There are plenty of moms who don’t want to give up their careers to raise children full-time, yet they still want to be with their children most of the time.
So where’s the happy medium? How do you get an employer to give you the flexibility that’s needed as a mother? Is it possible to change the mindset of an entire culture?
Rana Florida is the CEO of the Creative Class Group, the author of Upgrade: Taking Your Life and Work from Ordinary to Extraordinary and is known for her unapologetic commentary on women in the working world and her appearances on the Today Show. In her compulsively readable book, she discusses why the work force needs to change to accommodate accomplished and determined mothers who merely need flexibility and understanding in order to live the kind of life they want while raising a family and still working. Too much to ask? Impossible to have it all? Not necessarily.
Rana Florida: There’s no reason women should have to give up their careers to have children. Our society and businesses need a total overhaul. It’s time to support working moms in the workplace. As Hillary Clinton so aptly said, “It takes a village.” Employers need to step up and provide on-site day care. If they can’t afford it, they need to provide women with freedom and flexibility to manage their workload on their own time.
RF: In Upgrade, I mention Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School who wrote in the New York Times: “It’s 5 p.m. at the office. Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home. But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the web and reading your e-mails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker. It’s an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace.”
Pozen mentions a study published in 2010 by University of California, Davis Professor Kimberly D. Elsbach and others. The study “interviewed 39 corporate managers about their perceptions of their employees. The managers viewed employees who were seen at the office during business hours as highly ‘dependable’ and ‘reliable.’ Employees who came in over the weekend or stayed late in the evening were seen as ‘committed’ and ‘dedicated to their work.’”
This idiotic thinking has to change. I don’t believe that chaining people to their desks actually makes them work harder or delivers better results. As long as they are delivering results, is it really necessary to micro-manage them or control their hours?
RF: Every woman in the workforce has to take a stand. It’s insane that women have been made to feel guilty or wrong for juggling both. Women need to push back on the strict policies and hours. But they have to be accountable too. When given the freedom and flexibility they must deliver and make themselves invaluable to the company. Once that happens, employers have no choice but to accommodate the flexibility.
RF: Keep learning, continue to grow, read, experience new things, take classes, take lessons, listen to webcasts and podcasts in your areas of interest. Constantly push yourself to try something new every day or learn something new. Many stay-at-home moms find themselves in a rut, unmotivated and feeling down. Don’t let that be you. Stay plugged-in. Keep growing.
RF: We are going to look back at this era as oddly as we did when we allowed smoking on airplanes. It’s unnatural, wrong and it’s detrimental to the health and well-being of our children. Leaving young children — starting at the age of 2, for some — with strangers or in a strange place away from parents and family for hours a day is inherently wrong. There has to be an integration of work/life. The children we raise today will be our leaders tomorrow. Let’s create structures that can support both.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!