Happy Mother’s Day! Letter from the Founders



When Gina and I launched The Second Shift in 2015 we were told by an advisor who is also a prominent public relations executive that the word “mom” was toxic and would undermine the talent and experience of the women we were trying to help. Basically, the inherent bias against working mothers in corporate America was so strong that even presenting their outstanding resumes would not counteract the prejudice of hiring managers. We were shocked, but not surprised.


What’s very exciting to us in this moment is how far the conversation has come in the past year.  If we can say nothing else positive about 2020, we have COVID-19 to thank for shifting the narrative around the idea of working parents and “moms.” I guess it just takes a global pandemic to really highlight the stark realities of working parents, expose the fault lines and inequities, and force a national reckoning.


Since March 2020, an estimated 1.5 million women have left the workforce– numbers not seen since the 1980s and a huge hit for closing the gender pay gap. Some women were kicked out when jobs were cut, others left because of holes in our social safety net– access to paid leave, affordable child care and the stress of managing remote school. We’ve seen these statistics play out in our own Second Shift membership as women raced to find work in March 2020 only to put aside career ambitions as the pressure of family obligations became too much to balance. Today  1 in 4 women in the US are thinking of downshifting their career trajectories because of burn out.


COVID-19 was like a sucker punch to working mothers. However, as we approach the end of the school year and the economy is poised to roar back to life, there is a light at the end of the tunnel–“mom” is all over the place in the news and cultural conversation and this time we won’t be ignored or  diminished! Everyone has had to deal with the reality of what it means to be a working parent; even if you don’t have kids you’ve seen the effect it’s had on co-workers and understand the complexities and burdens in a way that you may not have otherwise. Who has not seen a child march into a Zoom meeting and demand snacks or had to meet a deadline on a call from the carpool line?


We are enthusiastic about the way companies have learned (or been forced)  to accommodate and provide services for their employees whether it is hybrid work schedules, access to mental health professionals or reimbursing childcare expenses. In fact 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been a success for business, even if they don’t intend to keep a fully remote workplace schedule. They all know that talent is going to win and things are not going back to the way they were pre-COVID.  Remember just a short 18 months ago pretending that you had a doctors appointment to attend a parent teacher conference? Employees are now emboldened to ask for what they need and don’t feel the need to hide their parenthood for fear that it will detract or undermine their careers. 


The embrace by the Biden administration of care as a fundamental structure for working parents, from early childhood to elder care, is a recognition of the dire need for women to get back into the workforce and the impossibility of getting back what we’ve lost without a national strategy that includes large-scale funding and assistance. We are proud to work with various organizations who are currently helping to shape policies that will have lasting impact on women today and for future generations to come.  


The Second Shift continues to work hard to keep women in the talent pipeline and to fight for gender equality in leadership and pay. We are grateful for our community and thank you for putting your trust in us over the last year. We look forward to seizing this opportunity for all women! 


Happy Mother’s Day!


Jenny and Gina

The Pandemic is Driving Women Out of Work



Pleased to share a wonderful article in The 19th News (a wonderful media platform focused on women and politics) about how this pandemic is overwhelming working mothers and forcing them to make really tough choices about balancing work and childcare (if they are fortunate to have choices). Our co-founder Jenny was quoted as a representative of the women in our member community:

“Jenny Galluzzo, co-founder of the Second Shift, a platform that matches professional women with freelance and consulting projects, said the site has seen four times as many applicants since February as women try to make up lost work hours with part-time consulting work.

Beyond that, most women tell her they’re just waiting.

“You can’t plan ahead in any concrete way. And that stress manifests itself because you don’t know how to interact with the workforce. If you’re out looking for a job, how can you know what job to take because you don’t know in two months what your kids’ school situation will be?” Galluzzo said. “I worry for women because we’re taking an undue burden of all of the care and the invisible labor. I worry about all the strides we’ve made just being set back.”


One of our members, Mara Geronemus, a working mother of  3 young children and wife of a front-line doctor, is also featured because  the weight of her work and responsibilities forced her to turn down clients and take a step back right when her practice was taking off. It’s a relatable story and one that really captures the anxiety, stress, helplessness and disappointment many of us feel right now.

On the positive side, Jenny sees a silver lining if we can just hold our breath and make it to the other side…

“In many ways, though, coronavirus has served as a magnifying glass, bringing into sharper focus issues like child care that have long been ignored — and employers are responding. Companies that once resisted flexible work set-ups, and particularly remote work, are starting to embrace the idea. 

