Did you know 76 percent of college-educated women have children, but in agency life only 39 percent of women are moms?
This means that 61 percent of women in the workplace are prioritizing their careers over motherhood. However, with the right employer support and programs, working moms can thrive both at home and at work.
Work-life support for working parents, such as scheduling flexibility and childcare benefits, aren’t available to most working moms. And 26 percent of moms said they changed jobs for better family benefits.
I asked some of the moms at rbb to share words of wisdom (and I gave a few of my own) for the new moms out there returning to work. Here’s what we all had to say.
Zonnia Knight: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from someone about being a working mom?
Jeanine Karp: There is only so much information a working mother’s brain can retain and focus on. The important stuff will be instinctual, and what’s not will just fall out…and let it.When it comes to childcare, always get more help than you think you need. Worst case you’ll find yourself with some very rare “me” time.
Laura Guitar: If you are torn between working and staying home, work when the kids are young and stay home as they become teenagers. A child will tell you everything going on in their lives, in excruciating detail, any time you ask. A teenager will only share their most important thoughts on their schedule when they are ready and you need to be around for that to happen. Of course, if you’re not torn between the two, pick one and enjoy it.
Zonnia: If there was one piece of advice you could have given to yourself when you first came back to work after having a child, what would it be?
Jeanine: Your worst critic is always going to be you. You’re doing much better than you think. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Laura: No guilt. I always felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough for someone – work, baby, husband. It was a wasted emotion.
Zonnia: Now that you’re a pro MomBoss, what is your secret to staying organized both at home and at work?
Jeanine: Keep a to do list that focuses only on the priority items. Then embrace the clutter, it will always be there!
Laura: Lists! And more lists! I can’t remember anything so I write down everything. Just have to remember where I put the lists…
Zonnia: How do you keep your team at home and at work both feeling like they are top priority?
Jeanine: While much of a working mom’s life involves blending, it’s still key to carve out designated blocks of time that are dedicated to just work or just family. Shut out the other during these blocks, unless there is an emergency, so you can be present and give your all. It will be obvious to both your colleagues and family if your mind is elsewhere.
Laura: I don’t try; it’s unrealistic and crazy making. No one is top priority all the time. What’s important is that everyone is top priority when they need to be.
Zonnia: What’s the best way to demonstrate to your child the benefits that being a working mom can offer in life?
Laura: Talk about your work in a positive light. Share challenges but also share how you’re working to overcome them. Laugh about the funny things that happen. Show them that work doesn’t have to be just for money, it can be for the joy of creating something with other people.
Zonnia: Early morning or late nights? What’s your preference for squeezing in some extra work hours?
Jeanine: I prefer to burn the midnight oil, and get organized for the day ahead. Mornings are just too unpredictable in my busy household.
Laura: Early mornings. I’m in bed by 10 p.m.!
Zonnia: Best perk at rbb for working moms I should take advantage of?
Jeanine: The flexible schedule. I am able to volunteer at my daughter’s school at least twice a month, and have never had to miss a school performance or award ceremony. While that means making up the lost times in evenings, and eating more lunches than I’d like at my desk, the trade off is well worth it!
Laura: An agency that values its employees as whole humans and a CEO who manages by objectives, not process.
“Mounting Evidence,” a study conducted by the Harvard Business School Gender Initiative, found that daughters of working mothers had higher education, employment and incomes than daughters of mothers who didn’t work. Not only do moms returning to the workforce benefit their employers in the present, but they also inspire future success for the economy in the future.
At rbb, we think that’s a win-win situation.