What Working Moms Ought To Know About Attending Daytime School Events

How on Earth Does Working Moms Manage To Attend Daytime School Events?

I often catch myself wondering if schools are built around at least one parent not working full time.

Dealing with the competing demands of daytime school events  plus meetings and deliverables in the office is a reality for working moms and dads.

RELATED: Dear Working Mother: Here Is How To Leave Work On Time

Current example

We have puzzle mornings taking place this term and parents are encouraged to sign up and join in  (sessions are 7h30am – 08h45am). A well-meaning comment from someone (I am not mentioning names but you know who you are): “are you only doing one puzzle morning, I see moms’ names down four to five times.”

Hold your horses buddy; I don’t look at what other parents do. I look at what I can do based on my circumstances.

I am sorry, I cannot just attend stuff happening at 8 am whenever I feel like it.

[bctt tweet=”I will do what I can based on my circumstances. I will not compare myself to other parents. Comparison is the thief of joy.” username=”cherralle_”]

Do not forget the important stuff

You don’t want your child to be the one child who did not wear slippers on Slipper Day (I did not forget this, by the way, it is merely an example).

Once I forgot that it was Barefoot Day (the fact that this is a thing was news to me). Thankfully, this was quite easily solved – her shoes were just removed. Close one!

A post shared by Cherralle (@mydailycake_) on

Then there is the omniscient Newsletter

Our weekly Newsletter is an all important document.  I have dubbed it: The Newsletter of Truth.

The Newsletter Of Truth pretty much controls my life. I look forward to reading it on a Friday afternoon!

Newsletter of Truth Rules

  1. If something is not in the Newsletter, it is not happening *
  2. If something is in The Newsletter, it is happening *
  3. If you have a question, first check The Newsletter

 

*No one can override the Newsletter of Truth, no one.

I joke, but in all fairness, the newsletter is packed with important information.  Such as show and tell themes for that week and any other things they need to bring to school. It really is zero effort to read it.

Top Tip: Buy a kiddie encyclopedia (with lots of pictures). This will cover the most show and tell topics.

Now, on a serious note. Although I like ranting and raving about the school stuff, I do enjoy taking part in my child’s education.

I don’t see education as something happening in school with a teacher. Education happens in school with parents and caregivers participating. It also happens at home.

Here is what I have learned over the last few years. I am a work in progress and by no means achieve this all the time.

What Working Moms Ought To Know About Attending Daytime School Events

 

working mom_attend preschool event

Plan ahead of time

A calendar is issued ahead of time (termly or monthly) allows parents to plan ahead. When you get the calendar, block out your work diary asap. The keyword here is ‘work diary.’ Not your personal google calendar.

Just block it out, and you can then work around that time. If any work meetings has to be scheduled, people will see that you are busy! And then you are in control of what you can and cannot make.

You can always work around work commitments and then decide which school events you can make.

RELATED: Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time: Top Tips for Mom and Baby

Prioritise

You may not attend the school baking day, but you would prefer to attend the sports day as you regard this as more important. It is okay to pick and choose the ones that you will attend.

Share the load

If both parents are up for it, you can make an arrangement where each parents takes a turn to attend a school function.

Currently, my husband and I split the school daytime events where it makes sense for us. Although, I do a bit more events as he takes the children to the doctor. That is what works for us right now.

Open communication with the teacher

Chat with your child’s school teacher at the start of the term about what you can and cannot make.

Teachers can step in and take care of kids whose parents don’t arrive. I have seen it at school functions where the teacher steps in. In this way, it is still a fun day for the children.

Yes, it is very challenging. However, active participation in our child’s schooling is essential. So, we need to make a plan.

A post shared by Cherralle (@mydailycake_) on

Some moments are priceless – and trade offs will be needed

I always think, I am not making the mothers tea at school, but I am making a meeting at work (let’s be honest, all meetings are not equally important). Where will be my presence make the most impact?

Seeing the joy on my daughter’s face when I catch her eye as she is sitting in class. I watch her as she nudges her friend next to her and tells her friend ‘There is MY mommy‘. That is priceless.

Yes we want to excel at work and pay the bills, but I think we should try.  Booking leave is an option if we need to.  And prioritize the most important events.

But try we have to.

How do you manage to attend daytime school events?

[bctt tweet=”Some moments are priceless – and trade offs will be needed to experience those moments” username=”cherralle_”]

 

 

The Side Hustle – 6 Things You Need To Get Your Game On

Did you know that the predicted average salary increase for 2018 in South Africa is 5.5%? That is an average people.

