Career women can also be career moms

Having recently returned back to work from maternity leave I realize how fortunate I am to work with a company who not only speaks to the New World of  Work, but who practices it too. I see the other mom’s on the tea party circuit faced with what can end up being a rather traumatic decision of whether to go back to work or be a stay at home mom, and realize how crazy it is that this decision even has to be made, and just how few companies are tapping into this valuable resource , aka ‘the mother’, to create a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

So here’s my suggestion, instead of insisting these mom’s should be at your office from 8am to 5pm, or even 8am to 1pm if they’ve been ‘lucky enough’ to have been offered a half day job, why not consider working on an outcomes based principal – and enabling the mom’s to work from home most of the time – having roaming desks for when they need to come into the office. All this isn’t a new concept, just concepts that aren’t used as effectively as they could be.

By offering this flexibility you automatically gain the full attention of the mother when she’s focused on her work – not distracted while she wonders what her precious bundle is up to at home with the nanny or how he’s coping at day care? This flexibility also gives back up to 2 hours that would have been spent in traffic – wasted. You will also gain the respect from these mom’s who appreciate you taking their needs into consideration and will reward you for that in return with the effort they put back.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the time spent some mornings with other mom’s where I can talk about all things baby, but I also love knowing that my opinion and talents that were appreciated and used before being a mom can still add value, and when I do work it’s without the guilty conscious of abandoning my child to go to work. I don’t feel that I work any less effectively than previously – in fact I would say my time management has improved drastically. Before Layla, 10 minutes was such a small piece of time, now if I have a free 10 minutes I can cross at least 6 things off my to do list, and if you think woman can multi-task well in general, wait until you see a mother multi-task!

The hours I work are no less than what they used to be – yes, I enjoy the odd tea party during the week, but technology allows me to check and respond to any urgent emails or queries where ever I am. My day doesn’t end at 5pm either – I have my laptop open at 8pm making sure my work is done for the day. It might not work for you, but it sure works for me and my baby, and the bottom line is, that it’s working just as well for the guys I work for as well!

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Jude Foulston

Jude Foulston

Jude Foulston is a mom to a daughter and son, who currently adventure their way through educating from home. She is the co-founder of Future Smart Parent, a platform for parents who are parenting a little differently, yet very much intentionally for a changing world, and a director at TomorrowToday Global

3 Responses

  1. Sounds great that you have found the best of both worlds! I must admit, I have been plagued by that question since I had my daughter 9 yrs ago. Should I stay home or go to work. I’ve tried both options, but an currently at home and mostly happy, though it has its ups and downs. The great part is having enough time to focus on the kids and their needs. I have realised though that I need to find structured ways to be consistently involved in my personal interests and passions and in society in order to have meaningful and fulfilling days.

  2. Agree with you Holly – companies do need to embrace the technology that is available to make working remotely an option to suit both the parent and employer. I think that mothers need to stand up for what we want in the workplace so that employers know where they need to adapt.

  3. Sadly companies that preach innovation for their clients, don’t embrace that innovation with their staff. And when it’s convinient for an employee to work remotely from Cape Town or Durban it’s acceptable, but when it’s for a child it’s not. South Africa hasn’t embraced technology to retain mother’s in the work force, and dogmatic rules seem to be the norm.

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