It’s no secret that being a mom is a full time job. With many daycares, schools, and offices closed over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many working moms have found themselves struggling to balance the roles of employee, teacher, caregiver, and mother.
According to a 2020 study from the University of Southern California, increased responsibilities at home have contributed to many working moms decreasing their working hours. The study showed that working moms were 17 percent more likely to have reduced their working hours over the past year compared to women without children. In addition, 42 percent of working moms surveyed reported reducing hours compared to 30 percent of working dads. Some working moms have even chosen to leave the workforce altogether.
Women make up almost half of the American workforce, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one third of the female workforce identify as working moms with children under the age of 18. It is imperative that we support working moms to ensure that they continue to make up a strong percentage of the workforce.
How can employers support working moms as they continue to juggle all this past year has thrown at them? Setting boundaries, remaining flexible as we navigate getting back to “normal,” and creating opportunities for moms to get back to work ensure that these women continue to be a valued part of our workforce.
While working from home can be great and allow some flexibility, the idea of “never leaving the office” can contribute to working extra hours late into the evenings and on weekends. With moms already being pulled in so many different directions and having an additional full time job as caretakers at home, it’s important that we recognize these women’s workload and boundaries. Keep work contained to working hours and try to be understanding if something comes up at home. Refraining from sending late emails and calling on the weekends helps everyone to maintain a healthy balance of work, family, and life.
As many companies begin to transition back into the traditional office space, it’s important to remember that not all organizations, such as daycare centers and schools, may be operating the same way. Some moms may need a little extra flexibility and continued options to work from home as we get back to “normal.” Even as the COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available, the virus has continued to spread and places with children may be forced to close temporarily if a student or parent tests positive. Remaining flexible assures parents they can still care for their families and maintain their career as we continue to navigate a new normal.
Creating opportunities to return to the workforce.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1 million working moms exited the workforce. With women making up a large percentage of the workforce, it’s so important that these women make their way back to the workplace. Creating opportunities for returning to work and recognizing the strain that working moms have been under for the past year has to be a priority. Employers must approach questions about resume gaps with empathy and kindness. It has been a difficult year for everyone, but working moms experienced a unique set of challenges. Returning to the workplace can be a daunting task, but fostering a welcoming environment helps create opportunities for working moms to get back to work.
To all the working moms out there, thank you for all you have done over the past year and continue to do. We see you, support you, and are so thankful for you. Happy Mother’s Day!
To learn more about Medix’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.