Motherhood + work always feels like it isn't working.
That is because it wasn't meant to. In fact, work is working just as it was intended.
Work was designed for two adult households. It was designed for one person to go to work and one person to stay home (post war era it was time for women to get back into the home right?)
You did everything "right." You went to school, got a degree, got a job, did a good job and were SORT of doing ok and then children...
Maternity leave, mom & baby groups were part of the plan but no one mentioned the existential crisis that accompanied birth. No one thought to tell me that even healthy kids would be a challenge and no one sat me down to have the chat about what 40 specialists appointments a year would do to your life, mental health, career and relationship. They sort of skipped that chapter in the baby books.
This leads me to Moms at Work. Moms at Work was an act of rebellion. It was my chance to actually do the things that we say we want. All the things that we said if they changed, it would fix this.
So I set out to do work differently by the following:
- Well paid part time work (yes my part time work is due to a disability but stay with me)
- Doing meaningful work (yes I really like you all)
- Aiming to hire team members with special needs kids or career breaks or both and providing flexible work
- Establishing and maintaining remote work (pre pandemic no less)
- Resist the urge to create unneeded "urgency" Moms at Work does amazing things but NOTHING that can't wait 24-48 hours for a response. Literally nothing and that is saying a lot.
But this I realized was not a reflection of the society in which we exist and while we are trying to build something different - the rest of the world hasn't caught up yet!
This means that we are met with the following from working mothers (I won't tell you what we are met with by men)
"Why haven't you responded to my email from yesterday?" It is 9:01am and you sent the email at 5:57pm.
"Why haven't you approved my facebook post?" Beacuse it is a free Facebook group. End of sentence.
"I can't believe you don't want to do this partnership it is really good money" It is not actually and also - you are a unionbusting organization that underpays its staff and posts billion dollar profits. We don't do that here - and also I would rather scratch out my own eyes with a dull stick than work with this organization.
"Did you delete my comment - I hope your kid is dead and that you deleted it by accident" Again - Facebook group. End of sentence (oh and by the way - BLOCK)
"I can't believe you charge money for your work - you should be a non profit" Non profits are JUST COMPANIES that don't pay tax and rely on grants and donations to do their work (oh and they charge money for things too). Also - no - no we shouldn't. Moms at Work is a company that is committed to advocacy, changemaking and more. We can do that because we are also AMAZING at our job as career coaches and community builders (work with us HERE)
So what I have learned from the above statements is actually the opposite of "This is not working."
This is working REALLY REALLY well. We run a profitable business that is dumping money back into changing the systems that OTHER companies are dumping money into keeping the same.
People are forced to face the fact that their urgency is not our emergency and that being successful isn't all about money and hypergrowth.
So we are going to keep going. We are going to keep working part time. Making noise and writing legislation, meeting with political leaders and other changemakers to make this better for working mothers. When we make things better for working mothers it makes it better for everyone.
That feels like it is working to me.
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Allison Venditti is a Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, and pay transparency and equity advocate. She is the founder of Moms at Work Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs, and build community. All with a LARGE HELPING of advocacy baked in.
Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022 and is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2022. Find out more about how you can work with us and create change for working women everywhere.