s time to vacuum, we need to wash the curtains, he’s never going to think about it.
I can’t wash wine glasses. I have never broken a wine glass while drinking wine. I just want to say that never not my entire life. I have broken all of our wine glasses while attempting to clean them sober or dry them sober. I don’t wash them washing dishes. I wash all the other dishes, just something about a wine glass. I don’t know. Maybe I’m too excited.
So, if I use the wine glass, I leave it on the counter because he can wash them without breaking them. I don’t know it’s magic. We will have all of the wine glasses lined up on the counter because we will have gone through all of them. And I’ll have to be like, “Hey, see, those? We’re all out of wine glasses. And I’m going to have to drink out of cups now.” And then he’ll do it right. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not above that. But he won’t see it. He won’t think about it. It doesn’t matter to him because he wasn’t raised to think these are the things that need to get done.
Now, I was raised where my dad was that person. My dad would come home from work. He feeds the kids. He’d cleaned the house. He’d disperse the chores. Right? My mom was very much, she was at work or she wasn’t. And so I learned it, I think, less of a cultural component and more because that’s who my dad was. But in watching Colby, it’s that traditional thing, he will do the work. He won’t complain about the work, but he won’t think about it being his job unless told.
Kate Snyder (38:55):
And I think some of it goes back to what you were saying about the self-imposed aspect of it. My son’s birthday was just a few weeks ago. And so in celebrating his birthday, we had that week rented this cool farmhouse on like orchards to go away for the week with our fellow bubble family. When I asked him, what kind of birthday party do you want? He told me I want a surprise party. Cause he’s five. Doesn’t really understand how this whole thing works prize if you ask for it.
So I decided we’re going to have a surprise party. So our bubble family is also a family of three. And then we invited my parents to come join us at the farmhouse to surprise him. And I planned all the aspects of it. And, planned out the cake order, the decorations made sure he had presents, made sure I’m parents do want time to be there, said to my husband, “Hey, like, can you kind of take him and do something with them special? Just the two of you. And then we’ll decorate when you get back. That’s when we’ll say surprise, we’ll eat food. We’ll open presents. So it’ll be really cute.”
And the night before we laugh, of course, I’m up until midnight, one o’clock in the morning trying to get work done, trying to get everything packed, trying to make sure everything is ready. My husband and I started to get into it and I’m just so stressed out. What can he do? Nothing. I’m sure it’s a very common conversation. Then it’s, you know, like, why does this always happen the night before vacation? And eventually, it got to like, this is self-imposed. You were doing this to yourself, Kate. You are doing this to yourself. Normally I’m like, yes, own it, whatever. But for some reason, just I had zero efs left to give that night and everything hit that night.
And I kept saying over and over, I am not being kind. I am not being fair. I am just going to say it. And you’re going to have to deal with it. I kept saying, I’m not going to therapize this tonight. And so I finally said to him, you’re saying that you want to be a part of these decisions and I didn’t involve you. You’re saying that you would have helped if I had asked you. Why do I have to ask you?
You know what goes into a children’s birthday party. You know, it’s a cake. It’s presents. It’s a place. It’s people. Why do I have to tell you? You tell me that you don’t want me to tell you things. You don’t want me to CEO you.
(And I’m sorry, honey, for airing all of our dirty laundry here)
He’s such an aware parent and he’s so like I said, he takes care of making the lunches and he is a hundred times more active and involved than the majority of male partners of many of my peers. And even he’s still never been conditioned to think, “oh my kid’s birthday is coming up.”
And part of it is also, I think you’ve mentioned Audrea about like your husband doesn’t care. And I do think part of that, it’s not that my husband doesn’t care about my kid’s birthday, it’s that my husband doesn’t care if there wasn’t a cake. It wouldn’t be a big deal to him. It wouldn’t be a big deal to him if there wasn’t a surprise party, but our kid is five and he’s been through a hell of a year.
And so yes, some of that is self-imposed, but some of it is also shaking off that conditioning, shaking off those societal expectations.
