Choices that women (and men) make with regards to their professional lives when they have children are all valid. Whether it is slowing down, working part-time, from home, full-time or being full-time carer, becoming a parent is a challenge and there are multiple ways to build the family’s new life.
I have chosen (for now) to work full-time and to keep advancing my career. This doesn’t come without it hardships : guilt at leaving my children, very hectic schedule all week long, guilt at not being able to work as long as before, derogatory and discriminatory comments in the workplace… The worst being the question : why do you keep going ?
This question is particularly hard when mothers ask it to themselves, because they do ! When life is tough, things in work aren’t progressing, home is a mess, relationship with partner is strained because both are working hard in and out of the home, all working mothers ask themselves why they keep working. Some of them end up stopping, others don’t have a choice and others choose to keep going a little bit more, just to see if things can get better.
To help mothers and employers, I have compiled a list of reasons why mothers (and increasingly fathers) continue to get up and go to work every day. This is from my own experience and from the experience of mothers around me. It is by no means exhaustive but my hope is that mums who get discouraged, like we all do, will find here reasons that resonate with them and boost them My hope is also that it will help managers and employers understand the variety of reasons that motivate new parents and how they can tap into them to offer the best environment possible to keep them in the workforce.
- to sustain the family and put food on the table
- to remain financially independent from their partner in case bad things happen
- to build a pension for their retirement
- to afford a nicer lifestyle, now and in the future
- to spend their own money when they buy themselves something nice
- to have good times and fun with colleagues
- to learn and get intellectual stimulation
- to fulfill their personal ambition
- to get a glimpse of their pre-children life
- to stay true to their younger self’s dreams and projects
- to prove to themselves that they can still do it
- to keep using their education and/or experience
- to show their children that women can have a career
- to keep work going for when the children leave the nest
- to help others, to contribute to society
- to shape the world
- to invent and to create
- to compete and to win
- to represent other women in the workplace
- to keep relating to their partner by maintaining similar professional lives
- to make their families proud
Have I forgotten something ? Please add in the comments !