Empowering Women: Redefining Roles, Unveiling Equality, and the Transition from Stay-at-Home Mom to Working Mom with Lori Sugarman-Li | EU 2157 min read

April 1, 2024

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Do you feel frustrated by being the only one who’s doing housework? Are you trying to get your kids more involved in housekeeping and completing chores? How can families use honest and compassionate conversations as a powerful positive change-making tool?

In this episode, Lori Sugarman-Li shares her journey from a career in communications to becoming a coach, speaker, and author focusing on family dynamics. She discusses the systemic devaluation of unpaid work and the challenges families face in recognizing and valuing it. Lori emphasizes the importance of meaningful conversations and setting boundaries to strike a better balance between paid and unpaid work. She also highlights the transformative power of recognizing the value of unpaid work within families. Lori’s book, ‘Our Home, Our Pride,’ aims to spark family conversations and reframe the work of care as an act of love and gratitude.

Meet Lori Sugarman-Li

Lori Sugarman-Li believes deeply in the power of families and is a passionate voice in the cultural shift aiming to articulate the value and visibility of unpaid work. Her career as a Communications Strategist, combined with a decade devoted to full-time care of her family, community, and children’s charities worldwide, served as the inspirational backdrop for her professional relaunch as a Coach, Speaker, and Author. She is dedicated to fostering meaningful conversations within families, encouraging them to contemplate how they care for one another and their shared space. Lori, her husband, and two sons are Canadian-born and live steps from Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Connect with Lori Sugarman-Li on her website. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram


  • Being declined for insurance
  • Challenges families face with recognizing unpaid work
  • Finding the balance with work and personal fulfillment
  • Lori’s takeaway points for listeners

Being declined for insurance

Lori was a homemaker and handled the house and the family while her husband predominantly worked.

They agreed that she would take out disability insurance, because her husband valued her work as a stay-at-home mom and knew that insurance would be a good choice to invest in.

However, Lori’s application for insurance was declined because she wasn’t earning a salary.

When I questioned him as to why, he said, ‘Well, you don’t receive a salary, so if something happens to you, there’s not really a quantifiable loss” . It was such a bubble-bursting moment for me of the systemic devaluation of unpaid work, and the work of care. (Lori Sugarman-Li)

Any mother can tell you how much of a job it is.

Sure, you love your kids and family, but the intensity and amount of work that it takes to be a mother is immense, and having it be undervalued – or not valued at all – by society at large is painful, especially when in fact society depends on it.

Challenges families face with recognizing unpaid work

One of the biggest challenges that families face when it comes to the work that is done at home, usually by the mother or wife, is that this work is “invisible”.

If women are working, they usually do housework before or after the workday, or if they are mothers they do the work before or after managing the children.

No one is around to see the washing get done, dishes being washed, or clothes being laundered and packed away – yet it happens every day because the mothers and wives make sure of it.

So much of the work of care and the work of the home is mental and emotional as well, women are carrying it all inside, and so the reality is that it is invisible, so it’s so hard to understand the scope of it, which really is massive, and you need to understand the scope of it before you’re going to appreciate it and connect it to a value. (Lori Sugarman-Li)

Finding the balance between work and personal fulfillment

Lori encourages women to invite their families to regroup on values. Taking a minute to reflect with the family on how as a unit you are all moving through life is important.

Values within the family system are like north stars – if everyone knows about them and shares them, it can be easier to have conversations around what can be done differently to remain in their light.

Do we know what our values are, what our goals are, as a family? Are we aligned? Where are we not aligned? Also honor the fact that everyone in your family is wired slightly differently, right? So understanding and respecting that, and to say, “What do we want for ourselves?” and understanding what it’s going to take to get there, including all these beautiful tasks of home and care. (Lori Sugarman-Li)

Have some open and compassionate conversations with your family about caring for the home, for one another, and for the shared family goals that everyone is part of and has a hand in bringing around.

It’s not to shame or blame, but to include and collaboratively invite in.

Have these conversations now, especially with your boys and girls, to unlearn the gendered aspects of homework and homekeeping so that all kids grow up respecting and caring for their responsibilities.

Lori’s takeaway points for listeners

Lori’s children’s book is built on the dream that any family can take huge inspiration and action for positive change from having honest, compassionate, and accountable conversations.

Lori wants you and your family to reflect on the life that you are all contributing together, and on sharing the value – and privilege! – of being able to live together and care for one another.

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Meet Veronica Cisneros

As a leading authority in women’s empowerment and a fierce advocate for building strong networks, Veronica is your go-to guru for turning fears into victories, struggles into strengths, and doubts into boundless opportunities.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 10 plus years; empowering high-achieving women in business to conquer both professional heights and personal fulfillment. She doesn’t do bandaids!
Veronica has a unique approach to overcoming obstacles and smashing through the glass ceilings that loom over ambitious women. With her arsenal of practical tools, actionable strategies, and unwavering support, Veronica doesn’t just help women succeed in their careers – she helps them thrive in every facet of their lives.

But Veronica’s expertise isn’t just theoretical – it’s personal. With over 24 years of marriage, three daughters, and a soaring career, Veronica embodies the resilience and determination needed to navigate life’s challenges. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Group Private Practice Owner, of Outside The Norm Counseling, Marriage Coach, and the voice behind the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast, Veronica effortlessly guides women to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zones.

Veronica is more than an expert – she’s a partner in transformation, turning mundane relationships into true connections. With her relatable charm and infectious humor, Veronica illuminates the path for women who refuse to settle for anything less than success in both business and relationships. Through practical tips, heartfelt anecdotes, and her trademark wit, Veronica empowers every woman to cultivate unbreakable bonds without sacrificing their ambitions.

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I’m Veronica, your new Boss MOM Mentor with no filter and no BS. 

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, women’s coach, course creator, and retreat host. Married for OVER 20 years, raising three girls, and the host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 

Enough about me… 

My jam? Helping high-achieving women thrive both at home and in the hustle of work.

I've been there.

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