Petrol price, school fees and grocery costs increase regularly. The ever-increasing cost of living for a working parent is immense!

You can sit around and wait for the cost of living to catch up with you OR consider providing services in your personal capacity. In steps the side hustle.

[bctt tweet=”“Without hustle, your talent will only get you so far” – Gary Vaynerchuk” username=”cherralle_”]

Joshua Malinga* husband and father, manages a successful side hustle and explains that multiple income streams in a household are imperative.

In my view, it has become imperative for a household to have at least 2-3 streams of income other than your actual job in order for it to function at its potential. Personally it’s not only about it helping me afford my life but what I love about side hustling is that I gain exposure to more things that I would never have been exposed to in my 9 to 5 job – and in turn, I give people exposure to myself without being undervalued.
[bctt tweet=”What I love about side hustling is that I gain exposure to more things that I would never have been exposed to in my 9 to 5 job”  username=”cherralle_”]
 The motto is always ‘Hustle for your last name, not your first name.’ You start to realise that you can add value (and that you’re building on something) while getting paid to do what you ACTUALLY enjoy/love doing.
 
The challenge always arises when you now have to choose what prioritise (job + hustle + family) and that is where most people actually tell themselves they don’t have time. However the benefits always outweigh the stress.”

Thati from The Disruptors further shares advantages of having multiple income streams.

Here is What You need to get your Side Hustle Game On

side hustle what you need

1. A  Bankable Idea

Your bankable idea is something that you can provide to others and get paid for it.

Example:

  • Are you a goddess in the kitchen? Cook and freeze meals for working parents (I will pay for this!).
  • Have impressive technology or digital marketing skills? Provide website development or social media support as a side hustle.
  • A whiz with numbers? Provide financial services to small business owners.

Entrepreneur Magazine provides 20 ideas you may consider for a side hustle. Anyone can start a side hustleif they have an idea and they can apply themselves to the concept.

2. Focus and Discipline

A side hustle is just that, a ‘side’ hustle (until it grows to a point where it becomes your primary income stream).

You need to be able to kick ass at your day job (hey, you still need that one right).

Then go home, do what you need to and HUSTLE.

Self-organization is paramount, so you can ensure that your day job, side hustle and personal commitments all get the required attention.

Related Post: Ace Your To Do List with These 7 Tips

3. You will need to invest

Starting a side hustle may require start-up capital (not always the case). You may need to buy supplies or build a website, get branding, etc. SME South Africa found that 68% of entrepreneurs fund their investments from their savings to start with

4. Read up on company policy

Usually a company would be okay with your side hustle as long as it does not impact your ability to do your day job, and it is not an operation that is in direct competition with your company. However, get in touch with your HR person or read up! It won’t hurt.

Related Post: How to Say No At Work (and win respect while doing it)

5. Get your papers sorted!

Having multiple streams of income may lead to tax implications. Ensure that you meet the requirements. If it’s a small business and you run it as a sole proprietorship the conditions are very limited, read further here.

6. Passion

Go for something that makes you want to jump into another job when you get home from your day job. Pick something that naturally interests you.

Something where you do not mind giving up social events and leisure activities for.

Anne*, a Johannesburg based working mother, shares her view, “Side Hustles should not be seen as a betrayal to your employer or job. We have different parts to ourselves that can’t only be expressed in our 9-5.  It may be for financial reasons or fulfilling a different need.’

[bctt tweet=”A side hustle is not a betrayal to your day job. It’s a path to express other sides of ourselves that are not met at our jobs” username=”cherralle_”]

In Conclusion

Entrepreneur Magazine outlines an additional three crucial elements you need to start a side hustle.

A side hustle is a good idea if you want to increase financial stability through supplementing your income. Or you dream of owning your own business but need a ‘safe space’ to try it out first.

Follow your passion and make smart money decisions.

*Names changed

Chime in! Do you have side hustle? How do you manage balancing your day job and your side hustle? Are you thinking of starting one?

Dear Working Mother – Here Is How To Leave Work On Time (most days)

In the modern corporate world, there is the mistaken assumption, that  ‘working late equals working harder.’ There is also a bias towards working mothers (parents) who need to leave work at a particular time, while other colleagues are still working.

I refute the belief that staying late equals working harder. Maybe. But I am not convinced. At all.

A better way to assess levels of productivity is by looking at outputs and not by who sticks around until late.

