Our Journey in the Fair Play Documentary Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine

How Childhood and the Workforce Shaped Me

Since I was a child, I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I always knew I wanted professional fulfillment.  My first jobs as a kid were babysitting and running friendship bracelet and face painting businesses from my driveway; I have some of the best memories of the satisfaction both roles gave me since a young age.   Fast forward to attending The Ohio State University studying marketing at The Max M. Fisher College of Business, I hit the ground running as a young professional working in corporate America.  After seeing women at neighboring cubicles start families, I quickly learned that environment wouldn’t allow for work life integration the way I envisioned.

So that gave me the push I needed to find my own solution; to figure out my own path to be BOTH the professional and mom I wanted to be.  In 2009, social media marketing was the vehicle that made it possible.  Newly married, I pivoted into the world of self-employment and was able to be a freelance as a social media professional.  I built a boutique agency, Hay There Social Media, made of up an all-woman team – they were moms before I was – and we all worked from home before the days where it was acceptable for background noise on a conference call.

Helping Women Find Work Life Integration

Fast forward to 2019 and I knew my way to make an impact on the world and help exponentially more women was to teach them how to do what we do.  We didn’t know EVERY way to achieve work life integration, but as a team of moms, we certainly knew OUR way.   At Hay There Social Media, we took our experience and knowledge and packaged it into a flexible business in a box.  We teach women – primarily moms – a work life integration system they can tap into as a freelance social media manager.  It allows them to use their creativity, be professionally fulfilled through flexible work while living the mom life they want for themselves.

Becoming a Mom

During that decade, my husband, Niall, and I became parents which started my motherhood journey not too far after my entrepreneurial journey began.  As any mom knows, the beginning years are all so encompassing – the ultimate survival mode – and neither Niall nor I had local family to help.  But with the demands of Niall’s work and my tendency to think I can handle a superhuman workload, I realized I kept taking on more and more of the work it took to raise our babies and manage the house leaving me with little time to do anything else.

It was a very confusing time.  Professionally, I felt accomplished for having something that was flexible and gave me professional fulfillment.  But personally?  I had no idea how I had gotten where I was – and worse – I had no idea how to get out.  My personal operating system is wired to be proactive and always find the better way; however, Niall and I were in a complete reactive state.

Since I didn’t marry a neanderthal, I suppose I assumed Niall and I would be plenty capable of having a fair, proactive and team-based approach to the parenting roles and duties of managing a household.  But the opposite was true.  It was frustrating to be living a situation personally that I had not accepted professionally; one where things were done by default and without thought, not by intention and with clarity.   But we kept falling into the gendered division of labor and my resentment and confusion kept building.

How I Found Fair Play

As a believer in systems –I mean, I used systems to build my business and we teach systems to women everyday – I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a SYSTEM for us to run a household?  Why did we spend so much time learning about how to labor and breastfeed but ZERO time on learning the new dynamics we would face as a couple?  Doing so would have prevented so much discontent and would have prevented a lot of unnecessary suffering.

So in 2019, I finally learned about a better way.  It was when I read Fair Play by Eve Rodsky that for the first time, I was exposed to a “system” for our household that made good common sense and it gave me hope.

From there, I connected with Eve and her messages intensified my conviction that Fair Play was THE better way my household and my partnership could operate.   Like millions of women, I was drawn to the strength of her message about having more equity in the home.  She understood everything I have been experiencing and to me, she had ALL the answers.

I no longer felt lost but I still felt so far from the solution.  Eve opened my eyes to the fact that this wasn’t a problem I could fix on my own.   I’ll never forget following her advice in the book word for word about how to invite your partner to a conversation about the cards.  (SPOILER: You don’t simply get the Fair Play cards, divvy them up and call the division of invisible labor in your home “fair.”  I wish it were that easy.)

The Fair Play Documentary

Time went on and eventually Eve connected with both Niall and I; 11 years into our marriage and 6 years into parenthood.    As the pandemic began, were presented with one of the most unique and challenging opportunities of our lives; to showcase the good, the bad and the uncomfortable of our division of labor for the Fair Play Documentary as a way to bring awareness and a solution to the problem millions of couples face.

Now, two years later, we are thrilled to see this paramount project released through the production of Reese Witherspooon’s, Hello Sunshine, and under the direction of the acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder of The Representation Project.  This conversation is so important that has been championed by Eve Rodsky, and has been given so much depth through expert contributors in the Fair Play Documentary including Dr. C. Nicole Mason of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, U.S. Representative Katie Porter and so many more.

It has been such an incredible experience to work with Jennifer Siebel Newsom and expert storytellers like Molly Micallef and Gretchen Miller and to work with Fair Play leadership including Amanda Farrand and Erin Stover.  I’m grateful and humbled by the experts that have been fighting the societal forces against women for decades and am inspired by the leadership and accountability we are witnessing today.

I’m so thankful to Niall, my husband, for taking this journey with me, who by nature is a very private person.  He was willing to peel back layers even when it was uncomfortable and unpredictable.  He was willing to stare at parts of our life that in the moment, were much easier to ignore.  Niall showed me feelings that I can honestly say I may never have witnessed, if it weren’t for the documentary.  We simply wouldn’t have made the time to do so.

It goes without saying that this work of Eve Rodsky’s has resonated with me at my core both personally and professionally.  And like she says, “For women to step into their full power in the world, it requires men to step into their full power in the home.”

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