When I was growing up in the small Minnesota town of Little Falls, almost every mom stayed at home. As a kid, I played outside until Dad came home and Mom had dinner on the table at 5:45 p.m.
That lifestyle started to change when my wife and I started our family. During our generation of parenting is when the concept of working moms started to gain momentum and daycare and after school activities became more common. A natural byproduct to making this new family work schedule successful was that we needed to share in more of the responsibilities.
As women have become commonplace in the workforce, so have the complexities of effectively maintaining work-life balance. It seems like there are a few primary roles that moms still play, such as doctor appointments, child care arrangements and being the school liaison. Of course, there are exceptions. As Mother’s Day approaches, it makes me reflect on how fortunate we are to have so many working moms here at Marco. From my perspective, they seem to have it all together, balancing family, their careers and even volunteering in their community.
I recently sat down with two of our successful leaders, who are really great moms, to hear how they do it. I thought you would be interested, too.
Wanda is a married mother of two 10-year-old twins and a 22-year-old son. When we started our client call center, we knew she was the woman with the skills and experience to lead it. Today, in addition to her responsibilities as a mom, Wanda serves as director of client services and leads a team of 50 people. She also finds time to regularly volunteer in her local community.
Ann came to Marco as a young and motivated college graduate and quickly became a top sales performer. When she had her first child 12 years ago, she wrestled with putting her career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom. So we agreed on a flexible schedule that allowed her to spend more time with her new daughter. Ann now serves as a sales manager and last year received the national ImageSource Trailblazer Award for her leadership in a male-dominated industry.
Here’s what they shared:
- Assign dinner duty. Back in my day, my mom made all the dinners. Today’s working parents split the duties or even sometimes have the dad do all the cooking. In Ann’s case, her husband takes the first half of the week and she takes the second half.
- Strategize the week. On Sundays, you’ll find these women and their husbands talking through the week and creating a plan for who’s doing what. That communication continues day-to-day over texts and emails as schedules change.
- Look for flexibility. These women say they could not do it without a company that’s committed to work-life balance. For them, it’s the leading attribute they look for in a good employer. I value having them on the team and can’t imagine our organization without them. As an employer, offering flexibility is a great way to attract and keep good people.
- Build a strong support at home. The men behind these women are doing their part, too. They both have their own successful careers and share the day-to-day responsibilities at home and for their children. They work together as a team to make the equation work.
- Focus on quality family time. From family cabin weekends with no technology to reading together every night, these women focus on seizing the moments that matter. For example, when an acquisition required someone to be on-site in Iowa over Christmas, Wanda willingly accepted – and took her family with and stayed at the waterpark resort. (And Marco picked up the tab). Her family remembers that Christmas as one of their favorites.
- Live by shared calendars and lists. Keeping it all straight isn’t easy. But these women say it is easier for them and their husbands with a list and a shared calendar. The digital tools today certainly help coordinate the busy lives of working parents.
I have always believed that busy people get more done, and I certainly see that with today’s working moms. I also have learned that the quality of the individual is what determines the quality of the mom – not whether she works outside the home or not. Wanda and Ann, and so many others, are examples of what good working moms look like. I recognize these women represent married households, and obviously, the variables are different for single moms.
When I was growing up, work-life balance wasn’t even a term. Today, we could not imagine attracting and keeping good employees without it. What tips can you suggest for mothers balancing their
Happy Mother’s Day!