I’ve been a proud member of the working world for a decade now, and it has just occurred to me that over half of that time, I’ve been a working mom. I’m not saying that makes me an expert, but I do think I’ve learned some valuable things about myself and the other moms I’ve worked with along the way.
Why Working Moms Make Great Employees
They are expert negotiators
By the time she arrives at work most days, a working mom has likely refereed 3 fights, persuaded a toddler to eat cereal instead of toast for breakfast, and coaxed another kid to wear pants instead of shorts when it is freezing outside. This skillset also translates to the workplace. The same tactics that calm tensions between little ones and convince kids to wear proper attire work in the office, where compromises are often necessary between customers and suppliers, employees and management, and stakeholders from all around. Need to resolve a conflict? Call a working mom on your team. She might be able work some “mom magic”.
They can multitask
A requirement of being a working mom is being able to juggle multiple responsibilities at a time. It is part of the title: working and momming responsibilities often overlap, so being able to manage both roles simultaneously is a daily necessity. Ask a working mom. Chances are she has reviewed reports while pumping breastmilk; filled out school applications while organizing a conference call, put together cash flow projections from the doctor’s office, and taken conference calls in car line – or something like that. That said, juggling multiple projects and balancing needs from various sources comes second nature to working moms.
They are thorough and detail-oriented
In order to maintain any sense of sanity at home and at work, moms have to become pros at remembering the details. Where are the soccer cleats? When is the classmate’s birthday party? Who is picking up on Tuesday? Do we have any more paper towels? Moms know these things. They also know when the quarterly reports are due, where the extra copy paper is, and who to call if the office phones go offline.
They are resourceful
Have you ever played that game at a baby shower where you get points for all the random objects you have in your purse? The most tenured mom usually wins, in my experience. In her purse you’ll find: a wallet, two sets of work keys, tissues, chapstick and lotion, bandaids, bobby pins and hair ties for dance class, multiple bottles of hand sanitizer, gum, a scarf and peanut butter crackers. But being resourceful is more than being physically prepared, being a mom is also about being mentally prepared for almost anything. The same mental ability that allows a mom to create a gourmet meal out of the remnants in the fridge also allows her to think quickly and critically about how to solve problems at work.
What Employers Should Do To Keep Working Moms
This may sound simple, but moms don’t get thanked a lot, for anything. Kids rarely say “thanks” for making lunch, doing laundry, keeping the house clean. Husbands don’t always say thank you for the household management that often falls more heavily on the woman of the house. So it means a lot to just be told that you are seen and your efforts are appreciated.
Respect their boundaries
From my experience, working moms rarely take time off, and when they do, it is usually staying home with a sick kid or because school is out or daycare is closed. So when a mom who works for you does take a day for “personal time”, she likely really want to be “off”. Because moms juggle so many things, it can be hard to acknowledge boundaries that are needed, much less manage them for others, so employers should take it upon themselves to respect working hours and time off requests, allowing their employees (especially working moms) to have some semblance of balance.
Give them flexibility
Many working moms are balancing demands on their time from work with demands on their time from their family responsibilities, specifically during daytime hours. This is even more true in our current climate, with so many working and schooling from home. Instead of a strict 9-5 policy, consider offering flexibility for moms to leave work to pickup their kids, to attend class parties, etc., while still being able to complete their workload.
Pay them fairly
This may be the most important tip for employers: working moms are an invaluable asset. They love their work, or they likely wouldn’t be there. But they are also working to help support their families, so they should be compensated fairly. As an employer, make a statement to your team – pay people fairly for the contributions they make to your company.