How to Work Well with Working Mothers By Jessica Larson
Discover How to Work Well with Working Mothers
As if wage gaps and discrimination aren’t challenge enough, working women and mothers were also hit the hardest by pandemic-related employment struggles. Many working mothers cut back or quit their jobs all together to stay home with their kids while daycares and schools were closed.
Now, women are attempting to come back into the workplace. Unfortunately, many working mothers are encountering a lack of flexibility and opportunities that align with this “new normal.” But organizations who employ women, especially in leadership positions, are more successful.
That’s why you should strive to work well with working mothers. Here’s how.
Working mothers reentering the workforce in new positions or industries will come up against several significant obstacles. In addition to catching up and learning the ropes, they will need to navigate the delicate issue of balancing responsibilities at work and at home.
As an employer, you can encourage and guide working mothers’ success by helping them find professional mentors who are also working mothers. A mentor will make the transition easier by sharing the tips and tricks of the job. In addition to providing professional advice, a seasoned professional with a similar background is uniquely qualified to offer guidance in areas where a male, or even a female without children, could not.
Challenge the Status Quo
Business leaders in 2021 find themselves at the forefront of change. For decades, women have suffered from discrimination in the workplace in relative silence. Now, issues of inequality and harassment are being challenged proactively. For the good of both women and business, it is up to business leaders to take steps to ensure working mothers feel welcome and valued in the job, including eliminating the wage gap.
Gender balance is another key goal for business leaders. Skill-based hiring is the standard, but if working mothers aren’t offered the same opportunities to bolster their skills, then nobody wins. By making gender balance a priority in the workplace, the workforce benefits from an even greater pool of potential leaders. And studies have shown that companies with more women in leadership positions do better financially. It just makes sense.
Working mothers may need an extra hand when it comes to returning to the job force, even if they are returning to the company or position they held before the pandemic. One way a business can ease the process is with returnship programs. These programs essentially train returning workers in advanced career areas. Additionally, they help to build networks, provide mentors, and boost the confidence of those coming back to work. Just like an internship, they also ensure that returning employees are the right fit for the job. And if they aren’t, the skills learned during the Returnship are a great addition to their resume.
Additionally, providing classes and opportunities for enrichment outside of work can empower working mothers, too. For instance, financial readiness classes on topics like how to rebuild credit can help counteract the debt many women accrued due to lost wages during the pandemic. The lessons learned from supplemental teachings can help reduce stress on the job and at home, leading to greater productivity and better balance.
Speaking of balance, working mothers juggle different responsibilities than other employees. Because caring for a family is a full-time job in and of itself, accommodating these needs is imperative for getting women back to work. This can include flexible scheduling, hybrid work options, on-site daycare, and special considerations for women who are pregnant or nursing.
Of course, withholding opportunities for the sake of “going easy” on returning working mothers is just as much of a hindrance. For instance, not inviting a working mother to a networking opportunity for fear of interfering with her home schedule can send the wrong message.
Most importantly, establish a culture where the unique needs of working mothers are not seen as a lack of commitment to the tasks at hand. After all, it’s the same soft skills that women use to mother their children at home that help them perform well at work. By recognizing that, businesses can work well with working mothers to achieve their goals..
Jessica Larson is a married Midwestern mom and a solopreneur. She creates online courses for students, started to run several other businesses through the years. He goals are to support my family while still actually spending time with them, to act as an entrepreneurial role model for her two daughters, and to share what she’s learned through The Solopreneur Journal.
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