Related Post: Build your own work life balance: plus free work life balance check list

Often we are encouraged to ‘work hard,’ and ‘stretch ourselves’. Yes, that it is important, however, it is essential to set boundaries. Whether it is to get home to your child, go gym or because you have band practice (I am just saying, it could be anything).

This is how to get time back into your day, get things done and leave on time.

Let go of the guilt when you pick up your bag to leave the office!

[bctt tweet=”Dear Working mother – here is how to leave the office on time (by being focused on getting things done)” username=”cherralle_”]

Dear Working Mother – Here Is How To Leave Work On Time

dear working mother how to leave work on time

Plan your day and Focus on the right things

Do you start your day with no idea what your priorities are? Following a haphazard approach to whatever comes your way?  – if yes then there is an opportunity to plan your day.

When you get to work, become laser focused on your main priorities. Use whichever system works for you. I have set up for myself a hybrid between a Bullet Journal and a Planner, I copy this layout (more or less) in my work notebook. You may download the planner template here.

Outline your main focus areas for the week.

Set this up Sunday evening or Monday morning. Then, each morning spend 3 – 5 minutes outlining what will be your top three goals for the day. Yes, only three then tackle at least one before you read emails. The items you do not complete get carried over to the next day and so on.  You should also add other tasks to your list. However, you know what the top 3 are.

Yes, you will have unexpected deliverables that will pop up, but you will always keep coming back to your three primary goals.

And yes, also add your personal tasks. Need to make a school fees payment or book a dentist appointment? Add it on to your to-do list.

Related Post7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

Number one productivity killer is meetings

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Do you sit in a meeting and go ‘why was I invited to this meeting’ or ‘I could be doing actual work right now’ – if yes then there is an opportunity to rework your meeting schedule.

Here is a crazy thought, cancel 50% of your meetings and you will get more done! Okay, easier said than done. Let’s take a more pragmatic approach.

Firstly, accept that a meeting is not ‘work’.
Meetings are discussing and organising work. Here are a few excellent points on how to make a meeting productive.

Reevaluating and cutting the time you spend in meetings will undoubtedly make you more productive and allow you to leave work on time. Politely decline meetings you feel are not relevant to your priorities.

[bctt tweet=”Struggling to leave work on time? Tip: assess your meetings, then ask yourself are they all necessary?” username=”cherralle_”]

Related Post: Ace Your To Do List with These 7 Tips

Use time blocks and get more done

A practice I have implemented for myself is to block out 2 -3 hours in my diary daily for PURE work. No meetings. All meetings get scheduled around this time if need be. I also block out 16h00 – 17h00, so I have no meetings after 16h00 (so I can wrap up at the end of my day). It works 90% of the time, which is progress.

Working over time, leads to decreased productivity

Continually working over time will reduce your productivity. As work hours add up to over 50 per week, productivity slows down. You may lose energy and start working slower. You can read further about this study as summarised in the Economist.

But, don’t take my word for it. Reflect upon your health and pace of work. Do you really feel that you are productive at work when you have been pushing 12 hours days? When you are always under pressure to stay late at work? When you are wrecked with guilt because its another day you miss supper or bath time?

In Closing

Time is a valuable resource. Our jobs need our time and dedication, but so does our friends, family, and personal commitments.

Long hours does not equal doing more. It’s pretty simple: Prioritize, evaluate your time spent in meetings and learn to set boundaries.

Pin this post if you enjoyed it!

 

10 Things a Working Mother Needs to Survive

Being a working mom is tough.

Dealing with work demands, family pressures and still making time for yourself is a huge task.

But,  you do what you need to do to get things done, and you should feel proud. 

[bctt tweet=”10 tips a Working mother needs to survive! #1 online shopping and express delivery!” username=”cherralle_”]

Here are ten things a working mother needs to survive

working mother tips

Reliable and safe care during the day for your child

Having your child taken care of during the day is your TOP priority as working mother. Therefore, do as much research as you can, and understand what works for you and your family, whether it’s in the home (nanny) or out of home care. Tracy  from Liam & Cole shares her view on to nanny or not to nanny.

Hand picked post: Parenting Humour – Confessing my 7 Parenting double standards

Shop online and get stuff delivered

It is highly recommended that you get comfortable with online shopping and get stuff delivered. It is marvellous! You can buy groceries, clothes, stationery, anything you need! My favourite delivery service right now is Uber Eats! It has saved me a million times.

