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15 Things Only Working Moms Would Understand

15 Things Only Working Moms Would Understand

Of course you know that the answer is paid family leave instead of unpaid maternity leave. That will solve some of problems for working moms. The ILO (International Labor Organization) in 2014 found that only 3 out of 185 states had no mandatory laws in force for paid family leave. Those 3 countries are Papua New Guinea, Oman and the USA. Now, while we wait for the impossible to happen, here are 15 things only working moms will understand, wherever they are.

1. You are not on stimulants.

Yes, you are the one who holds down the job, gets the kids ready, do a morning drop off, prepare dinner at the end of the day and then deal with mothering! Some people think you are on some stimulant medication but it’s not true. You just have incredible energy and everyone around you should be thankful.

2. You are not the perfect mom.

Working moms face exhaustion and they have to make compromises if they are to survive. You constantly worry about getting the balance right and whether your kids will be neglected, although you have promised not to make compromises as regards the actual time you have carved out for them. But you have decided that you cannot attend all the business dinners or all your kids’ school trips. You are getting better at making the right judgement call and you know that the perfectly clean and tidy home is no longer a top priority.

3. You value your time with the kids enormously.

Maybe you have heard all those criticisms about working moms not giving enough attention to their kids. But as they have to go to school anyway, why should you give up your career? Your time with your kids is precious and you really give it all you have got. There are no distractions during prime time and they are getting you 100%. You know how to make every moment count.

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4. You did not really have a choice.

You have heard them criticizing you about abandoning kids and family. But many people just do not realize what the statistics show. Look at the difference. If you stay at home, you are likely to be one of those 33% of moms who live in poverty. The number goes down to 12% for working moms. Which would you choose, if you actually got the chance?

5. You are not neglecting your kids.

Many super moms are “leaning in” to their jobs as described by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Sandberg urges women to go for their career and not lean back.Pursuing your career goals does not mean that you are forgetting your kids. You can check their homework by email and even sing them a lullaby on Skype when it comes to the crunch. It does make the balancing act of coping with work and family demands really challenging, though.

6. You need time for yourself.

Every mother, whether at home or working, needs time away from her kids. Many employers wrongly assume that working moms are going to have problems because of their children and there will not be enough time for work and children. When one woman interviewee was asked how on earth she would find the time for both the job and kids, she replied, “Believe it or not, I like being away from my kids during the workday… just like you.”

7. You are benefiting your kids.

As you fill the washing machine with another load and attend to your kid’s tantrums, rest assured that your kids would not be at home all the time, if you happened to be a stay at home mom. They have to start kindergarten at some point. The fact is that once you have your kids in organized care and later in quality early education facilities, you are really doing them a favor. Research now shows that these kids are going to have better social skills and they are also more likely to benefit from improved learning.

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8. You are going to benefit from better mental health.

My mother is an excellent example of a woman who had three kids and was fighting severe post partum depression. She had been trained as a pharmacist and the local hospital asked her to fill in for three weeks. She stayed in this part time job for 33 years! She benefited enormously from the experience and it definitely helped her cope with her depression. She also enjoyed being part of the hospital team. Studies have found that working moms benefit from improved physical and mental health.

9. You are less likely to have spoiled kids.

When you are at work, kids have to take on some of the responsibilities of running the home as they get older. Teaching them to be responsible is a great way for them to reach self-sufficiency. They will also learn to teamwork with siblings although there will be lots of fights and arguments. If you are running out of ideas about how to organize chores and kids, there are some great ideas here.

10. You know that comparing yourself with stay at home moms is a waste of time.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Forget the comparison with the stay at home moms, especially the wonderful highlights they post on Facebook. They never update their status about the latest temper tantrums! You are living on a different planet so there is no point in these comparative studies. Utopian motherhood does not exist.

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11. You are happy.

In spite of crazy schedules, exhaustion and unending pressure, you know that you are happy doing your balancing act. This is what you want and you are happy that your job provides relief, financial stability in your family and a rewarding career. This is what makes it all worthwhile.

12. You have great support.

Of course, you cannot do it all single-handed. You are lucky in having the family circle and your partner to help with all the co-parenting and the transportation. You have also learned how to be better organized. You know a few nice life hacks such as keeping your bathrobe on over your clothes until you are ready to leave the house and making better use of timers for various tasks. If you need some more ideas, there are some useful ones here.

13. You are helping to get equal rights for women at work.

You hear the remarks all the time about whether they should sack another female before they get pregnant again. Then there are sexist attitudes and inequality about pay and promotion. Because you are hanging in there, you are making a great contribution to helping women get equal rights in the workplace. Long way to go as sexism permeates economic and social life at every level. The glass ceiling still remains unbroken.

14. You are going to make a great entrepreneur.

Did you know that the majority of female entrepreneurs are moms? One poll puts the estimate at 95%! Jill Salzman in her TED talk outlines why moms make the best entrepreneurs. Her mom helped her when she was 16 years old to get into a press event full of rock stars. Just an example of how a mom makes it up all the time, at home and at work. You can watch this inspiring video here.

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15. You look forward to greater flexibility.

“It’s almost like you get that glass ceiling: ‘We’re not going to promote you; we’re not going to allow you to develop because you’re not reliable” – Sam Kassam-Macfie, working mother

You still hope that workplace may become more family friendly. There is still not enough flexibility in allowing moms to work from home or to have a much more flexible schedule to fit family demands. This will prevent working moms from deserting the work force which is a loss to society. More go ahead companies are now encouraging more mothers to return to the work place after their maternity leave by providing refreshing skills courses and also job sharing when feasible.

It may take another generation but with more support from governments, companies and society, working moms will have it much easier. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until the next century!

Featured photo credit: work work work/Nina Hale via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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