Today is International Women’s Day and as a new mother, it holds new meaning now that I’m part of this exclusive and exceptional sorority. As such, I’d like to dedicate my message to honor a particularly resilient and hardworking group of women in business –working moms.
2022 is already a year full of change and growth for me as I welcomed my firstborn and took up my new role as the Executive Director of the CABC upon my return from maternity leave. While I embrace the career progression and new chapter in life, I have to admit that it is a true juggling act to balance the expanded responsibilities at work and responsibilities as a new parent.
Studies show that the average working hours of a mother are comparable to 2.5 full-time jobs. I have not counted the hours, but my baby tracker app tells me that in the last 7 months, I have recorded about 2,400 feeding sessions and changed 1,400 diapers and counting.
Since returning to work, I live on two simultaneous but very different schedules: a work timetable focused on running a growing organization overlapping with a feeding and napping schedule of a growing baby. This requires time management, workflow optimization for maximum efficiency, teamwork, and open communications. It turns out these are the same skills that keep my head above water, both at work and at home.
Changes in how we all get work done such as working from home and flexible work arrangements have allowed working moms like me to spend more time with our children. However, the working mom’s guilt continues. It is not only about the fear of not spending enough time with my child and missing her milestones, but also the self-doubt on my performance at work and the feeling that I need to hide my new identity or “motherness” to compete with my male or childless peers.
“Start with your most authentic voice” was the advice of my Communications Chair, Jamie on writing this message. He also pointed out the fact that my worry about maintaining a professional image in even writing a message to support women means that there is still much to be done in the business world for women to be their true authentic selves.
As the adage goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” This village goes beyond our families and friends, but also our workplaces. Being a working mom is hard, but I’m grateful to be working alongside men and women who have been greatly supportive and understanding of my new identity and responsibility as a mother, and I hope that more working moms will get the same support.
In support of IWD2022’s theme #BreaktheBias, I’d like to encourage my fellow working moms to be open about their role as mothers, instead of hiding or being apologetic about this important part of what makes you who you are. Use your most authentic voice so that real progress can be made at home, at work, and in our communities.
Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.