[bctt tweet=”Shop online and get stuff delivered. Unless you get to go grocery shopping alone. ALONE. Heaven!” username=”cherralle_”]

Lowered cleaning standards

I have spoken about this before in my post about how to find more time as a working mother, let go of the cleaning standards. It’s okay if the house is a mess. Trust me there is no house cleaning police. My tip – tidy up at the end of the day or even better, right at the end of the weekend.

Coffee, Glorious Coffee

how a working mother survives

You will need your coffee. You will need to it to push through the day, like a lifeline. Oh, and it will get cold. [bctt tweet=”A working mother knows why mama bear’s porridge was cold.” username=”cherralle_”]

A good family support structure

An excellent family support is vital to survive being a working mother. For me, having a husband who is super engaged in our family life is critical.

Limit your driving time/ commute where possible

You need to figure this one out as a reduction in a long commute will save you so much time and energy.

One way to work around this is to negotiate a flexible arrangement with your boss. Example, you could choose a day, and make that your ‘work from home day’.

Hand picked blog post: 7 Things A Working Mother Wants to Tell Her Boss

Wine, Wine, Wine, (or whatever your ‘mommy juice’ of choice is)

working mother wine

I am going to just leave this one here. Moms will get it!

Shared family calendar

It’s important to set up a family calendar where you and your partner can have a view of key family events. For us its very simple, it is a calendar on google docs that my husband and I access.

Back up hairstyles for when you did not have time to sort your hair out

Come on admit it; you know you have your hairstyle for those in-between days when your hair just doesn’t make sense! You have got to have something up your sleeve for those days.

Last but not least, letting go of perfection

Enjoy your babies, let things go a little and relax. [bctt tweet=”Parenting is not perfect, but a mother’s love is” username=”cherralle_”]

 

Share this with your working mama friends or tag them. You can’t keep this all to yourself can you?

 

 

 

 

7 Things A Working Mother Wants To Tell Her Boss

Being a working mother is not easy. Bias against mothers is one of the most potent forms of bias known to women. There are many things a working mother wants to tell her boss, but half the time don’t.

I am lucky as my bosses are mothers (mostly) and that helps me a lot. However, many working mothers find themselves faced with situations where their needs are not understood.

Here are 7 things a working mother wants to tell her boss (but don’t)

women working on laptop_C

Yes, it is normal for kids to get this sick this often. I really cannot help it.

When they get sick, and that feeling of unease comes. The night before we hope that the medicine will do the trick. Then in the morning, it is clear that our child is sick. Again. The pressure sinks in of all the meetings and deliverables that will be missed.

Not even to mention when they start daycare. Then the fun really starts! The doctor’s bills go through the roof and the days off begin adding up. As a mother, all I can is: it is what it is.

Related Post: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

Actually, no one wants to do a meeting at 8 am.

Ahem. I don’t think anyone wants to do a meeting at 8 am. But, it comes down to being singled out as the reason why the 8 am meeting cannot happen. When in fact, no one wanted it in the first place.

You feel me?

To be honest, everyone wants flexibility – not just parents

Employees are human beings and want flexibility too even if they are not parents (*shocked face* emoji).

Just because someone is not a parent does not mean they don’t have needs outside of the office too!

Whether that is the gym, meeting with friends, or volunteering. Everyone wants flexibility at some stage. Life does not happen in a neat little box after 5 pm and on weekends.

[bctt tweet=”Life does not happen in a neat little box after 5 pm and weekends. We are not robots!” username=”cherralle_”]

Do not assume that my ambition had changed when I became a mom.

working mother wants to tell her boss

Do not assume that a working mother wants to ‘slow down’ her career. This assumption hardly gets made towards working fathers, hence ask and listen to what she has to say. If yes then cool. But don’t assume.

Yes, It would be helpful If there is a breast pumping facility at work.

Yeah I said it.

A bathroom, a closet, in the back of the car is not an okay place for a mother to express her milk. Be considerate. We are not saying go ALL out and organize a whole nursery. The basics such as a room, with a basin, and a door that locks is the bare minimum (most moms may have their cooler bag to store their milk). I wrote here about the reality of pumping breast milk at work.

Yes, I can still get my job done.

Working mothers are exceptionally hard workers. As they know, they need to leave work at a particular time. Very often, working mothers put in a second shift at home after hours.

Don’t assume I cannot do something that requires travel.

Just don’t assume anything period. Ask. Like you would ask for anything else. Maybe I want that trip out of town for one night, to sleep in for the first time in four years. Yeah. Four years. Four years a mom.

There you have it! Becoming a mother makes woman awesome leaders. They are better at time management, delegation, and just know how to GET STUFF DONE.

Share this post if you agree!

