Working Moms

Erica YitzhakThe phrase “it takes a village to raise a child,” is no less true now than it was decades ago. Raising a family can be equal parts challenging and fulfilling, but where do you turn when the village is empty? Working mothers have to make due with an additional obstacle, though. Raising a family and pursuing a career; two jobs, one without compensation. But is there an unseen benefit that being a working mother can bring to the table? A recent Harvard study seems to think so.

Studies at Harvard Business school have uncovered an interesting trend between mothers who work, and their children. Surprisingly, daughters of working mothers are more likely to earn supervisor roles at their jobs. Additionally, they earn 6% more than the daughters of mothers who stayed home. Sons of working mothers spent an additional hour a week caring for members of the household, and 17 minutes more on chores. Coupled with a study conducted in 2010, children with working mothers displayed no worse academic or behavioral problems than kids with stay-at-home parents.

While never easy to leave your children at home, parents that work encourage children to instinctively rely on themselves for care, and teach them the importance of responsibility and timeliness. With the majority of American mothers working, this research conclusively shows not only a lack of detriment, but a hidden benefit to being a working mother. Demonstrating a positive outlook with hard work, determination and dedication instills an attitude in children that will follow them into their professional lives.

It’s never easy to leave your kids. Spending time at work can feel like a wedge, driving you apart from your children, and siphoning away what little time there is before they’re all grown up. Remember, you’re not robbing them of a mother, but reinforcing qualities that will last a lifetime. Be fearless in the pursuit of your families happiness. Someday, they will thank you for showing them what it means to put aside personal feelings, and do what needs to be done for the people you love.

Balancing Work and Being a Mom

Mayim Bialik working mom

Mayim Bialik shares the difficulties of being a working mom, finding it difficult to balance her busy work schedule and parenting.

Mayim Bialik most difficult challenge is not contending with the contemptuous Sheldon Cooper, as is the most difficult task for her character on the incredibly popular show The Big Bang Theory.  In Bialik’s personal life, she has a much more realistic and relatable challenge to meet—managing to work a daily job and take care of her two sons, named Miles and Frederick, according to an article recently completed by Who Say.

However, simply balancing work and parenting isn’t the only complication in the process for Bialik.  She and the children’s father, Michael Stone, have been split for over two years.  Combining the shared custody with the demands of being on one of the most popular shows in the nation is anything but an easy task.  It often results in Bialik missing events she wishes she could’ve attended and seen to.  For instance, in a recent interview with People, Bialik acknowledged that the last time she cried was when Stone sent her pictures of their sons dressed as Ghostbusters for a Halloween event at a local fair.  She attributes her reaction to two separate things—she does believe she is relatively sentimental, but it is also the fact that she dislikes not being able to experience these events right with her children.

Knowing this fact and the demands of her filming schedule, Bialik is forced to accept the fact that co-parenting is simply going to be crucially important to her life.  She and Stone work hard to insure that their children never miss a beat of childhood.  To make sure this goal is met, Bialik and her ex-husband must work just as hard in perfecting their means of communication, in a way that may not have even been required in their marriage.

Working Moms in France

France

Individuals surprised by the way France caters to their working mothers.

When you think France, you probably think of fresh baguettes, the eiffel tower, some of the best wine in the world, and the never-ending touching and kissing in the metro – yes, love.  The French are known for their uncanny abilities to love; but what comes after love (well, most likely) – babies.  And how does the French progressive government cater to working women who decide to have babies?  Well, you might be surprised to find out some of the hard facts.

Claire Lundberg, a literary scout and writer who moved to Paris from New York City two years ago after having her first baby, recently published an article entitled It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job.  This article discusses the hypocrisies hidden within the French government when it comes to mothers in the workforce; how France supports women who have babies and then punishes them for it when it comes to maintaining stable jobs and titles within those jobs.  Lundberg explains how “France has both the highest birth rate in Europe and one of the highest percentages how women in the workforce,” (Lundberg, It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job), going on to explore how this fact is quite deceiving, from both her personal experience as a mother trying to get a job in France and with interviews and research conducted concerning this particular topic.

Lundberg states how the French government is more than supportive of women having babies in France, from the four-month long maternity leave a woman is given to bare her first child, to inexpensive healthcare, to the five week vacation period that employees are given.  The French government system makes it not only manageable, but easy for women to recuperate and enter back into the workplace after giving birth.  So, when going in for an interview with a company she was exceptionally interested in working for, Lundberg was shocked with the interviewer’s reaction after she found out about Lundberg’s child:

“What followed was a long discussion of my child care situation, who cared for my daughter during the week, and for how long, and if I’d have to leave work early to pick her up.  Then she asked how old I was, and if I was planning to have more children.  I felt myself cringing – why was this coming up, and in such detail so early in our discussion?  Would you even be allowed to ask these questions in the United States? (No.)  My French became emphatic, Neanderthal like, as I tried to assure her I wouldn’t leave at 6 p.m. every day: ‘I can hire a nanny.  I want to work at a job I like, not just leave every day at six hours.’  Eventually, either impressed by my vehemence or appalled at my French, she dropped the subject.  And though I haven’t heard one way or another I’m pretty sure the possibility of hiring me got dropped as well,” (Lundberg, It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job).

Lundberg’s article followed the results of this interview with very personal statements on Lundberg’s views on French policies of working mothers, and equated them with the general public’s standpoint on them (including how people view mothers who work in the U.S.).  She exclaimed how although most women don’t want to admit it, employers view mothers who are applying to jobs much differently than if they weren’t mothers in the first place. As a 30 year-old woman, it is likely that Lundberg will get pregnant again, but she wants to be able to live in France as both a mother and an employee, but what are the chances she can reach the level of success she knows she is capable of attaining?  Discriminating women during interviews based on their answers so personal questions is illegal, but unfortunately it’s extremely hard to prove that the discrimination exists in the first place.

In terms of gender equality in the workforce, France ranks more poorly than you’d expect for a government who has shown consistent progression throughout the years.  According to Lundberg, “In its 2012 Global Gender Gap Index, the World Economic Forum ranked France a shocking 57th, behind most other European countries, the United States (too low at No. 22), Jamaica, and Russia,” (Lundberg, It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job).  So why does a country like France experience such high percentages in basic inequalities within the workplace?  To start with, the way France promotes women to have babies proves to actually set them back when it comes to holding a job, especially in comparison to men.  Lundberg states, “Paid maternity leave increases with the number of children, from 16 weeks for one or two children to 26 weeks for three or more… Thus much guaranteed leave can make employers nervous to hire and promote women,” (Lundberg, It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job).  And it’s no wonder, because when a woman employee has four children, it means she’s been out of work for at least a year and half.

In comparison to working mothers in the United States, both countries are in difficult circumstances in terms of finding balance between work and being with their children.  But, unlike France, there is no guaranteed maternity leave or health insurance in the United States, which enables working mothers to be directed out of the workforce even more easily than those in France.  So, how can the workforce come to terms with hiring mothers in a manner that doesn’t prohibit them from reaching their utmost success?  For now, there has not been an answer, but participating in discussions is sure to get the word out and express how working mothers feel when it comes to their jobs.  Lundberg ends her article by speaking for working mothers around the world, saying, “What I really want is to find a new job, one where the fact that I’m a parent isn’t a liability,” (Lundberg, It’s Amazing to be a Working Mom in France- Unless You want a Job).

To read Claire Lundberg’s full article on working mothers in France, click on this link.