DEBATE: Moms and the Corporate World!

by Claire Minnaar


I’m a Mom who works and one of my priorities is that from 8am – 5pm, I’m here for work, but anything after 5pm or before 8am is my time with kids. I do NOT like to deviate from that at all and avoid any possible interruption of that time with my kids. I plan my entire day around those times to ensure that I’m here for both my sake as well as my children’s sake.

This got me thinking the other day, though, when I had a request to work after hours about whether the corporate world SHOULD take the fact that a woman is a mother as a consideration when hiring her on a permanent, or even, on a contract basis?

Here are the questions that came to mind when I gave it some real thought:

  • Should MOMs be allowed to choose the times they work?
  • Should MOMs be catered for in the corporate world e.g. they aren’t required to work after hours, they have more flexible hours, etc.?
  • Should MOMs get special treatment at work because their child is sick or their nanny didn’t pitch?
  • Should the government not support MOMs more by subsidising their incomes more so they can work less? Or, perhaps better tax benefits?
  • Do women who are MOMs NOT get considered for a position because they are a Mom?

I’m very interested to hear from other Moms out there how they deal with the corporate world? Do you work after hours even when you don’t want to – who then looks after your kids? Are you made to feel guilty because you are a Mom and you can’t always put in those extra hours your company needs?

I think this is a very interesting topic. I know as an employer that it can be frustrating when an employee can’t work as a result of an unexpected scenario e.g.  Child is sick, nanny doesn’t pitch, school closes for the day, etc. However, thankfully, my particular business isn’t overly deadline or meeting focussed. But, what about out there in the BEEG GROWN UP world at the companies where meetings and deadlines are a daily thing – how do other Moms do it?

Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

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Phillipa Geard January 31, 2013 - 8:05 am

I think that any organisation is strengthened by diversity in its leadership structure. That includes having both women, and women who are mothers in an organisation. Sadly, there are very few organisations in South Africa that either recognise this truth, or if recognised actually change their way of doing business to maintain the Mothers that want to work.

I see from my own website, many Mothers working full time, desperate to find an alternative form of employment so that they can spend more time with their children. The need or desire to work and be a mother who spends time with her children does not need to be mutually exclusive, all it takes is effort and commitment from both parties. My experience shows Moms are committed to make the effort, now we need the companies to get there too.

Claudi January 31, 2013 - 9:58 am

Couldn’t agree with you more Phillipa.

Claudi January 31, 2013 - 9:57 am

I am very fortunate to have negoatiated a half day position at three different advertising agencies. I am currently working at a top Joburg agency, and they have been incredibly accommodating. I think it’s a case of being ready to negotiate and asking the right questions. None of the posts advertised were for half day, but I mustered the courage to ask, to bargain and to find a way to work around it. I often find myself working once the kids are in bed to meet tight deadlines, however I’d much rather be up a bit later, knowing that I had given them my time and full attention during the afternoon. For the corporate world to realise our needs, we also need to make them aware of what they are. There are so many incredibly skilled and highly experienced moms out there, who can add so much value and achieve the company’s goals, if a company is willing to stop clock watching, and rather to agree that if the job is done, and done well – the hours don’t really matter.

Sending lots of love to all working moms. It’s never easy. And we need to start supporting each other more.


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