Women returning to work after having a baby often care less about their job than before they gave birth, according to a survey released last week by ForbesWoman and TheBump.com.
The survey found that although 59 per cent of mothers polled said they were “glad to be back at work,” 59 per cent also said they “no longer cared as much” about their job.” One mom’s comment seemed to hit the nail on the head for what I’m guessing is a lot of people: “People are looking at you, because a lot of times you have to leave at 5.”
However, there are companies out there with a culture that doesn’t make working moms feel sneaky and sulky leaving at a “reasonable” hour. I have worked at a company where I did get “the look” every day, and i’ve worked at a company where it’s common to flex hours and where 75 percent of the team leaves “early.” I am convinced it’s not only the policy and tone of the company but also your immediate supervisor and teammates. If my team was all twenty-something non-parents, my 4:30pm departure would stick out like a sore thumb.
As if working moms don’t have enough guilt, now a new study shows that if a child has a working mother people don’t like that child as much.
Give me a break (but here I am up at 5am, worrying about it before I head off to work in a few hours).
Researchers at Kansas State University studied the perceptions people have of women and their children based on the women’s work status. (The participants were unmarried college students—99 percent of them childless.) Among the findings:
1. People value mothers who stay at home.
2. People value mothers who compromise between working and staying at home—moms who work part-time, for example.
3. People devalue moms who work full-time outside the home.
4. People perceive the children of moms who work full-time to be “troubled” and their relationships to be “problematic.”
5. People think that moms who work full-time don’t have good relationships with their children.
A few thoughts come to mind:
- Many of the women surveyed still plan to work when they grow up and become moms.
- I was the child of a working mom and I had lots of friends.
- My sons have a working mom (me) and have lots of friends.
What do you think about this study?
Some days, we long to work from home to be more accessible to our kids, maybe throw in a load of laundry while we’re on a conference call and actually make a homemade dinner - before 7pm at that. Be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true.
This week our town is being hit with a massive snowstorm - even blizzard conditions - and school is canceled for the entire week. Telecommuting is really the only option - you can’t even drive on the snowy, icy roads.
But, this afternoon, I long for the peacefulness of my desk and afternoon snack of wasabi peas stowed away in my drawer; of office Internet connections that enable me to work more quickly; of surroundings that don’t call out to me to cook, clean or make a fourth cup of coffee.
Our county called another Snow Day for my sons’ schools today, something like the fifth this season. And all over just four inches of fluffy snow. As I attempt to work from home with my two lively sons this morning, it’s nice to be home…but not so nice to not be able to focus on my work.
Trying to be a good mom, i’ll take them sledding at lunchtime. Trying to be a responsible mom, I declared an hour of “non-electronic time” to get them off the Wii, their Nintendo DSs, their laptop and the Black Eyed Peas (who are great, I admit). But fifteen minutes in, I couldn’t work because they wanted me to entertain them, so I declared “non electronic hour” over.
Studies show our kids have too much screen time. It’s true, but if you ask me, when a single mom has to work from home, sometimes, it’s simply necessary.
After proving myself in my first two months on the job, I am now eligible to telecommute once a week. As I jotted down my “work from home day” in my datebook today, all sorts of hopes and aspirations took over.
Since i’ll be working from home one day, I will:
- Make a nice homemade dinner for my kids and myself
- Pick up that suit at the cleaners that I haven’t had time to get since October
- Take a few moments to visit with my stay-at-home mom friends at preschool dropoff (since i’m never there)
- Take a break at lunchtime and do two miles on the elliptical
- Read the entire newspaper
- Call to set up doctor and dentis appointments overdue
Oh, and work.
I think the flexibility to work from home is great, but I might be putting too much pressure on myself to do more then, making it harder than the day has to be.
I will not let my company down from home! I am confident I will be a strong employee here or at the office. I wish I was as confident I will actually do all these motherly things noted above. Check back in later in the week and i’ll let you know if I let myself down on that front.
As a working mom (well, every mom works in one way or another, so let me rephrase that) — as a busy mom, I just felt validated after reading a great article in today’s Washington Post Magazine - “The Test of Time” by Brigid Schulte, who tries to figure out where all her time goes.
A sociologist says moms have THIRTY hours of leisure time each week, which makes the author laugh. You are probably shocked to hear that, too, right? Since she is so unbelieving of his theory, he even offers to meet with her after she logs all her time properly (which takes a year) to show her he is right.
The funniest thing is she is scared to do the test — because if she finds out she really does have leisure time, she will feel she’s not managing her time well. And if she finds out she doesn’t, there is no hope she can actually find any time for herself.
Take time to read this! You’ll be surprised what counts as “leisure time.”
