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How To Be A Working Mother (with Infographics!)

For working mothers, motherhood is a delicate negotiation between growing their career and caring for their children. However, this constant act of negotiations often leaves many working mothers feeling overwhelmed and torn. In fact, statistics point to a stark reality: 54% of working mothers struggle with work-life balance, while 53% gripped with guilt over the impact their jobs have on their children.

Understanding the Challenges of Being a Working Mother

Challenges faced by Working mother

1. Time Constraints:

Working mothers are constantly racing between trying to fulfil their professional responsibilities while also attending to the needs of their children and households. The pressure to excel in both often leads to a struggle against time, leaving little room for relaxation or personal pursuits.
“I follow the progress principle which is one thing a day and focusing on quality time rather than quantity.” - Mel Robbins 


2. Guilt and societal expectations:

Though they try their best to balance both, many working mothers find themselves with feelings of guilt. Whether it's missing a fancy dress competition due to a work commitment or prioritising career advancement over societal expectations and cultural norms. These often left them with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

3. Mental and emotional toll:

More than 50% of mothers have some kind of mental health issues, balancing the demands of work and family take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. Constantly jumping between multiple roles and responsibilities can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout, impacting both personal and professional performance.

4. Career advancement and discrimination:

Working mothers face challenges in advancing their careers, like biases, discrimination, and limited opportunities for professional growth. Pew Research found that 50% of moms feel advancing in their careers is harder because they are a parent. The perception of being less committed or reliable due to motherhood responsibilities can affect their progress and lead to discrimination in pay and promotion.

5. Financial pressures:

40% women experience pressure managing household finances, childcare expenses, and career aspirations. This keeps them in the race to excel without taking care of them.

6. Lack of support systems:

Despite the growing recognition of the challenges faced by working mothers, there remains a lack of adequate support systems in place. Limited access to flexible work arrangements, parental leave policies, and resources for childcare and family support can increase the struggles faced by working mothers, particularly those from marginalised or disadvantaged backgrounds.
“If you have the right support system, if you have an understanding spouse and if you're willing to make all the trade-offs, then you can have it all, a balanced work life and a beautiful family.” - Indra Nyoyi 

7. Stigma and judgement:

Working mothers are often in the limelight of judgement, whether it's from colleagues or family members, for being a professional rather than being a full time mother. Despite that, from a study, we found that 80% of working mother says that their job give them a sense of identity in addition to being a parent.

8. Health and well-being:

Neglecting their own health and well-being is a common problem for working mothers who prioritise the needs of their families and careers above their own. Lack of time for exercise, proper nutrition, and self-care can lead to physical illness, exhaustion, and a compromised immune system.

Tips for balancing work and motherhood as a Working Mother: 

Tips to balance work and motherhood

1.Time management:

Identify your most important tasks and prioritise them accordingly. Delegate tasks at home and at work whenever possible to lighten your load.

2. Setting clear boundaries:

Set clear boundaries between work and family time to ensure that both get the attention it deserves. Communicate these boundaries to your employer, colleagues, and family members.

3. Flexible work arrangements:

Explore flexible work options such as telecommuting and compressed workweeks to create more space to manage both your professional and personal commitments.

4. Plan and organise:

Use organisational tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and time-blocking techniques to plan your days and weeks efficiently. This will help you to have balanced time for family outings and office commitments.

5. Prioritise yourself:

Prioritise self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or simply taking a few moments to relax and recharge. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish but essential for your overall well-being and ability to care for others.
“You can't pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself isn't selfish—it's necessary. Remember, you deserve to prioritize your own well-being." - Melissa Park, PhD

6. Seek Support:

Surround yourself with trusted friends and family members to lean on them for advice, encouragement, and assistance when needed. Former first lady of the USA Michelle Obama called on fathers to be more proactive in sharing the burden at home. She said cooperation between partners is crucial for building a healthy family.

7. Invest in Childcare:

Invest in quality childcare options that provide a safe and healthy environment for your children while you're at work. Research daycare centres, babysitters, or family daycare providers that align with your values and preferences.

8. Communicating expectations:

Maintain open and honest communication with your partner, children, and colleagues about your needs, concerns, and boundaries. Maintain collaborative approach to managing household responsibilities and work commitments. 
Elizabeth Grace Saunders' recommendation for clear communication: "Let your colleagues know your availability directly. For instance, you could say, 'I usually finish work at 6 pm, so if you message me after that, I'll respond after 9 am the next business day.' Alternatively, if you consistently don't respond to messages between 6 pm and 9 am, they'll understand that you're not available during those hours.”

9. Practice Gratitude:

Cultivate a mindset of gratitude and appreciation for the blessings in your life, both big and small. Focus on the positive aspects of your work and motherhood journey to maintain a good outlook of life during challenging times.
Continuous advocacy for policies and practices that promote a more inclusive and supportive environment for all mothers is an important leap we have to take. A McKinsey study found gender-diverse teams are 25% more likely to financially outperform less diverse companies. Thus understanding and acknowledging these challenges, we can expect better output from both personal and professional aspects of all working mothers.

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