Happy Mother's Day!
There are some organizations that accommodate parents and there are those that are not very family friendly. Sadly, women can and do get penalized in their careers for, necessarily, dividing their attention between family and career. I was told, years ago, "You can't have it all." So, I moved outside the organization and industry. It was tough for awhile, but necessary.
Unfortunately, child rearing is still seen as primarily a female endeavor in many organizations. The child's entry into the world is slow and visible for a woman. Plus, a woman's absence after child birth is obvious too. So, really, there is no avoiding this perception. Finally, a double standard does exist in some organizations where a man is lauded for parental involvement by leadership and peers while a woman is penalized.
What is a woman to do?
- Weigh the Costs - Understand that opportunity costs still exist in some organizations. Before making the choice to be a mother, weigh the costs as if you really can't have it all.
- Check Finances - Can you afford kids, or is this something that you need to plan for a bit longer? A stymied career and financial pressure are not conducive to happiness.
- Understand the Culture - Realize that, despite any perceived gender inequities, you will not change the prevailing culture and need to be prepared for such reality.
- Choose Family Friendly - If parenthood is important to you, seek a position in an organization that is family friendly before you make a move to have children. If you are in an organization that is penalizing you for being a mother, you may want to consider seeking a position in another organization.
- Build a Support Network - Once you have children, build a support network and set boundaries for work / life. You will need assistance, and you will need to be able to say "no" occasionally. Your career is important, but so are your children.
- Stay Home - I know that is not a popular decision and can put a damper on career progression, but being a mother is really a stand-alone and laudable job. Becoming a stay-at-home mom works particularly well for women who are financially secure and have a supportive spouse.
- Try Entrepreneurship - Being an entrepreneur is hard work and many small businesses fail. However, this avenue will place you in control of your hours and can be done, largely, inside the home. Once again, this works particularly well for women who are financially secure and have a supportive spouse.
Ladies, being a mom and supporting children is not easy. You should be congratulated for your efforts. None of us are perfect, but love covers a multitude of sins. There isn't much better than the love of a mother.