 

How you can build your own unique work life balance: Plus free check list to help you figure it out

Work-life balance, having work and life on opposing sides with just the perfect amount of time spent on each side – is not achievable. This pursuit of perfection will never happen. Life is messy.  Instead, focus on building your unique lifestyle where you are okay with how you prioritize different elements of your life. That is a work-life  balance (or integration) to me.

Teaching others how you want to be treated is a key element of work-life balance. By setting boundaries, we teach others how we want to be treated.

Handpicked Post: You worked so hard this week! 5 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself over the weekend

You cannot blame your boss or your company. It starts with you.

[bctt tweet=”You need to set boundaries and teach others around you how you want to be treated.” username=”cherralle_”]

Vintage filter, Green lotus leaf at garden.

Setting boundaries when establishing your work life integration

Setting boundaries are a cliché, but it is one of thee most important things in achieving your unique work-life blend. If the environment remains unreceptive to you, then you need to decide whether it is the right environment.

Answer these questions for yourself:

– Are you taking work calls after 18h00/19h00 during your personal/ family/ dinner time?

– Do you ‘avail’ yourself when you are meant to be on vacation

-Missing out on key family and school events?

– Do you happily take on assignments on a Friday due for Monday on a recurring basis? In this, you know that it means a hard slog on the weekend?

Now if all of these things above make you feel fulfilled and challenged then that is okay! However, if it bothers you, you should set boundaries.

Handpicked Post: 7 Reasons Why I Am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Children

If the above scenarios are habits, it means you have a boundary issue.

Download the Free Work-Life Balance Checklist to understand which boundaries you need to set up.

family photography toddler natural hair

 

Set boundaries and teach others how you want to be treated

It takes a firm commitment to your life choices to stand up and tell someone very senior… ‘actually I cannot tend to a regular 18h00 session’. However, it must be done, and the change starts with you. Look for opportunities in your space where you can challenge the status quo. Keep it professional, flexible and always keep the deliverable in mind and work towards that.

[bctt tweet=”Be flexible in your boundaries, but be firm. Create your style of work life integration and own it. ” username=”cherralle_”]

It is important to be flexible in your boundaries, but you need to define your lifestyle. Then work towards that.

Handpicked Post: Mama, How to Say yes to more play time with your children

The trade offs

Many trade-offs happen as you start to take ownership of your situation. You might rub some people up the wrong way, but you have to start somewhere. Unfortunately, a culture permeates through many organisations that if you are not ‘always on,’ you are simply not working hard enough.

If working mothers don’t challenge the culture of ‘always working’ who will? I think that working mothers (and fathers in fact) are the ones who can have the biggest impact on company culture. The price that working parents will need to pay to sustain the culture of ‘always working’ is too high. And that will serve as motivation to challenge the status quo.

So, pick one thing in your life that you will change today to improve your work-life balance. Whether it’s leaving on time, not logging on on a Sunday, or eating lunch away from your desk. Just that one thing. Go. Do. It.

Download this Work-Life Balance Checklist to understand which boundaries you need to set up.

Tell me in the comments, what is your tip for work life integration?

You worked so hard this week! 5 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself over the Weekend

You get to the end of the week, and all you want is to collapse on the couch and do the bare minimum.  Do you remember when Friday nights became ‘rest night‘? Somewhere in my early to mid-twenties for me. The thought of going home and doing nothing on a  Friday night is so freaking exciting!

When the weekend approaches, and you had a hectic week it’s easy to do just let the weekend run away with you, without really resting or having fun.

Handpicked Post: Moms, Say yes to more play with your children

relax on weekend

Here are a few simple ways to treat  yourself over the weekend

Do something unproductive just because

Not everything that we do have to be linked to being productive. Do a series marathon (Greys anyone?), go for a walk, draw, anything. Just enjoy yourself. I am experiencing a time crunch with my studies, work, life, blog. Each free moment is planned for. You know what, sometimes its okay to just be and throw out the planner.

Further Reading: 7 Tips to Get More Time for Yourself and Your Family

Leave space on the weekend to just enjoy being home

Keep your weekend somewhat open so you can just relax and enjoy. Often we over schedule our weekends and do not rest at all. You need to use the word ‘no’ at times.  By saying no to things, you are in fact saying yes to yourself.