“We have been fighting for the ability for women to work remotely and flexibly for years. It’s the number one thing women want for employment and companies have now been forced to see that that model works,” said Galluzzo, from the Second Shift. “And when the economy comes back and jobs are more plentiful and our kids are in school, I see this as ultimately a benefit because you don’t have to convince people any longer that [flexibility and being remote] works.”


The Juggle: Nell Diamond

The Juggler: Nell Diamond, Founder and CEO of Hill House Home, a New York based direct-to-consumer home and lifestyle business.


ON MORNINGS: My morning always changes depending on what time I set my alarm. Henry usually wakes up somewhere in the 7 o’clock hour, which is great. When he was a newborn, he woke up at the 5 o’clock hour, and that was not great. There’s a huge difference between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock hour. Our nanny comes around eight thirty, so usually, either Teddy or I will work out in the morning, or we’ll all have breakfast together as a family. Henry really likes to make his own smoothie in the morning, with our supervision. Then, at eight thirty, usually depending on whether Henry has a long way to get dressed or not, I will walk to work through Washington Square Park which is my favorite part of the day. It’s so nice.


ON SYSTEMS: I love calendar invites. I think it’s the way to do things. Teddy and I definitely send each other a ton of calendar invites for things we’re doing, including when we’ll be gone for work. Like, lately, Teddy has to be in D.C. a lot for work, so I’ll get a calendar request that I can see on my calendar, reminding me that he’s gone before it actually happens. Other than that, I definitely look at my calendar every night, so that in the morning I’m not surprised by anything. I don’t have to wake up and remember that I have something big that day.


I really like the Gmail snooze feature, too. I’ve been using it a lot. So, I use my inbox basically as a to-do list. If it’s in my inbox that means I have to do it. And I hate at the end of the day when I have all of these things left in there that I can’t actually take action on. So if there’s an email that I need to have an internal meeting before I respond to, I’ll snooze it until the day of that meeting, so that I will get to it then, but I don’t have to take up my mental space thinking about it now when there’s nothing I can do about it. Because there are a ton of emails all the time that I can’t act on right away without doing other things, so that’s been really big for me is to snooze emails because I still get through the ones that I get through.


And then I really try to always respond to emails that I can respond to in less than a minute. So if the response takes less than a minute, just do it right now.


ON BACKUP PLANS: I have a really amazing built-in backup plan: my parents live here. So, there’s definitely been quite a few occasions where I’ve totally misscheduled something and forgotten that both Teddy and I will be at a late meeting until seven thirty or something, and my mom has definitely stepped in. I’ve gotten better at that. I try to look in advance a little bit and know when something is going to be out of the ordinary—that’s where it helps to have a real routine so that I’m not always being surprised and having to recalibrate all the time.


ON COUNTING STEPS: I walk home from work which is a really nice wind down time. I track my steps kind of obsessively. So, I use my Fitbit. I try to get 10k a day, which Teddy laughs at because he’s a crazy marathoner so if he goes outside, he gets ten thousand, whereas for me, it’s a journey. I have to be on an epic odyssey to get ten thousand, but I do it. I do it every day.


ON ME TIME: At night, I really love to read. I love fiction, so I try to read a little bit, even if it’s just five pages. During the week, I find it really hard to be social and then spend a whole day at work the next day, so we try to keep weekday social or work events to a minimum because it’s just hard to recalibrate the next morning.


ON DREAD: I dread being late for work and having to take a cab. I hate it, it starts my whole day off wrong. I hate the feeling of being late, in general.


ON A FIVE-YEAR PLAN: As a business, what we’re really hoping is to re-define modern womanhood. And to kind of allow women to consider things like, what color pink piping goes best with the monogram on my bed at the same time as they’re considering what valuation they should give their business, and how much equity they should give away. And we don’t believe that those two things are mutually exclusive and we do believe that this kind of group of women that have become our customers contain multitudes. We want to allow them the space to be all of those things at once, and never the same thing twice. We’re really proud of the community that we’re building, and we’re also proud of how our products speak for themselves, and allow women to speak for themselves at the same time.



The Juggle: Lisa Gersh




HER JOB: Member of the Board Hasbro, Establishment Labs, Popsugar and The Second Shift


NUMBER OF KIDS: Two daughters age 22 and 28.  


