When I was pregnant, headlines such as Children Hurt Women’s Earnings, but Not Men’s (Even in Scandinavia) kept popping up in my feed. This was not very encouraging – but it also wasn’t surprising. Women face discrimination in many areas of life, and returning to work after having a baby is no exception.
Have you heard of the Motherhood Penalty?
The Motherhood Penalty refers to the disadvantages women with children face in the workplace – including being paid less than working fathers and women without children.
And it doesn’t stop there. Working mothers are less likely to get hired and promoted, and the recommended salaries are lower. They are also perceived as less competent and less committed to their work. Working fathers, on the other hand, seem to benefit from being a parent by being perceived as more committed. It also seems to be more acceptable for men with children to be late for work.
Having been a mother now for over a year, I really don’t see why working mothers should be discriminated in the workplace. To me, it is obvious that motherhood has made me better at what I do. I wish there was more awareness of how being a mother can help you in your career.
Regardless of whether you are working from home, working for a company, have your own business or work in academia, being a mother can bring value to your career.
1. You learn to work smarter.
As a working mother, you will master time management. Time is always short, and things need to get done.
2. You learn to adjust and solve problems quickly.
No matter how good you are at planning, you will encounter unexpected problems that need solving – fast. This skill is useful in all aspects of life.
3. Your patience grows.
As a mother, you know that good things take time. If you find something worthy of your time, you’ll be willing to wait for it.
4. You learn to delegate.
If you, like me, used to be the kind of person who took on too many tasks, motherhood teaches you not to do this – you simply don’t have the time.
5. Your priorities change.
Perhaps you start to reconsider your previous life and career choices, or maybe you decide to change career altogether. Having a child is indeed life-changing.
6. Being a mother could make you more ambitious.
Because of your lack of time, you might start to avoid certain tasks and realize that you only have time to do the things that take you forward.
I ask all working mothers to emphasize that being a mother can make you better at what you do for a living.
Don’t hide an employment gap due to having a baby in your CV. Instead, put it out there and explain how it has changed you and improved your performance.
Motherhood is challenging, for sure, but it can also be incredibly empowering. Giving birth and raising another human being gave me a new type of confidence. It made me feel like I could do anything.
As a new mother, you will get a crash course in life and this little human will train you in ways you can never expect. Motherhood made me stronger, more creative and ambitious. I thought I was tough before, but motherhood made me rock hard. If you decide to become a mother, don’t let anyone tell you it will hold you back in your career.