Women, Children, and Maternity Leave

Over the past decade, we have seen more women at the top of the workforce. Perhaps it is just optics, but the push and conversation for diversity at every company level have elevated without question.

The onslaught of Covid has shifted the mindset, particularly for working mothers. The importance of having flexibility from mental health to being a child or parent’s caregiver is finally acknowledged because, during Covid, mothers were home and still getting shit done. Why it took so long to realize this was a big duh for another conversation, yet the young women of today, the women in their 30s and 40s who are working, are demanding flexibility as they should.

If top management does the right thing, they will be rewarded with hard-working, loyal employees. It doesn’t take much. If we want women to reach their full potential, we must acknowledge that only women have children and actually embrace them, regardless of their partner.

You can wake up one morning, your kid is sick, the teacher got Covid, or their parent had an incident, etc. The best thing a manager can do is say, “do what you need to do.” Why don’t most do that?

When Emily was barely 18 months old, she got pneumonia. It was terrifying. At this point, I was working for a company in the garment center (longer story here). I took her for a chest x-ray. It was not exactly a seamless event—lots of crying and difficulty breathing.

I had planned on going back home with her for the day. After the morning’s activities ended, I called the office to let them know the update. My boss asked me what time I would be back in the office. I was floored. I quit two weeks later and never worked for anyone again.

I look back at that and wonder how things might have been if they had understood how hard this was for me trying to juggle work, motherhood, and life in general. They didn’t give a shit. That one day was not going to change my work ethic or the amount of business I brought in for them. I vowed to treat anyone that ever worked with me as I would want to be treated. Not forgetting what it felt like coming to an office where they clearly could care less about me as a human being and a mother.

Work is just another part of each of our complicated, layered lives. Every woman I work with is given free rein to do what they need to do with zero judgment. They are invested in our work because I am invested in understanding their life needs. You gotta do what you gotta do. Family first.

I have been in their shoes, and it is not easy. The reality is it is not that hard to show everyone acknowledgment to do what they have to do to make the most of their lives. Why don’t we do it?