Laila was a marketing assistant who was forced to work from home during the pandemic. She was not only a member of a hectic team, but she was also a new mother during the pandemic. On one hand, she is dealing with rashes and diapers and maybe the ease of the best nursing cream, but on the other hand, she is trapped in the overwhelming routine of work from home.
Women have it hard enough at work. Sexism and discrimination have left them way behind compared to men. the fight gets twice as hard when you become a working mother whose priorities are divided between home and work. As if the working environment is not hard enough, they had to bring this hardship into the walls of their home.
Remote work has been merciless on mothers. From one zoom call to another, the one being a work meeting and the other being a preschool online class. With multiple children screaming in the background, working mom still manages to get their job done. There is a certain pressure on working moms during the remote period to excel. Because they are home, there is a perceived notion that they can do their job better. I mean, stay close to the kids and still do better with work, right?
However, the reality is a lot more different. Working moms dont only face the crushing pressure of being excellent at work but also being excellent moms. They are judged for letting their children play by themselves, or even letting them use a plastic toy. At the same time, they are judged for not being the number one employee at work. This crushing pressure does nothing but deteriorate their mental health and capsize their efforts.
A lot of the pressure is rooted within the cultural norms and perception that women should share a larger burden of taking care of children while fathers get to simply “babysit”. There is also another growing set of discriminatory behavior that women are expected to fight in their workplace. Contrary to the common cultural belief, women’s quality of work is not affected just because they become mothers. With the onset of motherhood, a lot of things change about women, which is honestly an advantage for their careers. They have higher empathy, greater resilience, and much better compassion. However, companies that excel at remote work have also failed to properly utilize working moms and their capabilities.
Mothers should be given the flexibility and the opportunity to ear just like the rest of the working members. They should be fairly judged and their potential is to be maximized. Remote work and technological advancement have made it easier for us to think about the extent of flexibility. But if we were not do something soon enough the turnover rate of companies will increase because they are failing to retain working moms. Higher retention can only be attained through proper benefits, better leave extensions, higher flexibility, better health plans, and making it affordable for them to actually stay in the work environment. This pandemic could be a lesson for many of us on better organizational behavior that includes maternal aspects.