Why You Should Advocate for Working Mothers

Friday, April 24, 2020

Motherhood is constant, demanding and tiring. And returning to work after maternity leave can be a stressful time for a new mother. Here's why you should advocate for the working mothers at your company.

Article 4 Minutes

In this day and age, mothers are working, and they’re working hard. Yet despite a steady incline in the number of moms in the workforce, it feels harder than ever to see them receive the support they need to both help the business and raise the little ones. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t only support but advocate for the working mothers in your company and how to do it. 

The role of a role model

Many working mothers fear that, by leaving their children at home in pursuit of a career, they risk causing emotional or developmental damage to their children. However, having a working mother to look up to can play a key role in how children behave as they grow up. We’ve learned that women who grew up in a household with a working mother were more likely to pursue a career themselves. Boys become more likely to help around the house and, as men, turn out to end up doing more for their own children years down the line. Enable the working mothers at your company to be successful. In turn, you’re helping them raise better humans for the generation to come. 

Good business

Nobody likes attrition. Unfortunately for many working moms, they’ll find themselves returning from maternity leave facing less opportunity and an uphill climb. Many may accept a cut in hours, a tougher fight when it comes to vying for a promotion, or even no job to come back to at all. However, working moms still make great employees! They already know the ins and outs of what the job needs, and now have more motivation than ever to get it done. By doing what you can to make your working mothers happy, you’re nipping attrition in the bud and adding strength to your workforce. 

Moms are adaptive

Balancing life and work is challenging enough before you throw kids into the mix. However, when you become a parent, you learn the hard way that life will throw all sorts of surprises your way. You become ready for anything. It gives you the mindset to be ready for fast change. You’re now equipped with the ability to put a positive spin on things. These skills are now invaluable when they translate to the office. You no longer fear the idea of problem-solving. Instead, you use it as a tool to think outside the box.

Lead by example

Consider organizing a mentorship between working parents. Having a helping hand to show you the ropes as a parent in the workforce can help working moms feel confident in their decision to choose the ultimate balancing act. By matching parents who’ve already survived the ordeal of returning to work post-baby, it can help new working moms find the light at the end of the tunnel and stay motivated along the way. 

Expand your maternity leave

Despite an upward tick in working mothers, expansion in maternity leave policies has felt like a slow climb. Working moms have found themselves faced with limited options when it comes to maternity leave. Many women may feel preoccupied with the thought that they could be missing out on important milestones that occur after the first 12 weeks of their baby’s life, like when they begin crawling or their first actual words when they learn to talk. Allow extra time for maternity leave. Don’t make the working mothers feel like they have to sacrifice irreplaceable time with their newborn for their job. Collaborate, work together, and do what needs to be done to make it work. It’s the right thing to do.

Be flexible

Sure, it can be stressful when an employee calls into work due to a sick kid. But take a step back and realize that it’s even more stressful for them. They’re already worried about caring for an ill child, and their own wellbeing. Now add the pressure of whether or not their job will still be there when they emerge from the whirlwind of anxiety. It’s a lot to deal with. So show some compassion and allow for some flexibility in the lives of your working-parent employees. Breathing room in terms of time off and the option to go remote when needed are great ways to keep everyone happy, and still ensure that the job gets done. 

Level the playing field

When it comes to cultivating a positive work environment, don’t forget to take gender equality into account. Find a harmonious balance between the nitty-gritty aspects of working with parents, and don’t hesitate to set clear guidelines. The goal isn’t to set rules and restrictions - it’s about keeping everyone on the same page. By still allowing for flexibility on issues like parental leave, maternity pay, and even on-site daycare, you’re setting your employees up for success. This lays the groundwork for a smooth sailing business, too!

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Morgen Henderson

Writer

Morgen lives in the Salt Lake Valley. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, watching documentaries, and enjoying the beautiful mountains of Utah.

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