08 Aug| 5 min read
It’s been a challenging two years, particularly for working moms that had to make difficult choices between family and work. We can have it all but it comes at a cost and moms are usually the one’s to pay the high price.
I was one of those mothers who realized after two years of challenge after challenge of balancing work, daycare closures, finding babysitters, social isolation, having a second baby, and dealing with sever postpartum that something had to change.
The pandemic is still raging on, but it has built a new reality for many moms to include myself. I needed a change where I was in the driver seat and I made my own rules of when and how I worked. I wanted a world that consisted of building my work life around my kids and not the other way around.
And for those moms who still have to go into the workplace it is essential for employers to not so quickly forget the hard lessons we’ve learned along the way — especially the fact that workplaces are not built for moms. And that needs to change.
Before the pandemic, researchers suggested that moms were working the equivalent of 2.5 full-time jobs. The bulk of household labor and child-raising responsibilities often fall to the maternal partner. This disparity became even more apparent when millions of working moms were forced to leave the labor force due to the pandemic.
Increased household responsibilities (e.g., virtual school for kids, children spending more time at home, etc.) have forced working moms to scale back their hours. For many two-income households, having the mom quit her job to take care of family needs made more financial sense. This move has reignited claims of gender pay gaps that ultimately prove women are underpaid.
Many moms fear that in the span of a couple of years, we’ve wiped out the progress of 50+ years to get women where they are professionally. But despite the challenges, many moms remain hopeful that the drastic effects of the pandemic will initiate positive change — and it shouldn’t take another 50 years to do so.
On the tailcoats of the Great Resignation, labor shortages, and companies offering bonuses and incentives to recruit talent, working moms have all the bargaining power they need to make the workplace work for them.
For those who have left the workforce due to the pandemic, there’s never been a better time to re-enter. And for those who are still working, it might be time to rethink your current position.
Use this opportunity to ask for flexible working hours, higher pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, childcare benefits, and anything else that allows you to earn an adequate living while raising a family. Demand your boss to create an environment that’s conducive to working moms, from offering breastfeeding rooms to bringing your children to work. Let them know what support you need that you haven’t received in the past.
The needs of a working mom have never been more evident than right now. The one-off plights that moms have experienced for decades have suddenly been seen and heard en masse throughout the pandemic. At the very least, employers are seeing and feeling the effects of a lack of support for working parents.
With thoughtful conversation and creative solutions, they may just be prepared to do something about it.
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