Indra Nooyi shared a letter her daughter had written at the age of four that expressed her desire for mom to come home and she spoke about it at the Women in the World Summit a few months back. She also gave her opinion for what society needs to do to solve this problem of women having to balance working and mothering. Her first idea was to put daycares on more corporate campuses, like the one she runs as CEO, Pepsico. Her second idea is that society as a whole needs to embrace moving in their parents so they can be more involved and available to help as grandparents. Essentially, they would be live-in child care. Of course, this notion is not new and actually describes how other nations raise children as large families. It’s a nice idea, but not totally feasible for everyone nor should it be the only solution. Remember, Nooyi’s daughter begged her to come home, not for grandma to come and stay. Our children want us for reasons explained in part one.
Here are three alternative solutions for any working woman considering having children or who are already mothers.
Prioritize Your Life – For young women just getting started this could mean being intentional in planning to have children around your career. Deciding to start a family after meeting goals, or taking a career break until they are school-aged is one of the most selfless things a mother can do while still striving to be who she wants to be. Look for and marry a man who supports whatever it is you want to do, whether that be to wait to have a family or staying home to raise them.
Work More Efficiently – There are several ways to implement this idea so that you work less and have more time for family. Reduce your hours to work part time, either just a few days a week or half days Monday through Friday. Companies are allowing this less and less for salaried employees, so if this is not possible, another option may be to work a 9/80 schedule. It requires working an extra hour for nine days, but on the 10th day, Friday, you are free to start the weekend early. The best part is that it makes your week flexible if you needed to take a day off in the middle of the week to care for a sick child. A third option is to work from home entirely by telecommuting.
Work from home – Sometimes waiting to have kids and reducing hours is just not an option, especially for single mothers. That’s when you have to get really creative if spending more time with the children is important. The best thing a single mother can do for herself and her children is to start a business she can do from home. Not only does she get to be more hands on in raising them, but the kids get to learn that entrepreneurship is possible for anyone.
Society tells women they can have it all, and they should, if they want. However, it shouldn’t be at the expense of being fully present and available as a mother. With the alternative ideas mentioned above, living a fulfilled life and raising happy, healthy children is definitely possible.
Written by Leslie Matthews, Contributing Writer, #mygirlsquad