Just what is the Mommy Track? The Mommy Track describes a career where raises and promotions are denied, responsibilities stay the same or are decreased, and the progression of a career either stops or declines all together, all because a woman has made the choice of motherhood.
Does having children force you on the Mommy Track? Not necessarily. Although some employers are discriminatory towards mothers, if you make the choice to sacrifice some of your children’s activities for your job, then you should not be on the Mommy Track at all. Point being, you pay for what you get. If you want to be on the Fast Track, rather than the Mommy Track, you WILL have to sacrifice time with your children. There is always a man or a woman without kids who is willing to work the extra hours and make the extra trips to outdo you, no matter how you manage your time.
So the issue comes down to, what choice will you make? Well, it’s really not all that cut and dry. There are several scenarios you can follow:
- Corporate Fast Track: Put in the extra hours and go to the late night and weekend meetings. Miss soccer games in order to dine with clients. This will put you on the fast track to the top, if you are so determined. If you choose the Fast Track, be sure to spend QUALITY time with your kids to make up for less quantity. For instance, if you are working Saturday, but Wednesday is slow, take off early and take your child out for lunch and a matinee. Pros: Fast advancement, Increased Income. Cons: Less time with children, increased stress level.
- Corporate Mommy Track: Work what you need to work to get things done, whether full time or part time. Explain to your boss that you will be glad to stay late occasionally with advanced notice. However, she should know that your first priority is your family. Take all your vacation and sick days with your kids. Leave early for soccer practices and take off for field trips. You’re still bringing in an income, but you are also trying to spend every other minute possible with your kids. Pros: More “Balanced” life, can spend a good amount of time with children. Cons: Sacrificing some income and promotion opportunities, balancing work and children can be tough and stressful.
- Stay at Home Mom Track: Feel like you want to give up the 9-5 grind entirely and raise your kids full time? Make the transition to a stay at home mom’s life. Many women do this temporarily until their kids are in school; some continue through their children’s 18th birthday. If or when to go back to work is up to you. Staying at home can be very fulfilling in that you are focusing all your energy in making your children the best they can be. Pros: Great quantity of time with children, personal fulfillment in accomplishments as a mom and the sole nurturer. Cons: Can suffer mom burnout. Sacrificing income as a financial provider for the family. Sacrificing personal ambition and some intellectual stimulation.
- Work at Home Mom Track: Have the best of both worlds. Work at home! When you are working at home, you can be there when your kids really need you, but also provide financially for the family too. The key to working at home is setting limits. You should treat your office as a separate work space from your home. Be sure to set specific work times throughout the day. Pros: More flexible schedule, can be there when kids get home from school. No commute cuts down on wasted time that you can now spend with your children. Cons: Hard to establish the line between work and family.
Is the Mommy Track really so bad? Most moms don’t think so. In fact, once you are holding your baby in your arms, you may realize that being the CEO at your company just isn’t so important anymore.
Can you have it all? Absolutely. With telecommuting, flex time, and the opportunity for women to start new businesses come new options for all moms. The Mommy Track may lead you straight to prosperity.