There’s a lot of debate out there about paid maternity and paternity leave. As moms ourselves, we understand firsthand the stress that follows the joy of having a baby. For women who have spent many years building their career, the moment they become mothers can be a little overwhelming.
Suddenly, the life they’ve worked so hard to build their identity around changes, and their focus shifts to their new title: mom. The inevitable conversations take place about how long a maternity leave she will take and whether she will be going back to work at all. It’s a decision that, no matter the outcome, has some guilt attached to it.
For a long time, social norms told us that moms should stay home, raise the children and manage the household. We’re fortunate to live in a time when there’s significantly more opportunity for women, although there’s more progress to be made. Still, there seems to be a perception that working moms are only mediocre both in their role as mother and as a professional simply because their time and attention is divided.
Because of a mom’s desire to continue on in her career after welcoming baby, regardless of what that looks like — full time, part time, in an office or from home — she has made the decision and is dedicated to doing both and doing them well.
Moms in the workplace have schedules they need to stick to. Some employers view this as a challenge, given that they don’t have as much flexibility. We view this as a more efficient employee who has to tackle all of their to-dos to avoid being late to daycare pickup.
She’s got family as a priority, and when she is with them, she wants to be all in. That means she’s not going to waste her hours at the office water cooler or taking leisurely lunches. She’s got a job to finish so she can spend quality time with her loved ones each day. We know there are working moms who are leading successful and fulfilling lives as both moms and professionals.
We also know there are moms who feel stuck, moms who want to be taken seriously and not viewed as a distracted employee, and moms who are at home with their children looking for an opportunity to get back in the workplace.
It’s time we highlight the many strengths of these valuable women. We’re at a place where we need to redefine what the typical workday looks like — providing more flexibility in schedule and embracing working remotely to capitalize on the talent that’s out there but doesn’t fit into the standard 8-to-5 job with a 45-minute commute.
Don’t be mistaken — moms out there mean business, too.
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