[bctt tweet=”By saying ‘no’ to certain things, you are in fact saying ‘yes’ to yourself. ” username=”cherralle_”]

I find that as it gets difficult to travel and go anywhere with the two children, what with baby bags and routines. It is easier just to stay home. Where they cannot run away. Crawl away. Or throw public tantrums. Just stay put in a manageable environment. However, we do make time for special outings and visiting friends.

weekend coffee working mom

Pick a place you have never been

Google your area, and find palace you have never been and go there. Sometimes its good to just focus and be present in your surroundings. You don’t need to go very far. Just explore your town. I LOVE stationery and bookshops so I will find one anywhere.  I can spend hours in a stationery shop, the amount of notebooks and stationery I actually buy, is gets out of control at times. However, how am I supposed to write in only one color? No,  I need 10 colours.

Unplug from work and your phone

Turn off those emails and disconnect from work. Weekends are a time for relaxation and to recharge. The best thing for me is to leave my phone in another room for blocks oftime, so I don’t get distracted by it.

Hide from the kids

Yes I do, I admit I do. This is my moments of peace, whether the kids nap or not. I need my 30 min – 1 hour of peace during the weekend where I hide and read (or whatever).

You don’t need to read; you can do anything you want when you hide from the kids. Just find the right space to hide. The number one rule is to just act casual, like it is just another Saturday afternoon.

The key is to have them engrossed in something  together then slip away silently. Only do it if there is an adult present to look after the children you are hiding from OK!

[bctt tweet=”It is okay to hide from the children to steal a moment – but only if another adult is present!” username=”cherralle_”]

I realised  that with kids the bulk of the weekend is all about them and I need to carve out a some time to step away when I can. For my own sanity.

What do you do when you had a hectic week?

Handpicked Post: Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mom

Images: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

The Maternal Wall: How to Disrupt Bias Against Working Mothers

“One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children”, states Clair Cain Miller in the New York Times.

Given an identical CV to review, with only 4 words added to the one (member of the PTA); 79% of participants chose the candidate who is not a mother. Mothers are 50% less likely to get promoted. These are stats shared  by Joanne C Williams. A further study cited in the  Journal of Social Studies backs this up, where it was found that subtly adding to a candidate profile that she was a  mother, led to the mother being less likely to be chosen for assignments, promoted and marked as less competent. A maternal wall is a form of bias towards women  because they have children. Therefore, it is the strongest form of bias faced by women.

[bctt tweet=”‘Maternal Wall’ is the strongest form of bias faced by women, just because they have children.” username=”cherralle_”]

In this post I will discuss:

  • What is maternal bias, and how it shows up
  • Steps women can take to disrupt the maternal wall bias
  • Steps employers can take to disrupt the maternal wall bias

Related Post: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt – Why You Should Feel Proud Of Being a Working Mom

photoshoot parents and child

What is maternal wall bias

Maternal wall bias kicks in as soon as women have children,  subtly their career prospects are impacted. It is linked to perceptions regarding how a mother should behave, where her place is and an assumption that she will pick the ‘mommy track’. Mommy track is defined as a path selected by mothers who choose to put their family first and ‘opt out’ of a career. Mothers are seen as less competent than childless counterparts. On the other hand mothers are also seen as ‘harsh and cold’ if they remain committed to their careers.

I have experienced this form of unconscious bias when I get asked why I stay late at work, ‘because I have children’. However, this question is not asked of my colleagues with no kids. Which is absurd as staying late at work impacts employees whether they have children or not.  “What are your kids and husband having for supper?”, I have been asked. These are well-meaning questions and not meant to do any harm, but it demonstrates unconscious bias and judgment that working mothers face. “You are not interested in a career path are you, your child needs you?”, I was asked by a well-meaning individual.

Undesirable employees, who are unable to commit is an incorrect perception of working mothers, which is part of the maternal wall bias. Seen as full of ‘issues’ and ‘not committed’. On the other hand, when working mothers remain career committed and ambitions they are deemed to be ‘not maternal enough’  and made out to be ‘cold’, as stated in the Harvard Business Review.

mother and daughter

How mothers may disrupt the maternal wall bias

As discussed by Joan C Williams.

Set realistic standards for yourself

Know that being available 24/7 for your kids all the time is not possible. Let go of perfectionism, and accept that striving for perfection will cause additional stressors in family life.

Related Post: Featured: Why I Am Okay With Being a Good Enough Parent

If you remain career committed, signal it very clearly

When you return from maternity leave, make a point of discussing your career goals with your manager. If you want to be promoted,  willing to travel, relocate and if you are the primary earner – you need state this clearly. If you do not state this explicitly, certain assumption will be made for you.

