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Have you ever wondered why working moms are important to workplaces? They bring into the table more than the diversity factor. Read on.
As the manager announced the news of an employee’s pregnancy, there were smiles on most people’s faces and congratulations started pouring in. As the din subsided, he spoke about the plan to fill in her shoes when she would be out on maternity leave. A systematic plan had to be drawn up, cross training, documentation and it meant everyone had to step in and stretch themselves more to cover her during these few months, he summed it up by saying this was a great opportunity to grow and learn new things and he hoped people would be enthusiastic about it. Most of them had a neutral unreadable expression. But a sneak- peek into their minds and here is what they were up to-
“Lucky lady- 4 months of paid maternity leave, Wow! Being a guy can I ever have the luxury of getting that- like ever in my life? Here we would be slogging our butts off and she would be relaxing with the baby in the comfort of her home”
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“Ahh just as I expected, I did guess that tiny bump was not just excess weight owing to the growing number of pizzas and takeaways we are ordering in these days but wasn’t sure how to ask her.”
“Ahh just as I expected, I did guess that tiny bump was not just excess weight owing to the growing number of pizzas and takeaways we are ordering in these days but wasn’t sure how to ask her. Sigh, as happy as I am for her but not happy for the additional burden it will bring to all of us. And she might just extend her maternity leave and be out for longer. Plus when she comes back, she will always have the excuse of leaving early as she has to pick the baby from daycare, then the baby’s falling sick and so on. And we are tongue tied, I don’t want to sound like a monster by refusing or even as much as making a face. She will be constantly ranting that “working mom” story about how tough life is and gain the sympathy of everyone.”
“My personal life is screwed now thanks to madam, not that I had much but whatever little I did have, I think it might soon become a distant once upon a time lived life. With the management refusing to hire a new person or a contingent to fill in her shoes, it’s going to be one huge workload for all of us. And I’m damn sure she will use this pregnancy to her utmost advantage and claim she doesn’t feel very well, nausea, insomnia you name it and no one will refuse her pleas to leave early.”
Not that all of us think in this manner, but some of the thoughts above would have crossed our minds at some point at least. The increased workload is something no one is really looking forward to, what with the already having overflowing plates, so it’s definitely going to be stressful and challenging for the others.
Also once a working mom returns back to the workforce, it’s an altogether different person from the one who stepped out of the gates with the baby in her tummy. Life has changed a lot for her and she is now responsible for the care and well-being of a little one which is no easy task. She might require to take up some flexible working arrangements, leave early and take unexpected offs to cater to the needs of her baby.
MNC’s go to a great length to make this life changing event as smooth as possible at least on the work front for moms.
MNC’s go to a great length to make this life changing event as smooth as possible at least on the work front for moms. From home arrangements to flexible working hours where the employee can login from home for a few hours and come to office for a few or work from home certain days a week to providing mentoring from other Moms who had successfully navigated through this phase and the host of post delivery services such as lactation consultants, dietician, physiotherapist, yoga classes etc companies are doing their best to make it easier for working moms. Some of them even have day care facilities within their campus so that Moms could be at ease knowing their little one is so near to them. Heard of returnship programs? It’s a unique initiative by companies where they invite applications from moms who have taken a career break to raise a baby and would like to resume working. So you may wonder why are these working moms so much in vogue? The answer is that they bring in a lot of added value to the workplace which organisations are recognising and this is something they do not want to loose.
Firstly working moms are brilliant multitaskers and super efficient in getting things done at the earliest (not to say others lack this quality) nut for working Moms it stems more from the need to get over with work at a specific time as they need to pick up their little ones from day care or relieve the maid or even family members by a certain time. Someone once said,” if you want something done give it to a busy person, they would be the fastest to deliver it to you and don’t think they would compromise on the quality either.” They are smart enough to know any shoddy work would be thrust upon them again for amendments and one thing they are definitely not game for is redoing it. They are always endeavouring to deliver the best quality work using smarter ways and minimising the time taken as they need to be out of the workplace in time.
One of the changes which most of the women see once they become moms is becoming better planners, making all the arrangements well in advance for contingencies, this usually starts with personal life as they realise they no longer have the luxury of being that laid back, lets take it as it comes couple which they once were. Once a baby comes into your life, there are multiple things which need to be systematically planned. The pediatrician visits, being mindful of the dates and taking appointment well in advance to keeping a stock of diapers and wipes, the baby travel bag ready with all its essentials and once the baby starts on semi-solids it is important that the kitchen is well stocked with all the essential food. You no can take it lightly- let’s order in that take away if the kitchen is empty, once needs to plan in advance and in a systematic manner. This aspect would translate to your professional life as well. Again many of us are already great planners and systematic organisers, I pride myself on always being one but I have heard and seen this change in so many women post having a baby and it is no doubt a welcome addition to the workplace.
Patience is a virtue, some one once said and indeed it is a much-desired virtue everywhere. One thing which most of us Moms do learn post a baby is becoming much calmer and patient in nature. You realise that one thing, you don’t want to expose your little one too is outbursts of anger, negativity and patience is required at every stage, right from the time the baby is an infant to the time it grows and acts unreasonable at times, but one cannot just lose one’s temper on it. It gradually becomes an integral part of nature and alters the way we look at people and situations around us. One cannot undermine the importance of this virtue in the workplace, too much of anything is harmful, but some degree of patience goes a long way in maintaining a harmonious atmosphere.
Spending long hours in office, and then complaining not enough time for a personal life- so many of are guilty of it. I recall those days when I was single and had nothing really to do once I went back home except for staying glued to the TV or surfing the net. So I preferred staying longer in office, at times I would say I was not at my most productive best in the day as I whiled away time in endless cups of chai breaks with colleagues and an extended lunch break as I mentally knew I would be in office for at least 2 hours extra and could complete the not so urgent stuff during that time. But now- as a working mom I know my priorities very clearly and I know with absolute certainty that as the clock strikes 6 I need to leave the office and be home in time as I have little Angel waiting for me. So right from the start of the day, I make notes of what needs to be accomplished today, the list of meetings, deliverables, projects, not so urgent tasks and plan my day accordingly. There are days when things may not go per the plan or some new stuff may just crop up demanding my time and attention which may require me to stretch, but from my end I try to maximise my productivity and what I could achieve in the 10 hours when I am at work. Think this is the most desirable and optimum utilisation of resources which the organisation and team would benefit from and the driving force is only too evident.
Just like every person from a different religion, gender, caste, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation brings in diversity to the workplace, so does a working mom. Why is diversity so important is something I could never fathom in the past but as I gain more experience, I realise the value of having different people who think differently, have been subject to different experiences and look at the same issue with a unique perspective. A fresh grad might sometimes come out with the most innovative solution to something as compared to someone who’s been there for years. A working mom brings her own share of diversity and unique thought process which stems from her professional experience coupled with the learnings which have enriched her as a person post becoming a Mom. She brings her own share of value additions to the table and this cannot be undermined.
So the next time you hear about the lady who is expecting, yes do brace yourself for some additional tasks (this could always happen when someone resigns or goes on long medical leave) but be assured she will bring in a lot of value to the team. Wait and watch, the changes would be evident in times to come and not just she, all of you would see the benefits slowly but surely.
Let’s all practice team spirit in the true sense and support her wholeheartedly and live up to the motto-“One team, one dream.”
Working mom image via Shutterstock
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