After years of working with new moms and families, I find that childcare issues and logistical concerns are among the most prevalent topics creating anxiety and conflicted feelings as families contemplate the return to work after being home with their baby.
The majority of new parents are in the workforce. Some workplaces are parent-friendly and others are less so. “Mommy-tracking” is a term used to describe how workplaces treat mothers regarded as less dedicated or career-minded after starting a family. Is there a double standard? Do men receive the same attitudes after their babies arrive, or if they need to take time off to assist with family commitments?
Jamie Ladge, a professor in the College of Business Administration, who has done extensive research on pregnancy, parenting and re-entry back to work shares some tips for new moms returning to the workforce. Dr. Ladge is a nationally known researcher and expert on gender equality issues, pregnancy and parenting issues in the workplace and was a contributing author of the recently released groundbreaking study, The Shriver Report.
Dr. Ladge suggests:
1) Figure out what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it from your employer. For example, most women are afraid to request time off, reduced work hours or flexible work arrangements but if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Employers would rather try to retain women then having to train someone new so these arrangements are often mutually beneficial
2) Stay confident. Don’t let yourself think you can’t balance work and family because of what the media/books/friends and other outside sources say about it. Ultimately, every situation is unique and only you can determine whether you can or cannot balance your life and work demands.
3) Use motherhood as a opportunity to evaluate your career and redefine your goals and aspirations to determine what is working and not working in your current career. It might be a good time to alter your current role, move to a different position or even start your own business.
4) Try not to let the opinions of others sway you…everyone has their own ideas about what a good working mother means. The most important meaning is the one you hold for yourself.
5) Join a new mother’s support group made up of other working mothers. Try to avoid groups with women who aren’t or haven’t gone back to work.
6) Try to channel the guilt of leaving your child in the hands of a caregiver other than yourself to something more productive – such as reminding yourself that it is quality of time spent with your child that counts and that you are a role model for your son/daughter.
Isis is proud to assist Professor Jamie Ladge to recruit Boston-area families to complete a brief, online survey as part of a national study furthering the understanding of how parents manage work and non-work roles.
Please use the link below to complete Dr. Ladge’s survey, which takes less than 20 minutes to complete. We also request that you forward this link to your partner/spouse if applicable, as the study benefits from both partners’ point of view. Dr. Ladge knows your time is valuable. She is awarding ten $50 Isis Gift Cards to randomly-selected survey participants as a token of her appreciation.
Would you like to hear Dr. Ladge speak on Gender Equality and Parenting Issues in the Workplace? Join us this Sunday, 3/7 at 3 PM at Isis Needham for the Expert Speaker Series - space is limited and registration is required.