Related Post: Maternity Leave: 5 Practical Steps To Make Returning To Work Easier

Strive for equal parenting if it suits your value system

Provided you are not a single parent. Know that you are not solely accountable for the well-being of your child and family. Engage and discuss with your partner how to share home responsibilities.

If you are a mother in a senior position, you must be a role model

You are in a position to set an example for others when you reach a level in the organisation when you have people who report to you. By showing your motherhood and announcing when you need to leave early for an event at your child’s school, sets the tone for the environment. Very importantly, it creates a space to allow mothers and fathers to be open about their parenthood.

Related Post: Do I Still Need To Lean In When I Am Just So Tired?

How employers may disrupt the maternal wall bias

Promotions, salary, and assignments need to be free of bias

Review policies and processes to ensure that this bias does not come into play. When making employment decisions, someone’s care giver status cannot be a factor.

Adopt a flexible approach to work

One way to overcome bias is to apply more flexibility for all employees (care givers included). Work becomes about outcomes and not the hours clocked. The reality is that caregivers do need the flexibility to provide adequate care for their children (or ill family members).

[bctt tweet=”Adopting a flexible approach to work can negate the effects of bias that working mothers face ” username=”cherralle)”]

Do not make assumptions

An employer should never assume anything because someone is a mother. Example, not awarding someone a new stretch role because she has just returned from maternity leave. It remains key to discuss each assignment with a mother as you would with any other person. Then let the individual advise if there are constraints.

 

Pregnant woman and child

Scheduling main activities after hours on a recurring basis

I accept that we do not live in a fairy tale where every thing happens before 17h00, and in some high pressure environments this is a reality. The point about late meetings links to the point about flexibility. If an environment demands late meetings there should be flexibility to accommodate early days. Then it balances out.

Scheduling key and strategic activities after hours impact working mothers. In my opinion, this is a subtle and gentle way of nudging mothers out of the work force. If a working mother is constantly  (unconsciously) expected to choose between a career and her children, given a choice she will pick her kids. After being constantly placed in this position, women may opt to leave the work force or ‘down scale’ their career.

I am a career committed parent

My approach to my work and life, is being flexible, focused and outcome oriented. My role as a mother is who I am.  I am a career committed parent.

Read further: The Side of Motherhood That We Do Not Post On Instagram

Working mothers are excellent employees in my opinion!

Working mothers are focused, don’t waste time, and drive for results. They know they have a set amount of time within which to work. They are also natural leaders, because they co-lead families, and they have agility. You need agility to be able to deal with everything a parent has to deal with, lack of sleep, tantrums, homework, planning meals, school functions, family projects, and the list goes on.

[bctt tweet=”Allow mothers the space to be mothers. Mothers are excellent employees, they drive for results. ” username=”cherralle_”]

The reality is that most women will end up having children. The reality is that fatherhood is changing, fathers WANT to play a stronger role in the family too. It is time to sit up and take note of this. If we want to create companies and governments with the best leadership talent, we need men and women to lead.

Have you positively disrupted  the maternal wall in your career? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image: pixabay

Image: pixabay

Moms, Step and Play with Your Kids| How To Say Yes To More Playtime

Are you a working mom who is kicking ass and taking names at work?

And you are giving your all to make time for your family but you struggle with work life balance?

We all know this is not a perfect balance, but we are all doing our best.

I have just completed reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of YesOne of the ideas that resonate with me is that of saying  ‘yes’ to our children.

Saying ‘yes’ to our children when they want to play and be with us is easier than we think. Okay not all the time, I am a realist too.

Shonda states that when she plays with her kids, they can only play with her for about 15 minutes before they want to move on.

Do you have 15 minutes? She asks.

[bctt tweet=”Say ‘Yes’ to your children when they ask to play with you, 15 min is doable” username=””]

Related Post7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

We are out there being awesome at work.

Are you kicking ass and taking names at work?

Saying ‘yes’ to your mentors, sponsors and to those stretch assignments?

Are you putting up with a horrible boss at work?

Let’s also say ‘yes’ to our children and ourselves.

This is how it plays out mamas, admit it:

  • Mommy, please play with me outside-  Not now angel, I need to do the dishes. Just say ‘yes’.

 

  • There is a moms’ tea at my daughter’s playschool. Should I go? Gosh my diary is a nightmare…. – Just say ‘yes’ to the moms’ tea at least sometimes. We know how we can never make the moms’ tea because its smack bang in the middle of the work. But let’s just say ‘yes’ once.

