When I was preparing to become a mom about three years ago, I was absolutely terrified of the effects motherhood would have on my career and the effects my career would have on my family.
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As a first-time mom, I had no idea what to expect, but I knew my career was not something I was willing to give up.
As luck would have it, the world is changing rapidly, and I became a mom in the best climate possible. Today, most companies have a variety of benefits that support motherhood and nearly every organization touts “work-life balance” as an important part of the culture.
But still, as all mothers know, mom guilt (and mom-to-mom judging) is alive and well. And despite now being a mother of two, and having worked full-time through both of my children, I can tell you, I still worry about it.
Since the day my oldest was born, I have tried very hard to be a positive role model and spend as many hours as I can with him while balancing my very personal need for a career and something that is just mine.
Now that I have a brand new daughter, it has become even more important to me to provide her a strong, positive female role model.
Sound familiar to any other moms out there?
Well I have some fantastic news! We can all kiss mom guilt goodbye (or at least tell it to take a short break). Money Magazine recently published an article that made my heart soar, confirming many beliefs I have long held (and hoped were true) with cold, hard data.
It found that children - and daughters in particular - were positively influenced by working mothers. Specifically, daughters of working mothers are more likely to go on to have careers in adulthood, and to top it off, they earn about 23% more than daughters who didn’t have a working mom.
But that’s not all. Sons of working mothers are more likely to pitch in around the house as adults and share the load of household duties more evenly.
Ultimately, this is great news for moms of all walks of life. Whether you choose to stay home or work when your children are young, you can rest assured that either choice can still result in happy, well-adjusted kids.
Given the data, I challenge your organization to find ways to support working moms, not only for the moms themselves, but for future generations.
I am so incredibly lucky to work for an organization that not only values working mothers, but actively makes every effort to create a culture that supports them. From the start of motherhood to the throes of toddlerhood, to the oh-so-rough teenage years, IMPACT has done a great job of creating the ideal environment for a working mom.
The support starts from day one here on the journey to motherhood. IMPACT has a very generous parental leave policy allowing both new mothers and fathers 8 full weeks of paid leave to bring their new little one into the world.
Ensuring that a new little addition to the family is taken care of requires a lot of time, energy and focus. It benefits mom, dad and even IMPACT to provide this 8 week separation of work and family.
It allows the new family to bond and focus on getting all of the details worked out so that when it’s time to come back to work, we can do so with full focus and ready to perform. In fact, studies have shown that a fully paid leave policy like this results in greater productivity overall.
At IMPACT, over half of our team (myself included) works remotely.
The ability to work from home allows me quite a few perks as a mom that would otherwise be hard to come by. As a military wife, the worry about an impending move at any time makes a lasting career at a single organization a bit of a challenge. Remote work solves for that. I can take my career anywhere I go!
As a mom, remote work is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Do you know how often toddlers get sick? Hint: A LOT.
Working remotely allows me to get work done even on days when I have to tend to a sick little one. This is great for me, great for IMPACT, and great for my family. It means I don’t lose a full day of work just because I can’t physically be in the office, and it allows me to guiltlessly take care of my little ones when they need me the most.
Remote work also allows me, to a degree, to control my schedule and work around the needs of my kids. Today it isn’t a big deal, but in a few years when they have soccer practice and school events, it will be a lifesaver. It is almost like I don’t have to choose between being a working mother or stay at home mom -- I get the best of both worlds!
Again, IMPACT benefits from this as well. I don’t have to take time off to do these things (or choose to forgo doing them altogether). Instead, I can build my schedule around them and work hours that aren’t necessarily part of a typical workday if I need to.
Maternity leave policies and remote work have become much more commonplace in recent years. What really sets IMPACT apart is how they have created a kid-friendly culture the likes of which I’ve never seen before.
They have built an environment where children are not just tolerated - they are welcome. I can try to tell you all about it, but it makes more sense for me to show you. Let me take you on a journey through a recent trip I took to the office.
When I was asked to fly to our headquarters in Connecticut this February, I was quite hesitant. My daughter was only 4 months old (and I have a mom-rule that I don’t do multi-day separations before 6 months), and still struggling to take a bottle.
So, I asked to bring her with me. And nobody batted an eyelash. Leadership was incredibly supportive, and even excited, for me to bring her into the office.
She was invited with open arms to take part in internal meetings.
She joined in deep lunch conversations with my coworkers.
She prepared to take over mom’s job.
She made a surprise guest appearance on Website Throwdown to tear apart websites with us.
And, she even rubbed elbows with the CEO.
