Being a mum is wonderful. Having a satisfying career is also wonderful. But trying to manage both things at the same time can be somewhat trying. Working mums have tons of drama in their life, and it sometimes feel like we are permanently on call. After all, when our day at work ends, we’re leaving for the night shift at home.
In a world where we are increasingly expected to be available every hour of every day, thanks to our smartphones and the internet, parents get pretty stressed out when employers don’t respect the boundaries between work and life. It’s bad enough that most companies are nowhere near to truly implementing flexible hours but sometimes, some things happen that make life even more difficult for working mums.
The workplace does not cater to parents
While the benefits of flexible hours have been documented, Malaysian companies are well behind on the trend. Most bosses prefer seeing their employees, at their stations, from 9-6 and even longer. Basically, early in and late out makes a model employee.
But the current 9-6 work culture is not only outdated, but the lack of flexibility creates tons of stress and frustration for parents who scramble every morning getting themselves and the kids out of the house, worry over childcare and don’t get to spend enough time with their children everyday.
Planning after-hour activities
After work karaoke sessions. Volunteering on weekends. While its great to spend time bonding, but letting work-related activities creep into non-paid time is disrespectful to all employees. To be a working mum, moms have to at some point leave work. It’s unfair to guilt us into spending even more time at work, while cutting into our personal time.
Switching meetings at the last minute
Mums are on a really tight schedule. Every moment of every day is planned. So switching a meeting at the last minute means that either they cannot make it and thus miss out, or scramble to make arrangements for the baby sitter to stay longer, or for their spouse or co-parent to change their plans to make it home to take care of the children.
Making it hard to pump at the office
Every other day on Facebook mom support groups, there are moms complaining that their workplace or employer are taking issue towards their pumping in office. Whether there’s no designated space, or employers feeling that moms use up too much “company time” pumping, there are always obstacles for moms to leap over just to give her baby the food they are meant to have.
Giving working moms access to private space without so many obstacles would make us feel more human, in addition to supporting nursing mothers who are not ready to give up pumping.
Reminding us that we should be guilty about juggling a job and a kid
“Don’t you miss your kids?” “Don’t you worry about them at the babysitters?” “Aren’t you missing out on their precious moments?”
Yes we do miss our kids, and worry and miss some moments. But being at work satisfies the part of us that existed before the children. Having a career is successful, and it makes us feel good to contribute to family finances. Most importantly, why are you so concerned with guilting us? Are you going to help reshape company policy to be more friendly to mothers?