How to Empower Mothers in the Workplace

Try balancing having children and a successful career – it can be a lot.

Often, mothers in the workplace feel like they have to choose between their children and their job. This doesn’t have to be the case!  

Many strategies can be used to empower mothers in the workplace. Some key steps include setting clear boundaries, seeking out supportive communities, and effective time management. 

Setting clear priorities, seeking support from others, and embracing flexibility can help any working mother. You can do many things to ensure that your career goals and family responsibilities are met. One way is to establish your preferences and communicate openly with your colleagues, and another way is to use flexible work arrangements such as remote work or flex time.

Another essential consideration when navigating a career as a mother is self-care. Taking care of yourself is necessary, and this means making time for exercise, eating healthy, and spending some time alone each day. Taking care of yourself will help you be more successful at home and work.

1. Encourage flexible work arrangements. Many mothers find it challenging to juggle work and childcare responsibilities, especially if they have young children.  For Andi Gray, founder of Strategy Leaders, this was an essential consideration in the foundation of her company. “I needed to be able to take care of my young daughter and balance being a business owner and a mother. I didn’t want to become the parent in Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle,” she notes. Offering flexible work arrangements can help these mothers find a balance that works for them. Allow moms to make their schedules, work from home, work part-time, and take extra time off for emergencies. Remember, it’s about the work output, not the hours worked. 

2. Promote workplace policies that support families. Implement workplace policies that support mothers and their families. For example, companies can offer paid parental leave or on-site childcare services. You can show your employees that you value their families and careers by providing benefits they find valuable and useful. “Ask your employees what they want, rather than guessing,” Andi says. “Being a mother myself helped me understand what other mothers I employed needed. I am very much a firm believer in open communication with employees and getting to know what they truly need from their job, as this will help create a more supportive and productive workplace for everyone involved.”

3. Support professional development opportunities for mothers. Many working mothers feel like they lack the necessary skills and resources to succeed in their careers, particularly as they transition back into the workplace after having children.  Providing professional development opportunities can help mothers gain the confidence and skills to succeed in their careers. “You have to constantly stay engaged and look for opportunities to grow, even while taking care of your children out of the workforce,” says Christina Scherwin, Vice President and Consultant of Strategy Leaders. “I have always volunteered on local boards to keep my networking up and engage my mind. Also, I recommend teaming up with a recruiter specializing in getting women back into the workforce. They often run skills programs to help improve and prepare women to get back into the workforce.” She advises moms to utilize larger corporations’ back-to-work programs, such as GrubHub and Wells Fargo. “Larger corporations run back-to-work programs, which is an excellent opportunity for mothers to get back into the workforce,” she says. 

4. Encourage networking and mentorship opportunities for mothers. Networking and mentorship opportunities can benefit all employees, especially working mothers who need to rebuild or expand their professional connections and have limited time and opportunity to do so. Help mothers connect with potential mentors, learn about growth opportunities, and get advice about balancing work and family life. It can be lonely rushing to work, flying through the day, and rushing to get home to your after-work job. Knowing that the company will back you and encourage you to develop can build loyalty and get moms to stick around longer. In today’s low unemployment environment, retaining a good employee can be one of the most valuable things a company can focus on. 

5. Promote workplace cultures that value families. Find out if your moms want to have an opportunity to get together, and if they do, cater it and let them use work time to do it. They may find ways to support each other with child-care tips, opportunities for shared resources, advice on dealing with the challenges of being a working mom, or maybe just a sympathetic ear. As an employer, anything you can do to help moms build a support community, you should pay dividends in productivity, employment longevity, and workplace cooperation. Creating a workplace culture that values families can help attract and retain talented mothers in the future. Robyn Goldenberg, CMO and Vice President of Strategy Leaders, values this workplace culture as a new mother. “With the demands of an 8-month-old, a flexible work environment is great for me to manage both. I’m present for my 8-month-olds needs and able to manage my companies remotely, thanks to the workplace culture we’ve aimed to create at Strategy Leaders,” she says. “Coming back to work from maternity leave, employers cant expect that new parents will be able to come right back to work without any kind of distraction at home. It’s a big lifestyle change to go from being you and a partner to having to manage a tiny human that needs 24/7.”

