It troubles me, a little bit.
“Ms. Uttech says she thinks — or at least hopes — that someday motherhood will be viewed by employers as an asset, as a source of leadership skills and other human capital. Maybe someday managers won’t just tolerate family responsibilities but seek them out in potential hires, she said.’Because I’m a mom I know how to multitask, and I have all these other skills I didn’t have before like juggling, mentoring, educating, problem-solving, managing,’ she said. ‘And I’m so much more productive now during the hours when I am working. Motherhood should be a feather in my cap, not a drawback.’
I’m trying to understand what troubles me about this sentiment.
Is “motherhood” really a “feather” in one’s cap? As Ms. Uttech describes, I can understand why she sees it that way, since it requires so much extra (waking before dawn, driving for hours to and from work and extra curricular activities, organizing every minute of one’s day, relying heavily on relatives and a supportive husband, having to prove for years that she’s capable of working from home one day a week before being allowed to do so permanently).
Employers need to make it easier for all of us, with or without family responsibilities, to do our jobs. We need to continue to make the business case for workplace flexibility, so that more employers see its long-term pay-off.
I sometimes wonder whether it’s a bit harder to make that case when you have New York Times stories on heroic moms like Ms. Uttech, who has a sympathetic female boss, and supportive female friends and a (strangely unquoted) supportive husband.
Work-life balance is in everybody’s–not just moms’ and/or women’s–interest.
Maybe the next story will be about a male corporate executive who has the Corner Office, won’t give it up, but wants (and gets!) more time at home, to spend with his grown children.