This is a call-to-action for employers and lawmakers on behalf of mothers who want to work. We make up millions of skilled and eager applicants, a truly missed opportunity for companies.
I and all of my stay-at-home mom friends want to work in some form. Some sell homemade products on Etsy or lotions, containers, jewelry, and kitchen supplies through social networks. Some act as backup daycare for other people's children or as servers at weekend parties. Some have blogs, portfolios, or party-planning businesses. We want to work because we like it. We want to capitalize on our excellent skills and experience, and we want to contribute financially to our family. The challenge is that the most critical requirement is flexibility.
The problem is that finding employment often feels like all or nothing. The majority of opportunities for working woman are a full-time job that requires 40+ set hours with a commute or else figuring out self-employment.
Millions of expecting women and working mothers leave the workforce because they feel pressure to give it all or go home. We enjoy working because we love the thrill of a great presentation, or making the sale, or fixing problems. We love talking to other adults and using our brains. We still want to contribute but we know that working full-time, in an office is too much and we tap out.
Working mothers require flexibility. We need the opportunity to fully or partially work remotely. Life is full of surprises; kids get sick or school is unexpectedly closed and mothers want the endorsement that we can responsibly handle both. We need the option of flex hours or part-time work because we actually want to be with our children. When school is out because of holidays or summer vacation, we prioritize that time to be present, to be with them. Sometimes we can find situations that work, but they are one-off and need to be more systemic.
It doesn't mean we aren't serious. Give us accountability through clear goals, check-ins, and deliverables and we will produce. Flexibility with appropriate accountability is key. It should reduce any employer's fear that work can't or won't get done.
Working mothers are loyal and hard-working. Employers should target mothers if they looking for a reliable employee pool that won't leave them high-and-dry after one year for a few extra bucks. We are in it for the long-term and after solidifying a situation that truly fits, you won't find us taking it for granted. Remember that life isn't stagnant. As our kids get older and more self-reliant, our availability may grow. We could possibly be your best full-time employee in 3 years.
We're grown ups. We have management experience at home and we know how to coach, herd cats, and resolve problems creatively. Mothers are self-motivated and natural multi-taskers.
Working mothers respectfully call for employers to identify needs that can be filled creatively. The 40 hour, in-office workweek is outdated. Thanks to modern tools of online chatting, call forwarding, video conferencing, and screen sharing there is no need to exclusively be in the office to collaborate and get work done. Truly weigh if an office presence is required. Consider if high motivation and occasional travel is more needed.
In a world with on-demand videos, grocery delivery, couriers, and fitness training why not on-demand employment? Consider freelance support for one project or 15 hours a week for light help. Use flex hours to attract the very top of top talent.
HR departments, what's really holding back flexible employment opportunities? Is it a lack of creative thinking on the part of hiring managers? Is it an anxiety of being the first? Is it federal and state regulations? Motivated mothers implore you to start that dialogue. We wish you would encourage and reinforce your company managers to entertain our part-time, hourly, and job share proposals. We are here and we are ready for the right fit.
There’s a war for talent and a large part of the qualified workforce is being shut out. Think different about roles and responsibilities and how work gets done. Make use of this talent that’s being sidelined because of outdated ways of doing business.
This is a call-to-action to employers and lawmakers. This is a wake-up call that you are missing out on a talented and motivated resource pool. We don't believe that we are owed jobs or opportunity. All we ask is that you facilitate and consider new ways of filling your employment needs that may attract mothers looking to work hard. We ask you to keep an open mind and an open policy. Give us the flexibility and a chance and we could be your best investment!