The demands and challenges of working mothers are many. Daily, they are faced with scenarios that feel as though working mothers are being punished.
So, what bothers me about working mothers? We’ll get to that shortly. First, here is a list of just a few of the scenarios working mothers have to navigate way too often:
- A woman gets pregnant and has to tell her boss and co-workers. She dreads the conversation and the responses of her boss and her team. Her team, in return, know they will have extra work to do while she’s on leave.
- A child wakes up sick and the working mom has to stay at home. It is close to impossible to find caretakers for sick children in a moment’s notice. She’ll probably have to use her sick days or vacation days to make up for the lost workday.
- Women who have to pick up their elementary school children from daycare simply cannot stay past 4.45 pm. Younger children often require an even earlier pickup time.
- A woman who decides to have children in a relatively short period usually loses several career opportunities.
- Pediatrician appointments are only available weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm when women are supposed to be at work.
- When there is an issue at school, working mothers have to leave work without any notice.
- Women’s personal phones need to be close by in case there is an issue at her child’s daycare or school.
What Bothers Me About Working Mothers
I just outlined few of the disruptive but normal day-to-day challenges of working mothers, or women in general face. And here is what bothers me about it and why it should bother you, too.
Is it really such a big secret that women get pregnant, have babies, and do the majority of child rearing and related tasks?
Because if we knew, it would make sense that workplaces that hire women would ensure working mothers have access to things like flex time or could work from home. Companies surely would have a back-up plan to cover parental leave, plus systems in place to ensure that working mothers can do their double duty and get their careers back. Of course, parental leave should be offered to men as well.
Why is it so hard to support working mothers?
Put simply, we work in a system that was built by men for men. This system that I call the old men’s code doesn’t have a provision for non-conforming members.
Of course, women have been doing their best to follow that old code, and some of us have succeeded, but it meant little to no time off, working until only a few days before our due dates, and not asking for any additional support or not taking advantage of what’s offered. Because doing anything differently means working mothers (and fathers who ask for the same) would fall behind in their careers.
The system is built for men
Think about it. Businesses and structures accommodate men. That means there is nothing wrong with the structure if only men work there. The structures have NOT been updated to acknowledge that women now work there, too. Here’s a good article that sheds light on the fallout.
Women broke the system
When women came in, they broke the system. And now some men are angry at women for challenging the status quo and asking for changes to something that is old and broken. As usually happens with change, it’s not easy to do and is often met with much resistance. The demand for safe and healthy workplaces is on everybody’s mind. Let’s make sure that while we are asking for those changes that we do not forget to ask to account for working parents who want to take care of their families. Really, a totally normal thing to ask for. So why don’t we? After all, the future is female.
Please share the challenges you as a working mother or working father have experienced. I’d love to hear your stories from the frontlines! I sure have a few of my own to tell, like the time my live-in nanny decided to move out in the middle of the night to audition in Las Vegas and my workday started at 4 am for a photo production, and so my daughter ended up entertaining the crew and models in the motorhome. Oh the memories…
Beate Chelette is the Founder of The Women’s Code and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.
Beate’s supports organizations two-fold. Beate provides leadership development programs for organizations that want to implement the ROI of Balanced Leadership through The Women’s Code, her signature system that educates leaders and helps companies achieve gender equality. The Women’s Code creates and implements programs that improve organizational culture, foster productive work environments and help companies improve their people ROI.
As The Growth Architect she creates outreach and sponsorship programs through customized Entrepreneur skills training following the 5 Star Success Blueprint that shows step-by-step how to grow, build and scale businesses.
Beate is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on Leadership or Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect here.