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Employee Stories: How Care Benefits Shaped My Career as a Working Mom

Posted by Lynne Satlof-Karas on 8 Aug 2017

Care@Work Employee Blog Series featuring Lynne Satlof-Karas

I had my first child while working at my first job - as a buyer for Filene's in Boston. My husband and I had recently moved to Massachusetts as newlyweds, away from most of our family and close friends.  We researched and eventually settled on a nearby day care.  I was the first woman in my office to return to work after having a child.  

Then, the first virus arrived. I got the dreaded phone call: my 8-month old son had come down with a fever and I needed to pick him up from daycare. Like most care facilities, they had a 24-hour fever-free policy so I knew he would not be able to return the next day. My husband was traveling for work, I had no family support options, and I couldn’t call in sick.  I needed an alternate plan - quick.

I remembered an ad I had seen in the Boston Parents Paper for a company called Parents in a Pinch.  I took a chance, called, and had a certified, caring nanny in place for my son the next day.  While I had to scramble to arrange and pay for my child’s care at the time, I’ll never forget the feeling knowing he would be in good hands - and knowing that I could be present at work the next day.    

Part of the solution
Years later, I went on to work for Parents in a Pinch, where employer-sponsored backup care - forward-thinking and cutting-edge at the time - was a formal part of my benefits package.  Throughout my 12-year tenure, there were countless times when I utilized it for my three children.  In 2013, I joined the Care@Work team when Parents in a Pinch was acquired by Care.com

Caring for the ones who cared for me
Eventually, it was my parents’ turn to relocate to Massachusetts. They said goodbye to their established communities and support systems, and started the next phase of life. My Mom is handicapped and my Dad has been her primary caregiver for years.

Lynne Satlof-Karas with her father, MelvinNot long after they arrived in Massachusetts, my Dad became ill and it was clear they needed a helping hand.  The caregiving responsibilities in the family transitioned to me.  I couldn't do it alone - especially with the demands of my own family and professional commitments.  I started to use Adult Backup Care to help my parents get through this rough patch.  The caregivers would arrive at their home to provide whatever household help we needed (meal prep, laundry, errands, etc.), until my Dad was back up on his feet again.  The support, comfort and peace of mind this benefit offered all of us was priceless. 

This year, I've used the Care@Work Senior Care Planning benefit to help our family find, vet and hire a Geriatric Care Manager from an agency to help manage my parents' care plans and doctors appointments. I know they're in good hands and getting where they need to be throughout the day - safely and on time. 

Furry family members - and helping to launch a business
In our house, our pets are family.  After the acquisition, we moved offices and I no longer had that perfect window of time to run home at lunch to walk and feed the dog. We needed to come up with a new solution. 

lynne_mookie_cropped-1.jpgI used the Care.com Premium Digital Membership offered by Care@Work to post an ad for a dog walker.  The process was easy: I posted an ad on Care.com, received several responses, selected one of the matched applicants and checked her references.  She was fantastic - lived right near our home, was great with our dog, Mookie, and has continued to help out for over four years.  It was exciting to watch how large a role Care.com played in the growth of her business.  "The Daily Stroll" boomed and she went on to purchase two brick and mortar pet-care stores. 

Busting the myth of the master holiday host
I have a large extended family. One of our most valued traditions is to come together for big, food-filled celebrations during the holidays. These gatherings are high-maintenance and always a big production – and tons of work. With the prepping, cooking and hosting responsibilities, I barely had time to enjoy my company.  I've since turned to my Care.com membership to secure additional help in the kitchen. The support from my helper at these gatherings allows me to enjoy the memories I'm making with my family so much more.

Lynne Satlof-Karas - Family gathering

It’s made a difference every step of the way
I think about the enormous difference care benefits have made in my personal and professional life – and the impact they’d had on the lives of each of my family members. I’ve felt empowered by the choices these benefits have given me – choices that have enabled me to care for my entire family each step of the way, while fostering my career at every stage.

Today, I manage relationships with many Care@Work clients. Every day they share stories with me of the ways these benefits have impacted their employees' lives.  My work is a constant reminder of the many ways all our lives call out for care.  I'm grateful to have had the support to help me respond to that call. 

Lynne Satlof-Karas is the Director of Educational Services at Care@Work by Care.com, where she helps clients meet the diverse, full-spectrum care needs of their employees.  Lynne’s previous roles include serving as Director of Corporate Services for Parents in a Pinch, as well as a Buyer for Filene’s Department Stores.  Active in the community, Lynne has served as a Board Member for the Boston Chapter of Hadassah, in addition to serving as President of the Board of Hillel – UMass Amherst. A mother of three, Lynne lives in Newton with her husband, Steven, and dog, Mookie.  

This post is part of a series authored by Care.com employees, where they share firsthand experiences using Care@Work benefits, and reflect on the impact it’s made on their personal and professional lives.

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