Published February 5, 2024

Estimated read time: 5 mins


How to Help Working Mothers Return to the Workplace?

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern society, the role of women has undergone a profound transformation, with an increasing number of women choosing to pursue both a career and the rewarding journey of motherhood. Working mothers, with their remarkable ability to balance career aspirations and the tender embrace of motherhood, face unique challenges and hurdles along the way. Their strength, resilience, and hard work not only contribute to the economic stability of their households but also fosters diversity, empowerment, and inclusivity in the workplace. 

Getting back to work…

Many working mothers face career disruptions and new challenges when returning to work after maternity leave. This could be in recruitment, promotions, or even teamwork. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in the United States, about 42% of mothers who took maternity leave said it had a negative impact on their careers. Also, some reported difficulties in regaining their professional status and finding suitable job opportunities after returning to work.

Moreover, working mothers may face discrimination and bias in the workplace. Working mothers face discrimination when it comes to recruitment or promotions since employers make assumptions about their commitment, availability, and productivity at work. 

According to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 37% of highly qualified women who had taken a career break reported experiencing discrimination when attempting to reenter the workforce. 

To add more to that, according to another survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018, 8% of women who were either pregnant or recently pregnant reported experiencing negative treatment at work.

The struggles....

The juggling of the responsibilities of work and family is undoubtedly not an easy task. Along with that, working mothers face many other emotional, systemic, and situational challenges.

In a 2005 study by Pew Research, they found that 41% of mothers who have children under 18 always feel rushed. In the same study, it was found that 25% of working fathers also always felt rushed thus, shows how working mothers constantly face emotional challenges. 

Furthermore, the wage gap between mothers and women without children can be viewed as a systemic issue faced by some working mothers. A study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that women with children earn less than women without children, even after accounting for factors like education and experience.

Moreover, many working mothers face challenges in achieving work-life balance due to a lack of flexible work arrangements. According to a study by FlexJobs, 31% of working mothers surveyed cited a lack of flexible work options as a major barrier to returning to work after having a child. This shows that situational factors such as flexibility also add up to the vast number of challenges working mothers face.

All of the above considered, it is evident that working mothers could be greatly benefited by providing them with necessary support and assistance. 

A helping hand…

Given the difficulties and obstacles working mothers encounter, offering them the necessary support and advice is best. One such way of support is through providing them with coaching services. Following are some of the ways coaching helps working mothers navigate the workplace more effectively. 

  • Time management and work-life balance: Balancing work and family can be a challenging task. A coach can help working mothers gain clarity about their personal and professional goals. This way, they can assist in defining priorities and creating a roadmap to achieve those goals, allowing working mothers to align their work and personal lives more effectively. 

  • Career progression and development: A coach can help identify strengths and areas for improvement, guide career planning, and offer strategies to overcome challenges such as negotiating for promotions or pursuing new opportunities. They can also assist with developing leadership skills, boosting confidence, and enhancing communication abilities.

  • Stress management and well-being: Juggling multiple responsibilities can often lead to stress and burnout. A coach can help working mothers develop effective stress management techniques, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care. They can offer strategies for maintaining overall well-being, including physical, mental, and emotional health.

  • Overcoming guilt and self-doubt: Many working mothers experience guilt and self-doubt about balancing work and family roles. A coach can assist in reframing these negative thoughts, fostering self-compassion, and developing a positive mindset. They can help working mothers overcome limiting beliefs and build confidence in their abilities.

  • Building support networks: Working mothers can sometimes feel isolated or overwhelmed. A coach can help in building a support network by exploring strategies to connect with other working parents, mentors, or professional organizations. This support system can provide valuable advice, resources, and a sense of community.

Benefits for the employer…

  • Better Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that teams with a higher representation of women, including working mothers, were better at problem-solving and decision-making. They demonstrated higher collective intelligence, leading to improved outcomes and innovation.

  • Stronger Work Ethic: Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that working mothers tend to have a strong work ethic due to their ability to multitask, manage time efficiently, and prioritize tasks. This work ethic can positively impact their performance and motivate others within the organization.

  • Higher Employee Retention: Research conducted by the Center for American Progress found that policies such as paid family leave for working mothers can reduce employee turnover by as much as 20%. Organizational support for working mothers through family-friendly policies makes it more likely to retain valuable talent.

  • Improved Communication and Collaboration Skills: Working mothers often develop exceptional communication and collaboration skills as they navigate their responsibilities both at home and in the workplace. These skills enable them to build strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders, leading to better teamwork and overall organizational success.

TLDR…

According to a 2019 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 70% of mothers with children under the age of 18 were in the labor force. Hence, transitioning from being on leave to being back at the workplace and being a team player, receiving promotions and recruitment should be much smoother than the facts and figures indicate. Therefore, coaching can be a very effective way to help working mothers solve problems and help them navigate workplace challenges. It not only helps them but also greatly benefits the employers.