A Mother’s Day Message: Modern Moms Want to Work

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May 8, 2015

Think for a moment – how many mothers do you work side-by-side with? I’ll bet you know someone right off the top of your head.

Mother’s Day is a time to honor dear old Mom for all the good things she did to raise us right, but it should also be a time to recognize the 71 percent of mothers who do all that amazing stuff while holding down a full-time job.

After a decades-long decline of so-called “stay-at-home” moms, their numbers are plateauing in the 21st Century, and the message is clear: Modern moms want to work.

But according to a recent Pew Research study, 56 percent of working moms find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family life. This has to end, if only for dear old mom’s sake!

A second job

Working mothers, on average, devote 11 hours a week to child care. That’s a minimum really, since as any parent knows it entirely depends on the kid. Add on a stressful job that takes up 40 plus hours a week, layer in the small issue of a highly visible and well-documented gender pay gap, and you’ve got yourself a cake of inequity that nobody would eat on their birthday, let alone a mom on Mother’s Day.

Keep in mind that for the most part, society expects every mother to conform to this standard of living without question. The more things change, it seems, the more things stay the same.

A Mother’s Day wish

This Mother’s Day, let’s think about the ways we can make work less of a burden on all the working moms out there.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Recognition – Recognize the moms in your organization with a special something for Mother’s Day. More important, recognize the balancing act they do to juggle family and work – and don’t stop there. According to the same Pew study, 50 percent of working dads also find it difficult to balance work and family, and Gallup tells us that 70 percent of all employees aren’t engaged. So keep it up year-round for everyone. It’s a simple fact that the nicer you are to people, the more they enjoy working with you.
  • Salary audits – According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women can expect to earn, on average, 78 percent of what their male counterparts make. The gender pay gap is real, so it’s a good idea to do salary audits to make sure you’re on the right side of it. Remember that the gender pay gap exists for all women, and is present in nearly every occupation.
  • Flexible schedules – Working mothers often need flexibility in their schedules to balance work, life, and family properly. Be aware of this and willing to work around it, but also keep open lines of communications and touch base with your working mothers often so you can stay ahead of it. This is especially important in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries, where a majority of schedules are given only a week or less in advance.

Yes, working mother IS redundant

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 10, so remember to recognize the considerable discretionary effort it takes for all the moms out there to show up to work day after day.

As Erma Bombeck once put it, the phrase “working mother” is rather redundant.