[bctt tweet=”Just ‘say yes’ to playing with your kids. It will mean the world to them and you.” username=”cherralle_”]

 

 

What are some steps you can take to say ‘Yes’ to yourself and your children?

1. Weekends.

Spend time focusing on yourself and your family on weekends. Always aim to close off what you need to do on a Friday.

Then get on the floor and just play with your children.

2. When you leave work, really leave.

Okay, this is  personal, as each person needs to find their way of working. Some people, leave work earlier and then catch up in the evening after the kids are down.

Only you can hold yourself accountable for the focus you are giving. Reach out to a mentor if you are struggling, see next point. I wrote a post on this topic, Dear Working Mother, Here is How To Leave Work On Time.

3. Have a mentor who is a working mother.

We all need to have multiple mentors. Have at least one working mom that you can learn from in your personal ‘board of directors’. The challenges and guilt that you face as a working mom are unique. You will have someone you can be open with about your unique life.

4. The Sunday.

This use to be my own issue I created for myself. Working on Sundays, to ‘prepare’ for Monday.

I stopped that  as I decided to take back my Sunday evenings to read, watch a movie, spend time with my husband, whatever. That has helped me to say ‘yes’ to myself on a Sunday evening.

[bctt tweet=”I stopped working on Sundays to ‘prepare’ for Mondays because it just made me unhappy on a Sunday night. Take back your Sunday!” username=”cherralle”]

Let’s say yes to being more present

Let’s say ‘yes’ to spending time with our children, being present, they are only this little once.

In my daughters’ eyes (who is three years old) I am a ROCK STAR!! I am her ROCK STAR and I will work on saying ‘yes’ more to her (when she is not driving me nuts).

In which ways can you create more time for play?

Further Reading:

Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes: 5 Key Lessons (and why you need this book in your life)

Do I Still Need To Lean In When I Am Just So Tired?

 

Bye Bye Mommy Mom Guilt – Benefits of Being a Working Mother

I was coming home from work late one evening. I arrived home and both children were already asleep. And I felt so guilty for not seeing my children that evening. Needing to remind myself of the benefits of being a working mother has come important.

The never ending mommy guilt. Do you feel guilty all the time?

Guilty for not being the one to take my daughter to the doctor when she is sick, guilty for only seeing my children about two – three hours a day in the week (reality for most working moms).

Have you ever sent a sick child to crèche? I have. Guilty.

Ditch the mommy guilt, and let’s focus on the benefits of being a working mother

Related Post: Dear Working Mother – Here is How To Leave Work On Time

Working moms contribute towards gender equality

Having a working mom shows girls and boys that men and women can both contribute in and outside the home.  In fact, a Harvard study has shown that girls grow up to be more open to careers and boys grow up more empathetic and do more housework. For girls and boys, seeing their mom work outside the home embeds in their values that women should have equal access to opportunities. It creates a mental model that woman have choices, and having a career is an option, alongside out other roles. Similarly, when moms work, that means that dads would typically step in more at home. Fathers helping around the house has a significant impact on reducing gender stereotyping regarding what men and women should and should not do.

[bctt tweet=”Let us focus on things we should be proud of as moms and not feel guilty” username=”cherralle_”]

Working for what you want in life – work ethic

Having a working mom apply herself to her profession, role models good work ethic in children. It teaches our children that if we want to achieve goals and ambitions, we must put in effort. The best way to encourage our children to work  hard towards their goals is to role model this behaviour.

[bctt tweet=”To encourage our children to work  hard towards their goals is to role model this behaviour.” username=”cherralle_”]

It’s called lights

Let’s not forget that as a working mom you also help with the bills. And typically in a home where the mom is working, it is a two income household (not always but typically). A two income family have a higher standard of living, and this positively impacts the lifestyle of the household, i.e. better schools, vacations, more exposure in general. That is a real benefit for the entire family.

 

 

Independence in kids

Being a working mom, means that your family time is limited.  And so your children will need to do certain things on their own as they grow up. This does not mean leaving a child to fend for itself, but you know what, the little tasks they will need to sort out for themselves will help them in the long run. Learning to tidy up, make their own snacks and being responsible in different ways.

[bctt tweet=”Having a working mom helps kids build independence” username=”cherralle_”]

At the end of it all, you need to be comfortable with how you are finding your own work life ‘integration’. We are all doing our best to look after our families. I hope the benefits of being a working mother outlines above, helps you to see the other side.

When the guilt comes be kind to yourself, and moms be kind to each other.

Related Posts: Working Mom – 7 Tips to Find More Time For Yourself and Your Family