From the moment America’s moms started trading in their aprons for college degrees and resumes, there have been countless debates surrounding working mothers and their roles in the workplace. They have been ridiculed for “abandoning” their families. They have been accused of making poor life choices and having imprudent priorities. They have been criticized for having to take time off work for family needs. Working mothers have been facing these judgments for decades; but in order to be part of the workforce, they have had to put the guilt aside, ignore the glaringly obvious social criticisms, and focus on their careers (while simultaneously juggling their families’ needs).
It is now 2013 and more than half of married mothers of children under the age of 18 are in the workforce. Surely these working moms do not have to deal with the judgments of decades past, right?
It is true that many employers have made huge strides in providing family-focused benefits to working mothers. It appears that employers generally appreciate the value of career women and have agreed to take the good with the bad, so to speak.
But the stigma still exists. In many cases, regardless of their qualifications, single men are still viewed “more employable” than moms of any kind. Employers want low-maintenance employees and who can blame them? But working mothers often bring a unique value to the companies they work for. They have an exceptional way of balancing several tasks without blinking an eye. They can easily make tough decisions and they tend to keep their cool under pressure. After all…they’re moms!
In order to employ these talented, career-oriented, well-educated women, employers must accept the fact that working moms have distinctive needs. They don’t just need enough time off to take care of family matters. They need predictable, yet flexible hours coupled with a general understanding that working mothers are in a constant battle to strike a balance between their work hours and their home life. They need that understanding from their employers and their co-workers.
Working moms have come a long way from the days of relentless judgments, but I believe there is still room for improvement. I hope there comes a day when there isn’t a need for a blog post, or a study, or an article or even a verbal discussion about this topic. Until then, working moms, don’t underestimate the value you bring to your job! That value has brought your employers to what they are today.
Written By: Amanda Trombly