I tried to raise my three children to make decisions for themselves and be critical thinkers. For my sons to respect women and their abilities, and for my daughter to enjoy the freedom to have choices in life and think outside the box.
I’ve worked in an industry that, like many others, was and is still a male dominated world. I had a boss that, while interviewing me, asked me how in the world I could be a good mother to my children, and travel with this position? I’ve been in board rooms, as the token female, who when I had an opinion or a thought that didn’t align with my male counterparts, was asked if I was PMSing!
I wanted to provide a life for my family. I wanted to work. I had a lot to contribute, and I enjoyed what I did. My kids never knew the challenges I faced in order to have a career. All they knew was, if they needed me, Mom would do her best to be there. They came along with me on business trips and cool destinations. It wasn’t easy, it was just my life, my normal.
Now I run a company that employs some amazingly talented women. The entire team is virtual, and yes, there are babies involved. We have military wives, single women, and moms. The team is diverse, creative, incredibly committed and powerful.
Being virtual, we’re able to contribute, be a part of something bigger, provide for our families, and lead and mold the next generation of adults who will build on what we’ve done, and make it even better.
When my daughter shared the article, “I’m Sorry To All Mothers,” all I could think was, YES! My own daughter, expecting twin girls, is now in the same position I was. She has a career, she’s good at what she does, and she has more opportunities and support then I did. In Katherine Zaleski’s apology to all the women she used to work with, she talks about how slandering working mom’s was normal for her.
The glass ceiling still exists, BUT….. it’s getting better.
Here are 9 things you should know about working with Moms:
She’s a great manager. Working moms are able to schedule and run a household, meet the needs of her family, and contribute to a team, all virtually!
She’s an adult that doesn’t need to be micro managed. Let them do their job, their way.
She may need to pick up or drop off kiddos, it’s ok. Refer to #2. Be flexible and work around life. She knows what her job entails and she’ll do it with excellence.
She is good at what she does. You hired her for her talents and abilities. Trust her. Your flexibility and support will reward you with dedicated employees.
She needs to network and does it well. Support ideas, encourage networking, and listen! We recently had one of the women on our team talk to me about having a new baby, the need to network, and get out a bit. I encouraged her to do something about it. Find a meetup or create a meetup group for virtual employees. If she feels this way, there’s a need and she’s getting a tap on the shoulder to do something about it.
Lead by example. Leading as a woman and a mom can be hard work. I set the tone for growth, productivity, flexibility, and fun! I am responsible for encouraging, rewarding, empathizing, and growing my team, and the business. I have to make sure my own house is in order. I’ve had many a sweaty Skype meeting, because I just made it back from a cycling workout.
Don’t question her level of commitment. Katherine Zaleski referred to working late, meetups at a bar, etc. - and I’d add golf outings - are typically male concepts of work “commitment”. What you may not recognize is, that type of “commitment” does not necessarily equal loyalty or productivity.
Multi tasking is a part of her DNA. She will typically have 25 tabs open on her screen, and juggle multiple projects. Her way of delivering results may not be yours. Get out of her way, and trust you’ve got the right person for the job.
Having children isn’t a disease, it’s a blessing. Your team dynamics may evolve with the circle of life happening before your eyes. Embrace it, and focus on the qualities that make her a value to your organization. Virtual work is a great option. Be flexible and again, refer to the second point.
Leading as a woman, mom and grammie isn’t easy, it’s who I am and what I do. Would I change anything I’ve gone through to get me where I am today? Not one thing!