ON LIFE STAGES: So much depends on your stage of life. Right? There’s one stage where your kids are little, and they’re in school, and you’re working, and going back-and-forth, and trying to figure it all out. That stage is pretty defined. I think it’s more defined than other stages where, you are really busy and you don’t have kids in your life and you’re trying to figure out how to organize with your spouse, and your job, and his job. Maybe it’s just the grass is greener on the other side. But when you look back and say, How did I get through that period of time when I had little kids and a job? I think you get through it by going to work, and coming home, and being with your kids. And that’s pretty much what I always did.


ON PUSHBACK: I got the most pushback from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t necessarily committed to going back to work right away. After I had her, I really wanted to be home. I think I made that clear to her, and I ended up getting more pushback. But, when my second child was born, work was not a question, it was just something that was part of her life. She was born in February, and I went back quickly, and then took time over the summer to be with her.


But I did get pushback from her about why. So I think it’s important to talk to your children about what you do. You want them to know that you love what you do, because if you don’t love what you do, why are you leaving them every day? 


ON THE DAYS BEFORE SMART PHONES AND AMAZON: I remember with Maddie, I got asked to be the first grade mom; this was a real challenge because there was no internet, no email. I’m the first grade mom; how am I communicating with all these mothers with no email? I would literally write a memo, have it printed, and send it to school for them to give them out. It’s crazy to think about it, but there was no easy way to communicate with the group. So, obviously, that part was a lot harder.


I also think about the fact that, when I was a lawyer in the beginning, you couldn’t go home and work on a document because that’s not how it worked. There was a word processing center at the law firm and you stayed until the document was done. That said, today it’s really hard for working moms to disconnect; they think they’re disconnected and they think their kids don’t know, but their kids know.


One time, I was at one of Samantha’s soccer games—I drove all the way to Staten Island from New York City to go watch her play—and I said, Oh wow, Sammy, that was a great game. And she said, How would you know? You were on your phone the whole time. You don’t even think they’re watching you, but they’re watching you every minute. She’s in the middle of a soccer game and she knows I’m not watching.


ON SUPPORT SYSTEMS: My mother was quite available when my children were younger. She lives in New York City and would come over a lot and put the kids to bed if I was stuck in the word processing center. I had a babysitter, too, who, if I was stuck, would stay late. My children’s dad was more traditional and thought it was my job and that he didn’t really have to make any commitments. On the other hand, when he was around, he was fantastic. So there was a healthy balance of parents. But I think you have to rely on your family a lot. When people who have kids tell me they are moving away from their parents, I’m like, don’t do it. You’re going to want them.


ON THE SANCTITY OF TIME: You really have to prioritize because things just get away from you otherwise. So, I always hate doing anything on Sunday nights; I like to take Sunday nights and make sure my week is completely organized, and that everything I’m spending time on is something that’s important to me and that’s going to make a difference.


The biggest luxury today is time. And I hate wasting it. I’m trying really hard to not be a slave to email. And what I mean by that is not letting someone else control your life by shooting you email. Because if you’re a compulsive-type, like I am, and feel the need to empty your email box all the time, then you can spend your life doing that, and not doing the things that are really going to make a difference.


The other thing that’s important to me at the beginning of the week is to make sure my workouts are organized so I know which days I’m doing what. That’s on the top of my list because I need to work out in the morning and if I don’t organize that like a week in advance then that doesn’t happen. 


ON BEING SUPERMOM: It took me a while to figure out that there were going to be situations where I wasn’t going to be supermom, and I had to try to give myself a break about it. It’s just a moment in time, and then it’s the next moment. If you prioritize and you enjoy being with your children, you’re going to find that time again. It’s not about, did I do it every single day; it’s cumulative: Was I able to be there for my children? It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s a life. 


Read about how Lisa combats the “Sunday scaries” as part of our Juggle partnership with PureWow!


The Juggle: Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff is the founder of a hugely popular and successful fashion company, an activist for women’s causes, a wife, the mother of 3 young children, and most recently the creator of the Female Founder Collective.

She always seems to be everywhere, doing everything with grace, enthusiasm and style.  Here she shares her tips and tricks and fails for trying to juggle it all!


On Scheduling: Every Sunday, Gavin and I review our calendars for the week, and we decide who’s taking which child where; we usually split it up, and then the other one of us works out. So no matter what, we’re both getting up at like 7:15, and taking a child to school, and then the other one who takes the other child also has to hang back with the baby until our nanny comes at nine. Our nanny leaves every day around 6:45 because I leave the office at six, unless I’m going to an after-work thing, in which case we get a sitter or more often than not it’s part of those Sunday meetings. There’s a, what do you have that’s late, what do I have that’s late, and for the most part, we can usually make it work that one of us is home.


