More hidden pitfalls and challenges of being a working parent
Thank you for shining a light on the ups and downs of modern working parenthood. As I raised a seed round while 8 months along, I found it interesting that fewer female investors were willing to stick their neck out, perhaps preferring to stick to safer investments and established - often male - founders. We successfully raised our target, with only one female investor and over eight males. How do we change the structural biases at play to enable women to accelerate change? Another point - motherhood will slow your career - the flip side is it may slow the pace, but elucidate what matters most sooner, speeding up your potential to impact in the long run. Appreciate your perspective and leadership. 😊
We are a family of both working parents with two young kids and demanding jobs, and every bit of this resonates. I very much appreciate the authenticity of this post. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for writing this, Deb. I am a working mom and every point resonates.
This is a very powerful article that has touched me. I am currently a mom going thru the postpartum and just returned to work with managing 2 kids who are 2 years apart. This is like giving me life advice on my current situation! Thank you for this article.
Thank you for writing this. It’s truly a career tax but I wouldn’t exchange anything in the world to be a mom. Raised in time when women are considered equal to men, I found it very hard to adjust to work post becoming a mom. While I admire women who don’t even take mat leave, but I don’t think hustle should be normalized like that
Beautifully written. Love the authenticity and how it accurately captures the struggles we face everyday! I'm in the same boat with two working parents and kids schedules. It's especially re-assuring to know moms in tech in leadership positions have also toyed with the idea of leaving altogether and then getting convinced to stick it out. How does one locate such mentors?
This is THE perspective I have been waiting for ! this here is liberating , affirming and validating in its pure raw honesty.
Enough of the "you can have it all", "you can do it all" , "lean in hard enough" , all beautiful lies that have young women wondering where they missed the plot when they become mothers and juggle careers and why can't they be like the well manicured mother of 5, high flying CEO whose kids are all well adjusted and works 100 hour weeks.
The math just does not add up and it's a disservice vehiculing this idea to young women as an ideal.
I attended a womens empowerment conference last week where the CEO who is a woman was asked by a young lady how she juggles family, motherhood and being a CEO of a thriving tech company and her response was " you just do , if you are serious about your job then you won't be watching the clock and ready to leave at 5pm" !
Basically in order to prove you are serious ,you leave your baby at the crèche while you work late hours ?
Apart from that it was a really good conference
I don't even want to talk about the splash of cold water feeling you experience when you realise that you can be all 50/50 you want with your partner , the world just doesn't view you the woman that way and that's a fact and women only learn that mostly AFTER they become mothers.
Enough already of all these insensitive , anxiety inducing , false and misrepresenting advice to young women #rantover
Thank you Debbie for being real, I would really really love to interview you
Thanks for sharing your experience here! As a mother of three young kids who works part-time in education, this post prompted several reflections:
1) I think I was tricked into thinking two full-time working parents was doable for our family by full-day, year-round daycare. I didn’t realize how unmanageable it all was until my kids started going to preschool that got out at 2:30 with no aftercare (our options were limited by COVID). And then of course kid activities started.
2)One thing that makes full-time work x2 hard for our family is that my oldest, who just finished kindergarten, struggles with full-day care. He was fine in full-day daycare and early in preschool, but we think some sensory integration challenges started to make full-day care overwhelming for him when he stopped napping. He is now able to verbalize this and is very clear that he doesn’t want to be in after-care because the day is too long for him. I feel grateful that between my part-time schedule and the care we have for my youngest, he doesn’t have to do after-care. Some kids clearly thrive in after-care, but of course others do not.
3)I read a book recently that really cemented for me how recent it is that women joined the workforce. I think many of the challenges we experience are the result of us being only a few generations into two working parents being so common.
4)Motherhood is not the only thing that can slow down a career — and maybe we should start to think of careers having seasons just like life, so it doesn’t feel so monumental when our careers slow down for a period of time. Others things can slow down a career: fatherhood, of course (though we know the challenges they face are different); having to care for someone else in your family, like an ailing parent; burnout; a pandemic causing you to reassess your priorities; your own illness; and so on.
My frustration with those who do decide to work outside the home, is the lack of respect or willingness to pay for quality care for their kids. I stayed home with mine by choice and I have absolutely zero regrets-mine are grown and gone now. But what I see, and have always seen as a caregiver ( before having mine) to others’ kids, is the lowball amount folks want to pay others to take care of their children. So they bounce them around caregivers and daycares. It’s just as rough (or more so) on the children. Let me just say, even 30 years ago, as a day care teacher, I could walk into my school room and within minutes be able to tell you which children were there all day and which ones used it as a preschool. Those all day kids were much, much wilder and untaught. It’s the kids’ side that also needs to be realized. Work instead of staying home all you want, but let’s also raise the bar for the care they’re given. My two cents.
No family support here in the west coast. Zero. Great fam in NJ, though. We are miserable with a two year old special needs son :(
Echoing what others were saying, this totally speaks to my experience! Even though my older child is now a teenager, all the struggles between showing up at school to cheer for my kids at all kinds of activities, being a good performing employee, and last but not least, showing passion with my remaining energy, the words in the article are still truthfully relevant.
One of the remarks in my career is when I recall my manager asking me to stay for a meeting at 5 o’clock. I had a “deadline” to rush to daycare by 5:30 to pick up my toddler before it closed. The struggle not able to say no, and the worry that my kid will be the last one to pick up. I also remember when my kids were little, I had to drive them to daycare early in the morning while calling into a meeting from the car. Most of the team was in the room except for me. My signal was cut off in some areas while driving. Felt embarrassed and called back in, but one of the people on the phone showed impatience. During Covid, things didn’t get better. There were new challenges even though we had the luxury of working from home. My kids studied at home and I was doing four roles every day during throughout the Covid time- working, cooking, being a part-time teacher and caretaker. My husband and I were on the same floor working but we never got a chance to talk in person but texting to arrange house chores and parenting responsibilities. We ended up fighting. It was very tough and exhausting for me.
Because of all these experiences and lessons learned, I would hesitate if the working environment is not working-mom friendly. Sadly, I need to be smart enough to set myself up for success if the support system isn’t there. To end the comment on the positive side, things are much better during the DEI wave. There is more awareness and visibility to discuss diversity and equality between gender, color, and others. This is enlightening for all moms in the workforce! I hope this shine the future for all the exhausted working moms!
I have read and re-read this post multiple times since you published it because it really makes all the feelings I have had as a working mom feel validated, especially the parts about how the world is NOT set up for two working parents (despite the rising cost of living and the need for dual income households), and even though I know tons of support is needed, I have continually felt isolated from my peers in the fact that I rely on a lot of support systems to make it work. Thank you for writing this!
Thank you for sharing this and touching upon this subject. It's a constant struggle & questioning all the pre-maternity ideas & priorities. You are right, the world is absolutely not ready and you'll face judgement no matter what you choose as a mother. The saddest thing is you'll often get judged by other women....
This resonated so much with me as I am nursing my 6 month old and preparing for my next presentation at work. I work in tech and the wfh benefit has really helped me.
Can you elaborate more on this:
"With my manager’s support and encouragement, I redoubled my efforts and thrived under his leadership, but for many women, this simply isn’t possible. " How did you thrive exactly? What did you change?