More and more women have joined the workforce over the last several decades. Despite their growing notability in the workforce, for mothers, juggling work and family responsibilities hasn’t become much easier. Today’s working mother not only has to deal with pay inequality and the taxing climb up the ladder, they face a bigger dilemma; who will watch the kids?
One of the biggest decisions a women might have to make is whether to quit her job or to become a stay-at-home mom. Many never stop to imagine they would be facing this decision as the thought of quitting their careers never crossed their minds before. It’s true that there are many options such as nannies and daycare. But soon after having their first child, they realize it’s not as simple as they imagined.
Mary Beth Ferrante, CEO of Live.Work.Lead, states that our disenchantment with integrating motherhood and work undermines the expectations of our generation. No previous generation has applied more effort in creating a harmonious co-existence between work and life.
Ferrante continues saying that, for Baby Boomers and Gen X, it was normal to draw a line in the sand and expect family life and work to be separate. But with technology significantly changing the way we work today and into the future, it is increasingly difficult to separate the two. Our ability, and now expectation, to respond to emails late into the evenings and weekends, has us wondering why flexible hours are still something to negotiate, or why we feel judged when we leave the office at 5pm to pick up our children, even though we are often getting to work hours earlier than others.
Working mothers feel the constant pressure of being available around the clock both at home and in the office. And although most are up for the challenge, their success will only be ensured if employers adjust the work culture to support them in all aspects – life, home and work.
There are many ways employers can help loyal employees who are in need of more flexibility. Working mothers thrive in environments that support their development both professionally and personally. They need managers who are equipped to welcome them back onto the team and who remain flexible and open to accommodations – flexible hours, breaks for pumping etc. With a work culture such as this, working mothers are able to achieve the most success and benefit greatly.
Working mothers are no less committed to their job than the regular employee. Their focus is on being professional and getting the job done, while also spending a few waking hours a days with their children. Women should not have to choose between being a mom or their professional careers. There are different avenues to be explored and cultures to be challenged.