Being a working mom is hard, sometimes so hard it’s overwhelming. And definitely harder in some places in the world than others.
In Canada, we enjoy some pretty good maternity leave. In the USA, people are not as fortunate, as far as I understand it. And in other places, things can get downright weird.
Example: earlier this year, Megumi Kaneko, Japan’s then-vice minister of internal affairs, was criticized for taking her one-year-old son to daycare in her official vehicle – even though the day-care center was in the same building as her office. Newspapers reportedly accused her of using an official vehicle for private purposes, which I think many people would agree is weird, no? What was she supposed to do? Drive him there in her own car, drop him off, then go home and get the company car and come back?
Regardless, I think we can all agree that being a working mom is hard. And the exhaustion and constant mental overload are made even worse by the feeling that we’re always dropping some ball or other, that something always has to suffer in favour of something else. I never feel like I’ve done everything I’ve had to do in a day. Never.
This is perpetuated by the stereotyping of working moms as less effective on the job market, something that isn’t changing as quickly as it should be.
And guess what! I just discovered a study from Cornell University that found that women with children were perceived as less competent than women without children, were offered lower starting salaries and were six times less likely to be recommended for hire than childless women. Men, meanwhile, were not penalized for, and sometimes benefited from, being a parent.
Granted, in Canada, you can argue that there are laws against this sort of thing but you’d have a heck of a time proving it. And if you’re a mom, and having a hard time getting a job, this could be a reason.
It’s basically infuriating.
Working moms are superheroes and should be sought after by employers everywhere. Here are three reasons why working moms are the best.
1. We work insane hours and live to tell about it.
A recent study found that when you factor in both jobs and family duty, moms work nearly 100 hours a week. The study of 2,000 American mothers with children ages 5 to 12 found that “the average working mom clocks in a 98-hour workweek,” typically starting the day at 6:23 a.m. and ending at 8:31 p.m. This is a 14-hour day.
If you’re reading this and thinking “This is news? Tell me something I don’t know,” you’re probably a working mom.
Then we get up the next day and do it again.
These are the people companies should be seeking out — people who know how to get stuff done.
2. Parents are actually more dedicated to their jobs than non-parents.
Great Place to Work has just surveyed more than 400,000 employees at hundreds of companies, and found that parents “actually display more signs of dedication to their organizations than their co-workers without kids.”
While many seem to have the impression that parents are less devoted to their jobs than non-parents, the study found that “If anything, parents are even more committed to their work when providing for their families adds additional meaning to their labour.”
3. Your kids turn out better.
A Harvard study conducted a couple of years ago found that adult women whose moms worked outside the home earn higher wages, and are more likely to have jobs themselves, and to hold supervisory positions at those jobs than women whose mothers stayed home full time. Also, men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for their families than men whose moms didn’t work outside.
And that is good for everyone, the economy, the workforce, and the world.
Working moms are great. Everyone should hire us.
At the end of the day, we do have it better in Canada than in many other places. But if you have an inkling that your children might affect your chances of getting hired (like the office seems like the sort of place where everyone is expected to go out bowling or for after-work drinks twice a week, or they’re not a “team player”), maybe don’t mention them until afterwards. Then it will be too late to fire you.
What has your experience been like as a working mom or parent? Have you found it to be limiting or had a different or opposite experience? See also: Where the hiring will be in Canada over the next few months