Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Families interrupted by work

As soon as I got pregnant, two things started happening right away:
  1. Other mothers started telling me pregnancy- and child-related horror stories. (Seriously, why do women do this?)
  2. I was treated a little differently at work.
In fairness to my employer at the time (which is different than the company and great team I work with now), I don't think it was all intentional. But, it did become a game of "spot the differences" between me and my coworkers: My superiors didn't want me to travel (even though I was well under 35 weeks at the time), they used a "mommy brain" excuse to keep me from taking on more projects (even though I had never used that excuse myself) and were generally overcareful with me.

After I had my little guy, I was subjected to the same rigorous conditions that my other coworkers were: Expectations to be on call 24/7, late nights and additional workloads. And that was a nasty transition for me. If they had to treat me differently at all, I would have preferred it to be after I had my son and during all those sleepless nights.

Turns out a lot of mothers have issues with advancing their careers once they have families. (This isn't news.) We have lots of anecdotal evidence and studies to support that. But this piece on the cult of overwork hurting families really hit home for me. The piece cites several studies including the Pew study that reported 51 percent of mothers finding it hard to advance professionally after having a child when only 16 percent of men felt the same.

So, it's time for both men and women to start taking back our home time. You remember what that is right? The time that you cuddle up on the couch with your loved one and watch a movie without glancing at your phone to see what work emails you need to answer. The time that you spend not thinking about that project you have to do tomorrow because you are fully engaged in the UNO game you are losing to a four-year-old. The time that you remember that you have interests outside of work.

What do you wish you had more time in your day to do? Tell me in the comments.


  1. I agree we need some time where we are not thinking about work. Since I work from home, it can be hard to stop my workday.

    1. Very true, Melissa! When you work at home, that line becomes extra blurry. I hope you have an area of your home designated for work and the rest of it is for family time!