Working moms are some of the most compassionate, helpful and non-judgmental people. They are doing their best, but barely keeping their head above water, so they know how important it is to give grace. And lots of it.
I’m a big supporter of women. I’m a big supporter of whatever option they choose, either working inside or outside the home. I’ve been both a working mom and stay at home mom in my career. And I’ve personally experienced the judgement that comes with both. It’s really a shame. Women have different talents and skills. Some women are called to give their talents inside the home, and some are called to give theirs both inside and outside the home. Some work out of financial necessity. All are valid reasons in which there should be no judgement when a mom works.
In this post, I’m sharing my own perspective about the challenges that make working outside the home harder than it should be.
Society gives women conflicting expectations once they become mothers. We are told to invest in an education and develop skills that will be lucrative when we get into the workforce. And once we are in the workforce, we are expected to have a strong work ethic and quickly establish a career path. Once we have a child, however, the expectation is immediately different. We feel pressure to put our ambitions aside for the baby, and give 100% of ourselves to being a mom. And so, we do it. We love our child more than anything in the world. But after a while, we lose ourselves and feel ashamed to even talk about it.
What everyone needs to know is that even after having a child, our core identity is still the same. Working moms still have personal goals. We are still ambitious. We are just trying to figure out how it all fits together. And we need encouragement while we work through that process.
The traditional workplace model isn’t working for working moms.We have technology that connects us 24/7. The days of physically being “in seat” at the office are changing. There should be more employers that offer part-time or work-from-home positions, as well as flexible hours. Once this begins to take off, companies will start to attract the enormous talent base that they’ve lost. Also, working moms need managers that understand we are juggling two full-time jobs. We may need to take a 2 hour lunch to run errands, but we will make up for it. We might not have every detail of a project committed to memory, but we have it written down. We would like to take on additional responsibilities, but we have to refrain ourselves because we know quality is better than quantity.
We are doing everything we can to maximize our time at work while also arranging childcare, sick kids, appointments, school events, field trips, etc. We miss a lot due to work. We only ask for your understanding.
Pressure from our peers and the generations of moms before us. The generations of moms before us often pass along the guilt they received from their own mothers for working outside the home. It’s not really about us, its about what they experienced. I can only imagine the judgement they received. We have to understand that, and know that it’s a different time now, culturally. We can do anything… run a business, serve the community, build a career of their own; all while being a great mom and wife. It can be done. Freeing ourselves from the narrative that says we “have to be a certain way” is the key to creating a life you love.
The Working Moms’ Guilt. Guilt can either be self-imposed or a manifestation of all the above. Either way, its up to us to cut ourselves some slack. No one else is going to do it for us. Look at your kids…. are they happy? Are they thriving? Are you nurturing them and giving them the quality time they need? Ok, then. Stop with the guilt. Believe that you are doing the best you can, and that is ENOUGH. Be content with your life. Once you stop beating yourself up, you can start seeing the joy again.
I consider myself fortunate that I’ve had the option to stay home with the kids, write this blog and create content to encourage women, and have a career outside the home- all at different times in my parenting journey. Lets all be kinder to all moms, in whatever choice works best for their family. Extend flexibility when possible, understanding, and grace always.
Meet the teacher day (late for work)
Kids are sick again (late for work)
Valentine’s school party (took 2 hour lunch)
Speech therapy appointment (late for work every Friday)
Working late after the kids are in bed to meet a deadline.