Working from home has not been easy on anyone, and it certainly is a lot more challenging when you have two jobs intersecting in one place - being a parent and being a professional. Sure, children could provide some entertaining moments in your dull lives trapped on the couch, but they require a lot more attention and care for which you often have to leave the couch, the Zoom meeting, the very important task due in 15 minutes, and work in general. And with colleagues who can't relate, it doesn't get any easier.
We get it. You're tired. Mom and dad need nap time too.
While your kids are creating a mess in the home, your workplace is often creating their own sort of messes with biases against working women.
A Messed-up Kind of Kindness
A lot of times these biases are disguised as kind gestures. 'You don't have to attend the meeting,' or 'This task can be taken up by someone else,' sounds delightful, doesn't it? Being able to miss calls and have less workload is not something one can complain about. False.
When you're a hardworking and capable woman who is willing to take up tasks but is constantly being denied the opportunity, you will not appreciate it. You don't want anything to hinder your career graph simply because someone somewhere decided that something is too tough for you.
Proving Your Worth
Moreover, the same card is played against you as well. Let's say you were excused from a meeting by the boss. You'll find that some of your colleagues will start passing around condescending comments or talking to you in a tone only to imply that they are working so much harder than you simply because you didn't attend a meeting your own boss excused you from.
Being denied the opportunity to work and being shamed for not working at the same time - the worst of both worlds.
The Side Gig
Often, biases extend well beyond women’s workplaces. Social circles, friends, and even families tend to behave as though a working mother’s job is not her priority. Now while this may be true for some women who choose to prioritise aspects of their lives other than their career, it is not something we as a third party can decide for them. It is their decision and making an assumption is wrong. Many-a-times women have to remind those around them that they have a full-time job, not a side gig.
With working-from-home in the picture, reminding the family that women of the house have jobs too is even more excruciating.
Undoubtedly, being a working parent is a huge job with or without WFH. But the virtual situation does create more difficulties in perpetuating these biases with things like children’s voices in the background during meetings, that some could categorise as highly distracting or unprofessional.
Due to such perceptions working mothers have to constantly prove that they are ready to take up any and every task thrown at them, as if women in general do not face enough biases against them already which leads to them overworking to establish their worth. The whole system is messed up. Sigh.
Companies, let’s help create a more efficient environment for your employees as well as your own office, please? Shut down such biased behaviour and be more understanding of working mothers and their situations. Converse. Let’s not make this any harder for either parties!