Chances are, you work with at least a few parents, any of whom can tell you that juggling work and family is just about the hardest work-life balance trick to pull off. Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, think about what the working moms at your company really want. (It is not a bouquet or a box of chocolates.)
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Being a working mom often means rearranging schedules on the fly. Kids get sick, permission slips get lost, school plays get scheduled for the middle of the weekly meeting. Co-workers without kids often feel resentful at the intrusion of personal life into work life. If you’re one of them, just remember: as annoyed as you are, it doesn’t touch the pressure your colleague is under. Before you judge, consider whether your co-worker gets things done, despite the occasional schedule interruption. And then remember that we’re supposed to work to live, not live to work.
2. A flexible schedule.
If you’re a manager, the nicest thing you can do for all your reports is offer flexibility. If you do, of course, you should offer it based on merit and make sure that the child-free folks get an equal shot at the perk. (See above re: possible resentment.)
3. Appreciation of their unique skills.
No one is better at making things happen than a working parent. Parents are, by necessity, efficient managers of people, priorities, and time. Rather than focusing on the times that working mothers have to leave early or stay home to deal with a sick child, we should appreciate how learning to juggle all those different needs makes them better workers in the long run.
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