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 working outside the home. 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 offer flexible hours. Once this begins to take off, companies will regain the enormous talent base 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.
Working moms 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.
It is a struggle to get from point A to point B for working moms. We often cannot make class parties or make cute lunches for our kids everyday, although we would love to. We need scheduling flexibility from the schools and from other parents. We can drop off party supplies before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. We can make PTO meetings if they were at night and not during the day. We can do Saturdays. But we cannot do Tuesdays at 10 a.m.
The generations of moms before us often pass along the guilt they received from their own mothers for working outside the home. Remember the working girl boom of the 80’s? Can you imagine the conversations with their moms when they went to work? It was definitely more difficult for them.
The Working Moms’ Guilt.
This could 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. Try to turn down the volume of guilt and start choosing joy instead. Believe in yourself and be content with what you are doing. Do it for the kids. They deserve happy moms.
I consider myself fortunate that I have the option, at this point in my career, to stay home with the kids and write this blog and create content to encourage women. I’m able to take the kids to all appointments and pick them up from school. Many would love to do this, but do not have that option. I will eventually go back to the workforce when the Lord reveals the right opportunity. Until then, lets all be kinder to working moms, extend flexibility when possible, 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.