Normally I’m the person in that at the end of a heavy talk, like that tries to get us to like, where do we go from here? What’s the resolution? How do we move forward? Because I also need that at the end of a conversation, he’s a walkaway process that comes back later person and I’m not, but that night I just didn’t have it in me. So I actually, our conversation ended with me saying, you know what? I don’t know what the resolution is tonight. And I don’t have the energy to figure it out. So it’s your turn. You get us to a resolution tonight, your turn you go, because I am so tired. I don’t have it in me to get us to whatever we’re both going to do. Walking away from this conversation, your turn. He just looked at me like, oh.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (43:29):
I’m sorry that was well-played Kate, well-played. That is why one of the most annoying questions is: what can I do? When it’s clear that there are 12 wine glasses sitting on the countertop, why do I need to ask you? Why do you need to ask me, can I help? You could just go wash the 12 wine glasses that are sitting on the countertop.
What you can do, is go think for yourself. But instead of that just being the expectation, I get resentful. I get naggy. Why the ef, aren’t my wine glass washed? Speaking of bougie.
And it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere and it’s throughout our life. And that’s why I was saying there’s a massive rewiring that has to happen, on both sides. And I’ll be honest, not a hundred percent certain that that can happen without therapy for everybody.
Kate Snyder (44:56):
What Reisch was saying about the rewiring component, it isn’t just gender, right? Like it’s not just in traditional hetero relationships. We really do see it too in hierarchically in the workplace. We see it in so many different ways.
When I basically said to my husband, what do you need me to do? And it was like, solve the problem, just solve the problem. That came from one of my closest friends. She told me years ago that the best piece of advice she ever got in the workplace was never bring a problem. Always bring at least two solutions.
I started implementing that with my team and saying things like, “okay, and what solutions do you have for that?” When they would come to me, asking me what to do about something or sharing a problem, starting to condition them, to look for solutions, because we’re definitely taught to look for problems, but we’re not always empowered to solve them. We’re not always taught that our ideas are valid hierarchically, regardless of gender. We’re not taught that we have the power or the freedom to make suggestions, to solve problems. And yet those are the people that are successful is people that can find solutions, articulate solutions, bring solutions forward, that ownership over a solution that ownership over problem solving. Even if you don’t have the right answer, at least a couple of places to start can be so powerful at home at work, wherever.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (46:27):
Absolutely. Kate, this has been a very enlightening conversation. Like I said, again, therapy is good for everybody.
Before we go, we are collecting advice from all of the wonderful women who come on to this podcast with us, to share with our communities. And so we have three rapid-fire questions for you. So, the first question is, is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you had learned earlier in your career?
Kate Snyder (46:57):
You can balance what you want and need with what other people want need
Julie Holton (47:04):
From the lessons that you’ve learned, what advice would you offer to other women?
Kate Snyder (47:07):
Breathe. We don’t have to react to everything. We don’t have to solve everything. We don’t have to take ownership over everything. Time, not only heals wounds, but it gives us perspective and space. And so take that time to breathe before you act or react.
Audrea Fink (47:29):
In today’s professional setting, what do you think is the most important skill for a woman to have?
Kate Snyder (47:35):
Julie Holton (47:36):
Kate, this has been such a great conversation for those that want to connect with you following the podcast. What is the best way to get ahold of you?
Kate Snyder (47:45):
Piper and Gold is on all the socials. I’m Piper gold, Kate on a lot of the socials. It’s always the easiest way to connect.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (47:55):
Gold. G O L D or G O U L D
Kate Snyder (47:58):
G O L D as in the highly stable and valuable substance.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (48:04):
And there you have it. Thank you so much for joining us. Stay Kate, that will do it for this episode.
Audrea Fink (48:13):
If you have topics you’d like us to cover or guests, you’d like to hear from send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to the think tank of three, wherever you listen to podcasts and connect with us online. We
Julie Holton (48:27):
Follow us on social media. You can find us individually on LinkedIn and a think tank of three on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook women click to join our private group on Facebook, where we can all share advice and articles.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris (48:40):
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