On my second day of my new full-time job, I was proud of myself for getting out of the house by 7:30am and in to work before my 8am start time. My nanny had shown up on time; my sons weren’t upset when I had to leave (actually, they were on the sofa still in their pajamas totally engrossed in Star Wars - maybe they didn’t even notice I hugged them goodbye and ran to the car); I had straightened my hair and downed two cups of coffee and had my pictures for my desk. I was on my way! But halfway to the office, my 8-year old son called.
“Mom! Where did you put my lunch!” My mind raced through the past thirty minutes and I knew I had made a peanut butter and honey sandwich and stuffed it in a brown bag with pretzels and fruit. “I put it right next to your backpack on the floor!” I said confidently.
A minute later, he called back. “It’s not there,” he stated equally as confident. My nanny then got on the phone. “It’s not there!” she repeated. I was about to scream at her to look harder when I happened to look down at the passenger seat. There, next to my datebook and pictures, was my son’s lunch bag. I’d taken it to work by mistake.
I broke the news to him, but he had plenty of time to make another before the bus came. As for me, I took his lunch to work and munched on that food all day, laughing as I realized that getting things right 98 percent of time can work out just fine.
Have you read about the study showing that kids pick up the slack on housework when their fathers work longer hours? For each extra hour a father spends at work, his children do two more minutes of housework a week on average, the researchers found, but the same doesn’t hold true when it’s moms out at work more.
The research study, involving more than 3500 families where both husband and wife work full-time outside the home, appears in November’s Journal of Family Issues. On average, the moms in the study worked 37 hours a week and the husbands 47 hours a week.
I would be fascinated to see a similar study focusing on households where single moms are raising the kids, especially since I am about to start a new, full-time job in ten days. Will my 4 and 8-year old sons do more chores when I work more? It may be time to refocus on the “chores chart” we made four months ago, which outlines the boys’ bi-weekly chores (the weeks the cleaning lady is off, they’re on) and which they used to tackle with gusto. I’m the one who hasn’t been disciplined enough to enforce it.
As my time at home dwindles, what else can I do to ensure the kids start helping around the house more? The study also found that the more parents stress about work-life balance, the more housework children do. Relief..if my stress shows just a little bit, they’ll get to work, and I don’t have to feel guilty that I’m not putting on a happy face every second of the day! Shouldn’t boys learn the art of juggling — just a little bit?
Women constitute nearly half the work force in this country, approximately 47 percent, yet many moms feel conflicted about working outside the home, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project.
With back-to-school season sliding into a chilly fall, I have found yet another thing to feel conflicted and guilty about: fear of my kids getting sick and the domino effect of me having to miss work. With fear and trepidation, I just opened another email from my four-year-old’s preschool director fearing another illness outbreak. Sure enough, on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of Lice running rampant through the classroom, Hand, Foot & Mouth disease has also been diagnosed.
Sitting here sneezing away, I’ve been fighting a cold that’s getting worse by the hour. (And I am no doubt annoying my new officemate on his first day, but that’s another story.) I can fight through it, but if my little guy gets nits in his hair or rashes on his hands, we can’t put a happy face on it. He will have to stay home – and so will I.
While this is the reality of being a working mom, I long for the days when I freelanced at home and didn’t really have to report into anyone that I couldn’t “come to work.” I am so worried about possibly having to miss work that I could actually use a mental health day to calm down about it. Then I feel guilty about wanting that.
Maybe I should just come down with the flu – which I might. I can’t get a flu shot for another ten days.
Do you ever tell your kid a little lie, just to get through the moment? Just the other day, I told my four-year-old he will only get taller by eating Life cereal, not by eating Lucky Charms. I was trying to lead him to the less-sugary breakfast option—and he bought it. But now I feel bad. New research from the University of Toronto and the University of California at San Diego takes a closer look at how often “parenting by lying” takes place.
Studies showed parents reported they told their young kids that bad things would happen if they didn’t go to bed or eat what they were supposed to. Another study looked at college students’ recollections about their parents’ lying and concluded parents often do lie to their kids, even as they tell them lying is not acceptable!
The findings show that even the parents who most strongly promoted “honesty is the best policy” lied to their kids. My little lies make me feel a little bit guilty about just trying to get through the day.
“If you don’t get find your baseball glove and get into the car right this minute so we can get to your game on time, you will never get a team t-shirt in any season ever again,” I threatened my son. He looked concerned and on the verge of tears, but he got in there. Two minutes later, he was happily chewing bubble gum and singing “Shake It.” Did I do any harm? I don’t think so. But I may never know—until there are study findings on actual harm done by a little lying.