Being a mother in the workplace can be challenging and stressful, but there are ways to make it work. Remember, mom, you are a person, and you need to take care of yourself. Be aware if you see yourself falling into the endless caretaking loop many women seem to lean towards instinctually: caring for the kids, the spouse, the cat, and on top of it all: the business.

1. Make time for yourself: It is essential to make time for yourself, even if it is just a few minutes each day. Take some time to relax and rejuvenate to be your best self at work and home. “It’s all about calendar management,” says Christina. “Schedule time for working out, seeing friends, or book a self-care appointment. If you can’t take care of yourself, you struggle to care for others. I am a much better mom and employee when I schedule self-care. For me, it’s staying in shape and seeing my friends.” She also shared how she accomplishes that. “Daily, I make sure I take 30 min mid-day where I don’t look at my phone. Working from home, our boundaries between being off and working becomes blurred, and you have to be able to log off and set boundaries, or your mind will never shut off.”

2. Set boundaries: It is essential to set boundaries between work and home life. When you are at work, focus on work tasks and leave personal matters at home. This will help you stay focused and productive at work. “Learning to set those boundaries at first is hard, and it’s hard to train yourself to abide by them. But once you do, you will see a huge difference. I’m still learning to set boundaries myself, but what helped me the most was creating a regular schedule in a visual place for me to see, such as Outlook,” said Robyn. 

3. Find a support network: It can be helpful to find a group of other working mothers to connect with. This support network can provide moral support and practical advice when needed. Andi remembers her days as a new mother and feeling the loneliness that can come with growing a company and a family in its earliest stages. “I think it’s out there if you want to find it. There are support groups for women. It’s a double-edged sword because the support groups for women are essentially the same business owners who often talk about these work-life balances. You’re living in this conflicted world of ‘I’m supposed to be growing my company. Therefore, I shouldn’t be wasting my time talking about work-life balances,’” she said. “So, I think it makes sense to go to some conferences that are not just industry-specific but also talking about how you respectfully build a company to you and your personal goals.”

4. Take advantage of technology: Technology can be a massive help for working mothers. Many time-saving apps and tools can help you manage your time and tasks more efficiently.  “Calendar management, writing daily task lists to stay organized, evaluating and learning when to say no, these are all things I utilize technology for,” says Christina. 

Christina suggestions: 

  • FamilyWall – the app is available on iOS and Android, so your family can share their schedules even if you all have different phones. The free version of FamilyWall allows you to share to-do lists, calendars, recipes, and maps (to locate your family members who use the app – I have spent a lot of time calling bus companies asking why the school bus is delayed), messages, and a photo gallery.
  • The to-do list function allows you to assign items to specific family members. This is brilliant, as it prevents your kids from pretending they didn’t know they had to do a particular chore while you were at work.
  • The Gallery allows you to “dump” images, which are then accessible by all your family members. You can also take photos and record videos from within the app, and family members can save items you share to their phones or forward them from the FamilyWall app. 
  • Another app that I use is GoKid to plan for carpools with my girlfriends, as sports often interferes with my meetings. 

“Using Zoom for meeting with my team every day and Outlook for calendar and schedule management helps have my day as organized as possible to keep myself on track and in the loop with the day-to-day of my companies,” says Robyn. 

Robyn suggestions: 

  • GlowBaby – to manage the baby side of things. With the Glow Baby app, you can log your baby’s sleep schedule and feeding habits to track their development. You will also be able to access helpful tips from other new parents. It’s really great to keep up with what I need to do as a mother.
  • Motion – intuitively helps you create a schedule with Motion’s Intelligent Calendar. You can have a perfect and optimized schedule created in minutes. It really helps my productivity and fitting in all the necessary parts of my day – from work tasks to meal prep, to baby time, etc.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Whether hiring a babysitter or asking a colleague to cover for you, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks when necessary. “Asking for help is the greatest thing you can do for yourself,” says Andi. “It’s not about failure or defeat, and it’s about propelling yourself to the next level.”

By following these tips, mothers in the workplace can empower themselves to achieve success in both their professional and personal lives.

So, whether you are a workplace mom, a CEO, or a stay-at-home mother working on launching your own business or keeping the one you have together, remember that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Happy Mother’s Day from the Team at Strategy Leaders!

Suggested reading:

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With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company.

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company.

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