Our scheduling was very fluid until I asked him to do something and he’s like, “But you’re the one that does that!” And I was like, “Oh, I am?” So, if I had to dissect it, he’s very much all about the school stuff, and I’m all extracurricular and travel.


On Household Tasks: Whoever gets to InstaCart or FreshDirect first will do the grocery shopping. As far as laundry, thank god our nanny does it because that would definitely not get done otherwise. And she does light cleaning, too, because she just has the baby during the day, so that makes it a lot easier.


We put everything on automatic bill-pay, so there’s nothing to pay. It just is. And we try to put as much on an AmEx as possible, and then just get miles, so when we travel, the kids can live on miles.


On Saying No; Saying no is hanging out with friends and having romantic date nights. Those things suffer. It used to be that I’d be like, “Oh, come with me to the work event, it’ll be like we’re on a date!” And even that’s stopped. We close at 3:00 on Fridays, so one idea I had that worked for two solid weeks was to meet at 4, and hang out as a couple from 4 to 6. That happened twice.


On Prioritizing: In terms of the business, it was my brother who pointed out that you can’t do all this well. Not in a mean way, but either you’re in the back and you’re in the back or you’re in the front, meaning, if you’re gonna in the back, that’s a 60-hour-a-week job that requires all of your attention to run a team of 18 in eight categories; that leaves no time for traveling to stores, doing social, having the high-level meetings with partners, being out and about, hosting events at your stores. I tried for many years to do both and it was impossible. Because I’d be on the road and they’d be like, “We’re waiting for Rebecca to approve the Pantone or the leather but she’s in California at some show.” So, it was like, which one do you want to do? And if we’re not being selfish, and doing what’s best for the business, it’s probably that you’re forward. Because people relate the brand back to me. 


On List Making: I’m very much a writer and checker-offer of lists. I review the list every day and, as they get longer and longer, I prioritize them into urgent, pending, nice to do, so I’m constantly just looking at what’s top priority, what will move the needle faster, and then that’s how I approach planning my week and day. But lately, I’m not going to lie, I have sixteen lists in different pockets. I also organize them by subject, so if I really have enough time on my hands, it’ll be like, this is the FFC list, this is the Super Women list, this is the Rebecca Minkoff list, and then I separate each one of those into urgent, pending, nice-to-do. Sometimes I think people can get lost in thinking everything is urgent. And I’m like, it’s actually not all urgent. You need to prioritize, and figure out what actually moves the needle, and what’s just nice and not going to do anything.


On Email: I try and return every email, even if it’s a week late. It used to be like, oh, I’ve got to write back today, and then I was like, actually, I don’t! Unless it’s urgent. On weekends, I used to get sucked into thinking I’ve got to write back to everybody, and then I thought, actually, let me try not doing that and see what happens, and I found that if I get back to people Monday, it’s actually okay.


On Travel: These last two weeks, I was gone for four days, home for three days, and then gone for four days, and that did not go well. My daughter was crying every day at school, and the teachers actually said something to me. That’s the first time it’s been that severe. It was also the first time I’ve ever been gone for almost two weeks in a row, so I think that took a toll. I would love to be different, like, “Mommy gets to go here!” But instead I’m like, “I have to go, and I know that sucks for you, but I make money and that’s how I pay for things you like.” And they can kind of understand, but I’m definitely not able to set that example yet of “I am lucky!”


Depending on how long I’m gone for, the nanny will sometimes come earlier to help out with school. And then we have a sitter that’ll help out. Like, this week, my husband had to work late on two nights, so we had a sitter come for those nights, so we don’t tax the nanny who has to come earlier. And then I do the same for him when he’s traveling. He’s about to leave for ten days, and thank God the timing wasn’t at the same time, so then I know I’m going to have the babysitter help out at night if I have to work late, and the nanny will come a little earlier. Not much, she’ll come ten minutes earlier, but still, it makes a difference.


On Decompressing: I used to keep doing my emails on the subway, and then the whole walk home, and then I would attempt to put my phone away. But the last few months, I turned off all notifications on my phone, so no news, no nothing, which helps so much. Now, I’ll do as many emails as I can get to on my phone, and then the minute I’m at a subway, I actually look at humans as I walk down the street, and it’s a seven minute walk. I don’t look at my phone unless there’s something urgent going on, and I think that has enabled me to go from the office to seven minutes of myself to being home, and not thinking about all my replies and all the work shit, so when I get home, I’m present. And I’m not checking my phone at home until the kids go to bed, and again, it has to be something urgent going on.


