It’s a favorite, right?
Well, based on some experiences with a fellow working mom this past week, I couldn’t help but think about the lyrics differently. I try not to judge, but this woman kept making me think she gave working moms a bad name.
In this world of personal and professional demands enveloping us from all sides, I’ve grown accustomed to sometimes taking care of parenthood issues during my workday, and handling emails and work issues in the evening or on the occasional weekend. The worlds bleed. It’s how we live in this 24/7 tech world, and we all manage our boundaries differently.
Still, I fully recognize the company I work for expects me to be “on” during the workday. They offer me some flexibility, but generally when I’m at work, I power through and focus on the task at hand. I’m a mom, but at work I want to be known for my contributions and professional brand. At home, I shift to mom mode.
So this past week, when I started experiencing some frustration with an outside consultant, who also happens to be a working mom, my patience levels wavered. It didn’t help when someone from the office, not a working mom, commented I should understand her struggles because she is a working mom.
This consultant said she was only available to chat after her kids went to bed – so I guess I need to take calls in the evening when I’m at home with my own kids. She can’t help at a live event because she needs to watch her child while she visits our office – so I guess I need to pick up the slack at the live event. She can’t turn changes around because she is watching her kids during the day – so I guess I need to make those changes myself to keep us on deadline.
Yes, she is what we’d call a “work-from-home” mom, and I understand she is trying to be there for her kids, but sometimes you need to hire a babysitter to meet the deadline. This “working mom” has missed every deadline I’ve given.
I’ve worked full-time since I was 22. Financially, it wasn’t in the cards to take more time off than the standard maternity leave my company offered. I’ve had to learn to be a full-time mom and a full-time professional, and I work extremely hard at both roles to do best by my family and career.
I’ve known many working moms who carved out different scenarios to juggle family and work. In fact, several good friends elected to off-ramp from corporate and consult from home. This situation gave them more time with their kids, but I saw them excel professionally as well because they took the work seriously. One friend woke up early to start her writing before dawn, then dropped her kids off at school and hired a nanny to assist in the afternoons she needed to take calls or power through assignments.
As any stay-at-home knows, caring for kids is a full-time job. When they’re little, they need lots of snuggles and care. As they grow, they need attention too. You can’t just plop them in front of a TV or try to get your work done at nap time. If your work-from-home job demands supporting clients, you need to be flexible to support those clients.
I didn’t hire this consultant, and when the project concludes, my recommend to the team would be not to re-hire her. Not because she is a working mom, but rather because she is someone who has shown she can’t meet my business needs. She has used being a “working mom” as an excuse to not deliver, and that is something I can’t accept. My advice to this woman, not that she would seek it from me, would be to only accept future assignments she can realistically handle. The title of “mom” will always be the most important title, but when you are hired to do a job, you need to deliver.
If you are a work-from-home mom, how have you elected to manage work and family?
Any tips to offer?