I can’t even begin to describe how much it means to me that I didn’t have choose between breaking my “mom rule” and leaving her at 4 months, and making the trip to the office.
IMPACT has done an incredible job making a safe space for moms to have it all.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It
My situation is far from unique. See what other IMPACT moms have to say about their experiences:
“Working from home has been a godsend the last two years. My son’s transition from elementary to middle school hasn’t always been easy for him and I love that I get to drop him off at the bus stop in the morning and I’m there in the afternoon when he gets home.”
"IMPACT's culture has supported me as a mom who worked in corporate for 10+ years and missed out on my kids, to now being able to be home in time to make dinner and interact as a family."
“It’s wonderful to be able to take the day with my daughter (because daycare is closed for a bank holiday) knowing that this company trusts I’m still going to deliver results for clients and support my team. This isn’t because I’m doing ‘double duty’ and splitting my attention. It’s because I’m able to be Mom when it is important and then I’m able to work within a flexible schedule when I need to work. That’s a really big deal and it’s completely empowering to be able to do both on my own terms. I’ve never had to choose my family over my job or my job over my family.”
“The flexibility of working from home is amazing. I was able to perform the Paincakes site launch while giving my girls a bath. While you don't always want to be working while you're home, having the ability to do it when something urgent or extra is needed is nice. You don't have to stay in an office by yourself and completely miss out on the bedtime routine.”
“As the mom of a teenager, I have the flexibility to be able to attend his band and sports events that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. And when I’m jumping out early to catch a track meet, for example, I’m not scared to let my team or my manager know. And throughout the afternoon, they’ll send me messages that they’re rooting for him! It lets me stay present for him and then I can get back to work when the excitement is over.”
"The culture here is family first. If my little one is home sick and I have to work with him sitting on my lap or making a cameo in Zoom meetings, that's what happens. As long as I get my work done, I have complete flexibility as to how and when I do it. Recently, he was home early from daycare and all he wanted to do was go outside and play on his playground because the snow had melted and it was about 45 degrees outside, but I was on a call with my COO, Chris Duprey. Instead of Chris keeping me on the call, he insisted we end our meeting short so he could go outside and play. It sounds simple, but having that type of flexibility and acceptance from my employer that sometimes I'm working with a little one by my side is better than any other benefit I could possibly be offered. It means that since the very first day I started at IMPACT, I've never, ever, had to choose between being a good mom and being a good employee. "
“The flexibility of our work schedule as well as the remote work environment has relieved a lot of stress. With school-age children, I don't worry about what to do with the kids on snow days or if one stays home with a fever. I can still work and, when need be, rearrange my schedule to take my kids to a doctors appointment or drive another to sports practice.”
"I had a really rough postpartum. Physiologically, 13 months postpartum, my body is still recovering. So you can imagine that when going back to work, I had to evaluate my decision criteria based on flexibility being baked into a company’s culture code. IMPACT has not only lived up to my expectations, but has delivered 10 fold. Being a new mom and adjusting back to my normal work cadence, is H A R D. When my baby had chronic ear infections from August until January, my sleep was non existent. I've cried more in the last year than in my 33 years on earth. If I didn't have the support of my IMPACT family, my managers, my co-workers, there's no doubt in my mind that I would have left any other organization. The fact that no one questions when you have a sick child on a Zoom call exemplifies how IMPACT's culture has made my working mom life a heck of a lot more forgiving."
“IMPACT's flexibility is key for setting me up for success as a working mom. There are no questions asked (and, in fact, everyone is very supportive), if I have to sign off early to pick up my kids from daycare, or if I have to pop out mid-day for an appointment with the pediatrician. Family life shouldn't have to take a backseat to work life and IMPACT gets it.”
“Being at home in the morning and in the afternoon is so incredibly important to me. Packing lunches, making breakfast, helping the kids get ready before school, and being here when they get off the bus is wonderful. Being able to be present in those moments is a rarity as a working parent. At IMPACT, family is first. There is always someone here who understands and knows that when parents close their computers for the day, their 2nd job is just starting. Having kids means nothing ever goes as planned. Sometimes you have to cancel a trip because a kid is sick, leave early to pick up a kid from the nurses office, answer a call from a teacher randomly during an internal meeting, or end your day early because one of your kids just had really rough day at school and they need you. When you have kids, things can change in an instant. Working at a company who understands this is far more important than any salary.”
If your organization is looking for some thoughts on how to improve culture and find ways to recruit the best of the best, I’d highly recommend considering how you can support moms. We will be your hardest workers, your most passionate employees, and your most devoted fans if you can find a way to help us be better moms.