There’s probably not a better time to be a working mother. Organisations these days are upping their ante to come up with policies and benefits like opening crèches, giving working mothers time off, flexible work-from-home options, etc. that go a long way in retaining female employees. Mothers, working or not, don’t have it easy. Juggling a mountain of responsibilities whether at work or home and raising tiny humans is no mean feat. What probably pulls women down all the more is probably a gaggle of assumptions floating around about working moms and their stay-at-home counterparts. Let’s debunk some of them today and call them out for what they are-myths!
Myth #1: Working mothers are selfish
If you thought we just made this up, try Googling “working mothers…” and this is the first phrase that pops up. Managing a twin load of responsibilities at home and work and ensuring that your kids have everything they need to grow up to be smart and compassionate human beings are not quite how one would define “selfish.” Working mums care about their families no less than stay-at-home mums and want to advance in their careers no less than working dads.
Myth #2: All working mums look down upon non-working mums
It’s not fair to pit one group against the other when neither approach to motherhood is right or wrong. Women get that bringing up children is a full-time job and while for some, dedicating their entire time to that task is rewarding, some others may choose to juggle it with their careers. In recent times, the whole concept of “stay-at-home mums” has undergone dramatic changes. Companies nowadays offer working mums the choice to work-from-home for the greater part of the week so working mothers are also partial stay-at-home mums.
Myth #3: Working mums are better parents
There might be a ton of research out there that suggests that children of working mothers go on to have more successful careers, however, this might be because of the examples these mothers are setting than their parenting abilities. Working mothers are not endowed with magical powers that make them better parents than their stay-at-home counterparts. Both kinds put in an equal amount of effort and hard work in bringing up their kids.
Myth #4: Working mums can’t ace it at work and at home
Women are great multitaskers. Whether it’s feeding their baby while working on an office presentation, planning their families’ investments or picking up groceries during their morning runs, any work they do throughout the day involves some level of multitasking. There’s absolutely no proof to suggest that women can’t ace at work while bringing up kids. A little bit of multitasking and a whole lot of planning and organisation can help her do that and then some.
Myth #5: Kids of working mums have behavioural issues
Research suggests that qualities of a great parent include being loving and affectionate and having good communication skills, a high level of attentiveness and respect of autonomy. There’s no evidence that suggests that these traits are particularly lacking in working mums than stay-at-home mums. Children of working mums grow up seeing men and women contribute equally to the household. This goes a long way in defining their perception of working women and influences their attitudes when they encounter working mothers later in their work lives.
Myth #6: Working mothers aren’t as committed to their jobs as others
Working mothers indeed take more time off than any other group of employees. That’s because when the child gets sick, it’s usually the mother who has to take the day off to be with her child. Managing a twin load of responsibilities can get pretty stressful at times and it’s only human that this will affect her health at some point. However, this in no way means that moms don’t care about their work and are any less dedicated to their job.
Myth #7: Working mums have it harder
It can, indeed, get pretty stressful for working moms to manage responsibilities both at home and at work with equal panache. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and working moms have to do everything humanly possible to optimise those hours in terms of productivity, spending quality time with their kids and finishing all their chores. But it can get equally stressful for stay-at-home mums given the challenges of housework and taking care of a child at the same time.
Motherhood is a full-time job and whether you choose to manage it along with a career or stay at home is entirely your choice. We’re all unique in terms of our capabilities, strengths and aspirations so it’s not fair to generalise and pit one approach as being better than the other.
This article was originally published on bankbazaar.com and re-published with permission.