Moms, especially those with careers, struggle to maintain their overwhelming schedules. Juggling work and family life are never easy, but it can feel downright impossible when your time is already limited. According to the National Association for Working Mothers (NAWM), nearly 75% of mothers report working full-time and caring for a child under the age of 18. That’s a lot of responsibility! Unfortunately, this lifestyle leaves little time for anything else.
One study found that working mothers spend an average of 26 minutes daily on themselves, including eating, bathing, and getting dressed. That’s less than half the time they spend on their children! Another study reported that working mothers are 3.5 times more likely to feel guilty about not having enough time for their children than fathers are.
It’s not about trying to escape from a working mother’s responsibilities. Sometimes, moms need a more convenient schedule. Fortunately, you can make things easier by using these strategies.
Moms supervise and care for their children, but they don’t have to do it alone. If you find it challenging to balance work and child-rearing, consider using childcare services. This can take the form of daycare, babysitters, or even grandparents.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRA), 49% of mothers with children under five use some form of childcare arrangement. Of these women, 43% use family members, 26% use non-relative caregivers, and 22% use center-based care.
Each type of care has advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the one that best suits your family’s needs is essential. You can find daycare centers to send your children to while at work. These centers are usually reliable and provide a safe environment for kids, but they can be expensive.
Another option is to have a babysitter come to your home to watch your children while you’re away. This can be more affordable than daycare, but it’s important to carefully screen potential babysitters.
If you have family members willing and able to help, that can be a great solution. Relatives may not charge for their services, but making sure they’re available when you need them is essential.
Finally, some working mothers opt to take their children with them to their office or place of business. This isn’t an option for everyone, but it can work well if your workplace is child-friendly.
Flexible Work Arrangements
The majority of working mothers would prefer to have a more flexible job, according to a report from the NAWM. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would leave their current job for one that offered more flexibility.
Fortunately, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible work arrangements. These arrangements can take many forms, such as telecommuting, compressed work weeks, or flex time.
Telecommuting allows employees to work from home, which can be an excellent option for working mothers. This arrangement can increase productivity and decrease stress levels.
Compressed work weeks involve employees working longer hours over fewer days. For example, instead of working five 8-hour days, employees might work four 10-hour days. This arrangement can give employees more time to do things outside of work.
Flex time is a bit different, as it refers to the ability to choose when you start and end your work day. So, if you need to pick your kids up from school at 3 pm, you could start your work day at 10 am. This arrangement requires coordination with your employer and colleagues but can benefit working mothers.
Paid Family Leave
The United States is one of the only developed countries that doesn’t have a national paid family leave policy. Many working mothers don’t have paid time off with their new baby.
Fortunately, some employers are starting to offer paid family leave to provide flexibility for working moms. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 16% of organizations offer paid maternity leave, and 17% offer paid paternity leave. These numbers are increasing, but there’s still a long way to go.
If your employer doesn’t offer paid family leave, you may be able to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act or the FMLA. This act entitles eligible employees to unpaid annual leave for specific family and medical reasons for up to 12 weeks.
While unpaid leave isn’t ideal, it’s better than nothing. If you have to take FMLA for your absence, talk to your employer about your options for continuing to receive benefits, such as health insurance.
Working mothers face many challenges, but some things can make their lives easier. Daycare, babysitters, flexible work arrangements, and paid family leave are all options that working mothers should consider. There might be other options available, so it’s important to talk to your employer and see what’s possible.
It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone. Many working mothers are in the same boat, and plenty of resources are available to help you through this challenging time.