It has never been harder to be a working mom than it is today. With the current economic situation as it stands, even the decision to have a child needs to be carefully considered.
Women are waiting longer and longer to have a baby and research by the University of Adelaide, Australia, has found that because women are holding off on getting pregnant until they have financial security, the birth rate in some areas of the world has decreased. The area’s most affected are the ones that are suffering most from the economic depression, where people are challenged to find employment that offers them the financial security desired to expand the family. Additionally when women are not working under a full time contract, they are not eligible for health insurance or paid maternity leave.
For the women who are already mothers, the workplace is more challenging than ever. Fierce competition for a position of employment and company cut backs, translate into additional work hours and little flexibility, neither of which are conducive to family life. Day care is expensive and government funding is dwindling which leaves moms with little choice but to stay home. In some cases, where their income is greater than their spouse, the husband opts to stay home to care for the children, but this is only a temporary solution and by no means ideal when one salary is cut from the family income. With all the finances in the proverbial ‘one basket’ it is a tough road ahead for the ‘working family’.
Some relief ahead?
Despite the hurdles of juggling family and work, an independent US study released this year found that people in the workplace still believe that ‘having it all’ is possible. Most workers polled felt that the company they worked for offered them some flexibility in the form of working from home or flexible hours.
Employers who offered flexibility, found productivity actually increased. When mothers are given tools that help them balance work and family life they are more likely to give 100% while they are at work and manage their work schedule to the advantage of the company.
Unfortunately, the concept of ‘flex work’ is usually only available to women in more senior positions within the company and only the newer generation companies have embraced the idea so far. At least this is a step in the right direction for the millions of women in the workforce who are climbing the corporate ladder while their biological clock ticks loudly in their ears.