A Mother’s Day Message: Modern Moms Want to Work

Think for a moment – how many mothers do you work side-by-side with? I’ll bet you know someone right off the top of your head.

Mother’s Day is a time to honor dear old Mom for all the good things she did to raise us right, but it should also be a time to recognize the 71 percent of mothers who do all that amazing stuff while holding down a full-time job.

After a decades-long decline of so-called “stay-at-home” moms, their numbers are plateauing in the 21st Century, and the message is clear: Modern moms want to work.

But according to a recent Pew Research study, 56 percent of working moms find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family life. This has to end, if only for dear old mom’s sake!

A second job

Working mothers, on average, devote 11 hours a week to child care. That’s a minimum really, since as any parent knows it entirely depends on the kid. Add on a stressful job that takes up 40 plus hours a week, layer in the small issue of a highly visible and well-documented gender pay gap, and you’ve got yourself a cake of inequity that nobody would eat on their birthday, let alone a mom on Mother’s Day.

Keep in mind that for the most part, society expects every mother to conform to this standard of living without question. The more things change, it seems, the more things stay the same.

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A Mother’s Day wish

This Mother’s Day, let’s think about the ways we can make work less of a burden on all the working moms out there.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Recognition – Recognize the moms in your organization with a special something for Mother’s Day. More important, recognize the balancing act they do to juggle family and work – and don’t stop there. According to the same Pew study, 50 percent of working dads also find it difficult to balance work and family, and Gallup tells us that 70 percent of all employees aren’t engaged. So keep it up year-round for everyone. It’s a simple fact that the nicer you are to people, the more they enjoy working with you.
  • Salary audits – According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women can expect to earn, on average, 78 percent of what their male counterparts make. The gender pay gap is real, so it’s a good idea to do salary audits to make sure you’re on the right side of it. Remember that the gender pay gap exists for all women, and is present in nearly every occupation.
  • Flexible schedules – Working mothers often need flexibility in their schedules to balance work, life, and family properly. Be aware of this and willing to work around it, but also keep open lines of communications and touch base with your working mothers often so you can stay ahead of it. This is especially important in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries, where a majority of schedules are given only a week or less in advance.

Yes, working mother IS redundant

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 10, so remember to recognize the considerable discretionary effort it takes for all the moms out there to show up to work day after day.

As Erma Bombeck once put it, the phrase “working mother” is rather redundant.

Cord Himelstein has helped HALO Recognition become one of the leading providers of employee rewards, recognition and incentive solutions. Since 2007, he has been responsible for leading the company’s strategic marketing initiatives and communications efforts. Cord works closely with customers to help them develop measurable workforce recognition strategies and create memorable experiences for their employees.

Cord is also a recognized thought leader in the human resources community, and is a regular contributor to the company's corporate blog, where his articles have enjoyed national exposure through major HR publications including SHRM, Workspan, TLNT, Smartbrief, and Entrepreneur. Prior to joining HALO Recognition, Cord worked in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years, where he held senior positions with Elektra Entertainment and EMI Music Group.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cord-himelstein-970b375


2 Comments on “A Mother’s Day Message: Modern Moms Want to Work

  1. Lame title. The implication is that moms who want to stay home with their kids aren’t modern? That choosing to care for kids is not work? Throwing in the Bombeck quote doesn’t mitigate the lameness of the title. You can do better, encourage support of moms in the workplace without implying criticism of those who make other choices. Please.

    1. I’d really love for you to tell me what a better title would be, because I struggled trying to get a headline that would both pull readers in AND not imply criticism. It’s a challenge on this one, and your criticism aside, it’s a good article on Moms and how their lives continue to change as more and more of them work.

      There is no implied criticism of Moms here. I’m not sure where you are getting that from, but somehow, I knew that there would be people like you who would come out to send some zings of some sort. Sigh. Impossible to do right by people like you on this topic. Maybe we shouldn’t even try? That seems to be your answer …

  2. I would also disagree that modern moms want to work – I believe most of us have to work. I know a fair amount of women (and some men) who would prefer to stay home, but their spouses either don’t make enough, have experienced frequent layoffs, or some similar challenge. Cost of living and lower salaries are certainly a factor – it becomes increasingly difficult to support a family. I have two small children and would love to stay home, but our local taxes and mortgage (on a tiny house) are outrageous.
    For many of us, there simply is no choice.

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