Being a Mom is freaking HARD. It's quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm only four months in. My experience with pregnancy (and now motherhood) has not only changed my life forever, but has also changed the way I approach tasks, both in my personal and professional lives. The day I became a mother I signed some invisible pact to take on more in one day than I ever thought possible and somehow get it all done. And I think this makes me a powerful resource to have around the office.
But the majority of America still sees motherhood as being some sort of setback to women in the workplace. In Rebecca Traister's article titled "Labor Pains" for New Republic, she notes that the struggle facing most new moms who are also trying to balance a career, is "simply the result of the way things are in a country that venerates motherhood but in practice accords it zero economic value...It makes parenting a privileged pursuit, takes women out of the workforce, and ultimately affirms public and professional life as being built for men." In fact, The New York Times found that educated women were leaving the workforce at such alarming rates that the U.S. has now fallen behind many European countries in terms of employment rates for women. They attribute this to a lack of family-friendly policies in the workplace, among other reasons.
And maybe the problem is that most American companies don't see the value in American moms. They see us as an anchor weighing them down, rather than the powerhouses that we really are. Here's why being a mom makes us more of an asset to your company:
- We can prioritize like champions. It's amazing what you can accomplish while a baby is sleeping. Everyday I make choices about what needs to get done and everyday the list changes. Some days it's laundry, some days it's cleaning the bathrooms, and some days it's getting a bit of writing done. The to-do list is endless and you learn very quickly that shifting your priorities easily is essential to having a successful day.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an article that drew attention to the fact that all but two of the female CEOs at big U.S. businesses were also mothers. It's not a coincidence; moms can handle the big challenges that come their way, whether at home or in the office. Maybe it's time we stop punishing women in the workplace for becoming parents and start rewarding them instead.
To weigh in on the conversation, tweet at me @hyoungcreative with the #momboss.