Family, WooCommerce, and women in the workplace

It has been almost a week since I wrote a post! This is unlike me. Usually I’m bursting at the seams with things to say. Lots of things have happened this week too but for some reason I just haven’t felt like writing.

Dad left last Monday which was sad. We all enjoyed having him around. Daniel had said earlier in the week, “I like having Granddad here. How much longer will he live?”. I think Granddad can take that as a compliment. This is one of the downsides of living far away from family: we only get to see them every now and again.

Then on Tuesday there was some big, big news at work. Automattic, the company I work for, acquired WooCommerce. The atmosphere at work has been one of jubilation and excitement. Suddenly there were lots of new faces around. It felt a bit like a large gathering at a children’s birthday party. Matt’s announcement post about it is here:

The acquisition was a friendly one and one that both companies entered into voluntarily. The culture of both companies is very similar in that we each have a distributed work force with a passion for open source software. There won’t be any major changes on either side except for some intermixing of staff. This will be entirely voluntary too.

Welcome WooCommerce!

Automattic is a good place to work. I get to choose my hours, I have a lot of autonomy around how I do my job, my team mates are wonderful, and we have lots of great perks. One perk that I’ve just recently discovered is that we get a 2-3 month sabbatical every five years if we want. Not many work places have this. I am coming up to my first year at Automattic and it has flown by. On June 6th I will have been with the company for one year and it has been a good year.

It’s good to be a woman at Automattic. There’s a very respectful atmosphere and being able to work from home makes it much easier to juggle work and family commitments. Employers may wonder how to make themselves attractive workplaces for women but it’s really very easy: allow flexible working hours, introduce maternity/paternity leave, and allow staff to work remotely. Many women who are mothers, myself included, want to be able to drop and collect their children from school. This allows me to talk to the teacher, to meet other parents, and to see my child interact with other children as they arrive at school and when they leave. It sounds like a small thing but it’s important to me.

Elizabeth has chicken pox now. Last night she complained of a headache and we thought she might wake up with spots and she has three or four now. As she was falling asleep she told me she’d like to have breakfast in bed in the morning. And a glass of water. And the iPad. And toast with marmite cut into triangles. Talk about milking it!

16 responses to “Family, WooCommerce, and women in the workplace”

    • Thanks, Chait. Yes, lots of good news and the week has flown by ๐Ÿ™‚

      I wanted to visit a castle again this weekend but we probably can’t go anywhere now that Elizabeth is unwell. We’ll see how she is tomorrow.

  1. Aw, she may as well milk it now. I remember the scratchy phase that comes later and that’s no fun at all! Hope she feels better soon.

    Glad you’ve got a happy, flexible workplace, makes such a difference.

    • I agree that a flexible workplace makes a huge difference. If only more workplaces offered this kind of environment. That and part-time work.

      So far there’s no scratching. I hope she has it as mild as Daniel did.

  2. Mumsnet has just launched a Job search section, where people advertise family friendly jobs. It is very frustrating that we haven’t sorted this aspect of society out yet, and I think it has a big knock on effect regarding our (mainly women’s) happiness and satisfaction.
    It doesn’t seem like almost a week – you and I must be so busy we didn’t notice the time fly!

    • Yeah, I am so busy at the moment and this does seem to make time fly by.

      I’m pleased to hear that about Mumsnet. That’s great. It does have a huge impact on quality of life. I don’t want to stick my kids in after school care and they, Daniel in particular, would really hate it.

      • I think you’ve done really well at keeping a sense of your identity. I think the lack of career that having young children sometimes entails can make women really insecure. Or it’s the quality of life thing, as you say, and women end up feeling guilty all the time about after school care.

      • It’s a tricky balance managing paid employment and kids. I don’t even like saying career for some reason as I don’t really think of myself as having a career. I enjoyed staying at home with my kids for those early years and I’m enjoying full time work now. I think I’ve had the best of both worlds.

  3. These privileges you talk about, when the workplace allows you see your kids instead of being stuck in the office should exist for all. I’m sure there are dads who want to drop their children at school and talk to the teacher. If this will be extended to all, it’ll help us get rid of the idea that motherhood is a role very women must fulfill and the father is always distant.

    • Yes, I completely agree. My husband and I usually both drop our kids off at school. So it’s not that it’s just a task that someone has to do, it’s something that we both want to do.

  4. It is hard seeing family in chunks only every now and then, but fortunately skype etc helps everyone keep in touch in between. At least your kids are old enough to remember your Dad’s visit. ๐Ÿ™‚
    You do have an ideal job, and what you said about seeing your kids at school is very important. I hope Elizabeth feels better soon. It’s very good to catch these childhood diseases when still a child, as you are very sick as an adult!

    • I had chicken pox as a 16-year-old and it was awful. Daniel’s version was very mild and I’m hoping Elizabeth’s will be the same.

      Modern technology has made it much easier to stay in contact with loved ones which is great.

      • My eldest daughter caught chicken pox at play school when she was 4 1/2. She had 4 spots on her entire body. She gave it to her sister, age 1 1/2, who had 100 spots on her face alone – on her ears, eyes and in her mouth! Apparently the older one gets a passing infection, but the younger one is bombarded by constant virus germs, hence the worse reaction. Still much better to get when still a child! My sister was hospitalised when she caught it at 20! – rather like you at 16.

  5. I hope Elizabeth doesn’t get too uncomfortable. Have you every had chicken pox or been vaccinated?

  6. Oh poor Elizabeth. I don’t blame her for milking it (and so glad to know she likes marmite!), but hope she is feeling not too bad. Sorry you’ve been sad about your dad leaving, hope you get to see him again before too long. I remember those days when I lived in California and my mum left after her visits. I cried for days. Sending you a big hug…

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