I still remember the roller coaster I went through when I first became a mum. All the reading and sessions that I attended before giving birth were not even close to what I had coming. And what made things even more challenging was going back to work after my maternity leave. I immediately understood what working mums have to go through. I felt like my two important worlds (motherhood and career) were collapsing at some point and I was struggling to balance between the two.
That was when I took the decision to take a break from being a full-time employee and become a stay-home-mum while working from home. It might sound like the perfect scenario for some people, but it really wasn’t easy at all. Having to be available at all times as a mum and as an employee put me under constant pressure. I struggled to find the right balance and had to try out different solutions as some days were more challenging than others.
But it all came down to one fact which I realized one day. Acceptance!!! Once I accepted that this is my life and that I had to find the right (daily) balance without perfection, an amazing peaceful feeling filled my heart. I was being too hard on myself and I put high standards that I THOUGHT everyone around me expected of me. Little did I know that only I had this expectation and continuously disappointed myself when I didn’t achieve it.
In her article (The Pressure is Real for Working Mothers), Mary Beth Ferrante explains how millennial mums “are feeling overwhelmed and unsupported during the transition from motherhood to working mother.” She clarifies that due to technology, our “disenchantment with integrating motherhood and work undermines the expectations of our generation. No previous generation has applied more effort in creating a harmonious co-existence between work and life.” It has become difficult to separate between work and motherhood with the advanced technology significantly changing.
Ferrante suggests a solution for companies who want to retain these employees. According to her, working mums “benefit greatly and achieve the most success if their managers are equipped to onboard them back onto the team, remain open to common accommodations (e.g. breaks for pumping, light travel, flexible hours temporarily) and are willing to truly listen and work with the employee to re-engage them.”
It is a shame that with today’s advanced technology, working mums still find themselves in this continuous dilemma. Companies and managers need to adapt new flexible solutions in order to ease mums’ transition back to work without having to quit their careers.