For the Moms: We Celebrate You
This month, we celebrate Mothers: Our own, our wives, the ones we work with, and the ones who manage the family. Perhaps you are a Mother yourself. You may be caring for an aging Mother. If you have lost your Mother, this time of year may be particularly bittersweet as you reflect on the woman who gave you life and raised you. I pray this month that you will find comfort in her memory.
I have been reflecting on what an incredibly lucky man I am to be surrounded by amazing women. And in doing so, I am reminded that these experiences have led to decisions I have made in my professional life as well. At the core of my work, the culture of the organization I founded is the philosophy of “family first,” services to others, and personal well-being. These are guiding principles that were influenced by the women in my life.
I am a Father to three grown sons, with the youngest still in college and the middle graduating this month. I remain in awe of the gifts my wife Christy has bestowed upon our children: her intelligence, her strength, her profound sense of empathy and compassion, her adventurous spirit, and a desire to leave this world a better place. She constantly challenges me each day to be a better person.
When she and I made the decision the start my own firm, we shared a vision for creating a work environment where flexibility was key. Years later, when Persimmon won the Families and Work Institute’s Effective and Flexible Workplace Award, we celebrated together, and I remain thankful for her encouragement.
My mother, Marilyn, is from a different generation. I remain in constant admiration of her resilient grace. My biological father was killed in Vietnam before I was born. She was widowed while pregnant with me. With a strength that surprised no one, she carried on. She gifted me with a wonderful Dad when she remarried, and soon two siblings followed. Though it wasn’t always easy (I had some trying teen years!), they also understood my need as a young man to understand more about my biological father and the impact that void had on me. I owe much to my Mom and Dad for helping me through difficult times. They led by example, showing me that doing the right thing matters.
There are more: My mother-in-law Gaylene discovered a passion for yoga later in life, which she shared with her rural community. She continues to make a positive impact on the lives of those around her, across generations… My sister Allison, who has raised two beautiful daughters and can be counted on when anyone needs her… The women I work with at Persimmon: are intelligent, innovative, and inspiring.
Are We Doing Enough to Support Moms in the Workforce?
Because of these women, I must ask, am I doing enough? Are we, as a society, doing enough? The answer is clearly no.
Women are feeling more stressed at work, at alarmingly high levels, and more so than their male counterparts, according to Deloitte’s Women at Work 2022: A Global Outlook. According to Forbes, which analyzed the study, nearly half the women rate their mental health as poor/very poor. “One-third have taken time off work because of mental health challenges, yet only 43% feel comfortable talking about these challenges in the workplace.”
I speak and write about beating burnout. I consult and coach clients with the goal of helping them get back more time at the end of the day to be with families. So, these numbers weren’t a surprise, but they do concern me.
Another staggering statistic from the Forbes article: Only one-third of women (33%) say their employer offers workplace flexibility. A staggering 94% believe that “requesting flexible working will affect their likelihood of promotion,” and “90% believe their workloads won’t be adjusted accordingly if they request flexible-working options.”
Family-Friendly Policies Make a Difference
What is your organization doing to prevent burnout and help support employees in the workplace? Family-friendly policies can help your team balance home and work. Here are some ways you can help:
• Paid parental leave (for dads, too)
• Job sharing
• Temporary or permanent switch to part-time
• Hybrid and remote work arrangements
• Generous employee and family health benefits
As a leader, these policies benefit your business, too. Companies who adopt policies like the above see higher performance and productivity, as well as higher retention rates.
Balancing parenting with work is no easy task; we must show grace. We are living in a time that is marked by great change. Yet one thing is timeless: We must show appreciation for the people in our lives and make sure they feel supported.