What happens at night is, I put the baby down, and my husband will put the other two to bed. We did not sleep train the baby, not because we didn’t want to, but we were weak! So, I nurse the baby to sleep, and my husband puts the big ones down. He usually finishes before me. And I’ll get up and immediately get ready for bed. I’ll go, “I love you, you’re awesome, goodnight!” And I’ll go to sleep. His time is, he loves his shows that he watches or whatever, so he’ll sit on the couch for another two hours and decompress that way. I would like to join him, because we like watching TV and shows together, but I just can’t right now. Until this baby sleeps through the night, I’m useless after 10.


The Juggle: Eden Eats!


THE JUGGLER: Eden Grinshpan

HER JOB:  Host of Top Chef Canada and cookbook author. 

MARRIED FOR: 6 years

NUMBER OF KIDS: One, age 2 


On The Morning Tag-Team: Every morning, we wait until the baby wakes up—obviously. Recently, she’s been waking up later, which is amazing, but, also, then we’re like really fucking rushing out the door. We wake up at around 7:30 and then either Ido or I will go and get the baby; we’ll all play in bed a little bit, and then one of us will go and make breakfast and lunch. Sometimes it’s the both of us while we’re drinking coffee. Then we’ll get Avy’s lunch box together and Ido will take her to school because it’s on the way to work for him. And then I … honestly, it really depends, I have so many different kinds of jobs right now and it’s been like that for the last couple of years; when you’re in this industry, you’re always doing new projects, so right now I’m working on my first cookbook that comes out fall 2020. So, either my assistants will come over and we’ll make a list of all the ingredients we’ll need for the day, and then one of them will go out and shop and we’ll start cooking. Or, I’ll go take some meetings, or I’ll go to Dez for lunch service. It really does change every day.


On Childcare: Avy’s in daycare and she finishes around 3:30 PM. If I’m available, I’ll go and get her, but I also have a nanny who picks her up when I’m not, and she is with her until the end of the day. I am usually home at around 7 or so. I like to be there to put her down every night for bed, and to have a couple hours at the end of the day (and at the beginning) to be together and to play and to have our time as a family.


On 50/50: Honestly, it’s so tough because sometimes I need to travel for work and I am also the host of Top Chef Canada so if I’m working, Ido steps in and has to do everything else. Right now, I am working from home, so I have more flexibility. Because I’m grocery shopping for the book, I tend to do more of the grocery shopping. To be honest, I probably do more laundry, too, and he does more signing up. Stuff like that. “Babe, can you just sign the baby up?” But honest to God, if Ido was at home and I was out, he would take on those household roles too. We really split things up.


On Building A Team: We have a nanny that we love and over the last couple years we have been able to just accumulate a group of really great nannies so if one can’t do something, then, hopefully, another one can. And if that’s not the case, either Ido or I just has to maybe turn something down, and step in, because, unfortunately for us, we don’t live in the same country as our parents. So we can’t rely on Bubby to come and watch the baby last minute. But we also have a group of incredible friends and they’ve been a great resource for me. Like, last month, I had an event that I was contractually obligated to go to. Ido was out of town and I was home alone and my babysitter couldn’t come in. And it was like one of those moments where you’re like, what the fuck? So, I just called one of my closest friends and she and her husband brought their newborn to my house and watched my daughter for me. I feel very lucky to have such amazing people around me here.


On Systems: My husband would love for us to be way more organized. He’s way more organized than I am. I am a scatterbrain and leave everything to the last minute. Poor guy. We communicate a lot through text because we’re both really busy throughout the day. And, on like a Sunday night, we’ll sit in bed and go through our week together, and make sure that if we need babysitters, we book the babysitters and any other extra help we need, and we just try to prioritize and plan so that everything is as seamless as possible.


On Asking For Help: The reason they say it takes a village is because it really takes a frickin’ village. Like, there are never enough hands! It took me a while to ask for help when Avy was born, and I wish it didn’t, because if I had taken more help in the earlier days, it just would have been easier for me. I made it more difficult for myself than I should have because I wanted to do everything by myself; it does not need to be that way. It doesn’t make you a better mom or whatever the hell that means. All it does is make you more stressed out because you feel like all of the weight is on your shoulders. So I’m all about taking the help where you can get it and just allowing as many people to take part in this journey with you. It shouldn’t just be the parents and the baby alone. It should be a community of people.