WHO SHE IS: Alexandra Eidenberg, former Congressional candidate, owner of The Insurance People, founder of Mom + Baby, Women’s Rights Activist
SUCCESS STORY: Mom of two (soon to be three), wife and small business owner running Mom+Baby, a nonprofit organization fighting for the rights of women and children I started after a run for Congress
WORK SCHEDULE: Officially M W F 9:30 am – 5 pm, but unofficially always working!
KIDS: Identical twins (18-month-old girls), and another brewing due March 2015
SANITY VICE: Push Ups, good food, even better Scotch, and more importantly, girlfriends that support and believe in me
RECENT SMART READ: Women’s Day and Family Circle. I am huge on magazines with short articles, home tips and recipes. These mags have it all!
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Cheat. Asking for help never hurt anyone, so outsource your list. Our nanny does all the laundry, sweeps the entire home and coordinates our bedding changes. My husband does the vacuuming, lawn and garbage. If everyone has a job, then together it gets done. Letting go and not doing it all is the best time manager. Also, get off Facebook — it is a bad time suck.
GO-TO TECH: I am not a big tech person. When in doubt I go low tech. I love doing arts and crafts with the kids. My go-to is the basics – plastic containers, pipe cleaners, chairs with blankets over them and exclusive time with the kids. When it comes to me using technology I appreciate a good CRM and CardScan to make my business life easier.
BETTER WAY TO SAY WORK-LIFE BALANCE? I do not believe in work-life balance. I believe in a well blended life. Life is about spending exclusive time on the things we love – career, kids, hubby, mom, etc. Spending time on the things I love is about giving them my all. The kids do not need me on my cell at the park, my clients do not need me checking email and my husband does not need me on my computer at the movies. Life is short, dive deeper.
5 Questions for Alexandra:
1. While you were running for Congress in 2013 you found out you were pregnant with twins. You finished the campaign, but it sounds like many people thought you shouldn’t finish the race. Is that accurate?
People, mostly women, figured I would give up the campaign. There was the assumption that I would opt out of running for office because I was pregnant, and again after I had the kids there was another wave of waiting for me to opt out. I am opted in and all I ask is that people support me opting in.
2. You didn’t win but you took what you learned and funneled it into legislation in Illinois on behalf of women. Can you tell us about some of the efforts you’re championing at the political level?
I play to win and was not pleased that I lost the election. I had to continue the fight and channel my energy into the things I care most about: women, children and small business. I started a non-profit called Mom+Baby that supports women and children online, in person and on the hill. Ultimately we are a lobbying organization. We testified and helped pass HB8 (pregnancy accommodation) law. This law makes pregnant women a protected class under the Human Rights Act of Illinois so they can access needed accommodations in the workplace. Mom+Baby has several more bills being heard this coming session: a bill to give working women a tax credit for their discrepancy in earnings to men, another to make preschool available and free for all Illinois children, another to modify the childcare tax credit allowing for more families to access the credit, and a fan favorite to give paid maternity leave to all working women in Illinois for 3 months.
3. You’re pregnant with your third baby. What is this inspiring you to do next?
Pregnancy is not inspiring me to do anything but hate being pregnant. I know some women are all fuzzy about pregnancy. I think pregnancy is lousy. It is a means to an end and a burden I wish my husband could bear. We want a big family, so I am stuck getting fat and cranky for the cause.
4. What are you doing to “work smarter” these days?
Being a mom helps me purge the bologna. I take on the right clients, I do the best activities and I enjoy every moment. If it is not a 100% yes then it is a no. I do not live with regret on “yeses” that I knew were “no’s.”
5. What is the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?
The media talks about balancing work and home life when it comes to moms and those questions never come up when they talk about working dads. I feel stereotyped as a woman that needs balance whereas men just get to be themselves, dad or not.
5+. Given what you have learned about the legislative process, what one step would you like to tell every woman who is reading this about she can affect change in her own neighborhood/city/state? Your voice matters. Let it be heard. Call your local legislators and tell them what you want and then ask how you can help. More importantly VOTE. Voting is the #1 key to making an impact and having a voice.
Follow Alexandra at @ACEidenberg or at alexandraeidenberg.com.