Prep the baby food. Send a few e-mails. Change a diaper. Write a 10-page report. Play some peek-a-boo. Edit a spreadsheet. Oh, and throw in some laundry for good measure. Like most working moms, I think I'm supposed to be an expert juggler, but I feel more like a failed magician, pulling whirled peas off of my business suit instead of rabbits out of my hat.
In the endless mommy debate over leaning in, opting out, and having it all, our cultural conversations tend to have an all-or-nothing tone. You either work full-time or you stay-at-home; you either want a career or you don't. But a new survey from Hulafrog shows that what moms really want isn't so black and white.
The survey, which polled over 2,000 U.S. moms, found that an overwhelming majority of women with children would ideally like to blur the "stay-at-home" and "working mom" titles and work part-time (65%). Additionally, more than half of stay-at-home moms said they would have remained in the workforce if working from home had been an option, and 59% of working moms would be willing to accept less pay for more flexibility.
In other words, the dream is to live in the grey area, the space between having it all and choosing one over the other. But is that all it is, a dream? What would it take to turn that dream into reality?
For starters, it would definitely require a concerted effort from both moms and their employers. Here are 3 tips for each.
1. Banish the guilt.
Last year I heard a speech by Arianna Huffington in which she said that when the doctors take the newborns out, they put the guilt in. It sure feels that way sometimes. When we're not berating ourselves for spending too little quality time with the family, we're scolding ourselves for giving less than 110% at the office. But constantly feeling at fault doesn't make us better moms or better employees; it just makes us miserable.
2. Ask for what you need.
As women we're often hesitant to speak up. We don't ask for a raise even though we deserve it. We don't ask for help at home because we don't want to seem needy. But when it comes to greater flexibility in the workplace, we can't expect our bosses to read our minds. Be upfront about your desire for flexible hours or your need for some extra days off. If nothing else, you'll have opened the all-important lines of communication.