Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Workplace policies make it difficult for new mothers to rejoin work after a career break. Maybe it is time for employers to rethink this?
“Can someone give me leads on work-from-home options or part-time jobs? Currently on a financial crunch and with school admissions coming up, I feel the need to contribute to the family income. Please help, ladies.”
This is a kind of a post that comes up on young mother forums on Facebook at least once in a month. At a time when most young mothers have started assuming that they can never get back to their mainstream full-time career, huge corporate companies and organizations are talking about ‘hiring women after their career break’. This is indeed a welcome trend as young mothers today have the skills and passion to get back in to the work world if offered a chance.
Taking a career break is inevitable for any woman who has decided to go the family way owing to health concerns. Women who do not have the privilege of maternity leave options or have to shift cities quit their jobs. But the discrimination that she faces when she begins to apply for new jobs after her break (that she took willingly most of the times, because she wanted to be there for her child during the initial crucial months), is still kept under covers. Questions ranging from ‘do you think you can catch up and stay updated like your counterparts?’, ‘will you be applying for leave often because your child will fall sick?’ and statements like ‘our head actually doesn’t want to hire women anymore for this position’ are not rare.
But dear employers, just focusing on the drawbacks of hiring young mothers has led your focus away from the numerous positive skills they bring along. In fact, they are the most employable lot. Here are 5 reasons why new mothers have the best employ-ability skills in my opinion:
From the day a woman sees that positive pink line on the home pregnancy test kit slab, she decides to get a head on with totally new projects. She has zero experience with pregnancy. Yet, she explores, finds advice, googles, gets on to forums to successfully wade through this toughest project of life. Wait, that is not the superlative degree yet. Childbirth – be it normal or caesarian, it is again a new project for her. Then comes the most difficult part of it all. Breastfeeding. Zero knowledge. Nil experience. It is going to be totally trial and error and she is never going to know ‘if the baby is getting enough milk’.
Through the course of this project, she also has a few motivating voices around that she finds in new mothers that her baby will gradually learn to latch and a few irritating noises that say ‘you don’t have enough milk. Go for formula’. She uses her head and heart to make firm decisions on which options to choose. By the time the child is two, this new mother is confident enough to plunge and take on any project in life. New motherhood teaches you enough for the rest of the life, so why not for a job?
They experience it everyday. When one is a new mother, they are bombarded with opinions from all directions. Not one angle is missed. Right from how she is wrongly holding her baby while breastfeeding to why she must not pick up her baby immediately when he/she cries. Every action of hers related to the baby is watched and commented upon.
After a few initial hiccups, she is mentally resilient to unnecessary criticism and can move on easily to doing what she is doing right. So next time that client of yours throws back your idea draft saying they expect more, you will have a calm person on your team who knows to handle the situation with the best possible response. She has learnt to listen and respond to what situation demands. Her intuition guides her perfectly to the best possible response. So, the next time you doubt a new mother’s capability to handle pressure, please think again.
Entertaining and holding a toddler to one place is the best ever skill in the world. Trust me, she can come up with 52 ideas in 60 seconds. Yes, precisely 52! And at least one of that will be successful. Yes, you read it right, one of that. A new mother can think on her feet, change strategies at a finger’s click. Her skills in permutations and combinations will be a great add-on to your team.
Any day when your team is feeling low and tired, she will be the first one to cheer them up with a quick game (that she learnt last night to make her toddler smile after a crying episode) and boost the energy levels of the team. So, the next time you are looking for off-beat activities, indoor or outdoor, she will be the go-to person. A toddler’s mother is a treasure trove of energizing activities.
She knows her baby will reject the food she prepares if it lacks that right amount of salt or has too much sugar. It’s either a hit or miss. She ensures she is perfect and accurate in whatever she does. This gets so ingrained into her that she will be the one on your team who will easily identify where things went wrong and how they can be put back into place.
She knows her responsibilities and is committed to them, more so after becoming a mother. And because she has perfect moments after wading through a list of disappointments and unexpected strides, she will value even a tiny bit of progress that the team is making and acknowledge it. This is an asset to have in a team member.
A new mother knows the pain of being judged. Being judged for engaging her little one with her smart phone just to make him eat, being judged for leaving her infant in the day-care because she wanted some ‘me-time’, being judged for saying ‘no’ to chocolates and ice-cream, there is not a single chance that people ignore to judge a mother. The mother who knows this pain, sincerely avoids being judgmental about others. This will reduce the bias and discrimination within a team and help them progress.
She will care for the team members. Her motherly instinct will persuade her to empathize which is an important criterion for a team to bond.
Give her the due credits that her skills deserve. Don’t you think she could be the unique selling proposition and a valuable addition for your team?
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Image source: new mother working from home by Shutterstock.
Mother of a two year old, with lots of dreams and aspirations for myself and
Wow! Makes so much sense!
Very well put. Let me tell you that the world of HR is definitely looking at and taking women employees very seriously. Proud to say that my Company has more than 100,000 women employees!!!
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