Boss Lady

Combating the working mother stigma


Today, there’s still a lot of judgment of mothers regardless of what they choose (or need to) do. For example, many people tend to make a clear distinction between working mums and stay-at-home mums, implying that either decision results in significant negative consequences.

In the second half of 2018, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency found women now make up 47 per cent of all employment. Women are increasingly choosing to work, fighting the stigma of being a working mother.

Unfortunately, even today, working mothers are often derided for being selfish for putting their needs over their children’s and family’s needs, accused of being less invested in their children’s education and caring for the home.

Here are just a few of the reasons why many women choose to work:

Establishing financial independence

Financial independence is liberating. It offers freedom, stability, and more choices, including to leave a relationship or to spend money on what you want. It also helps you develop a sense of empowerment by contributing to the household finances. By eliminating dependence, women who work are in a powerful position to evolve towards a best version of themselves, acting as a role model to their children and improving the relationships with those around them.

Creating a sense of identity

Do you remember what your identity was before you became a mum? What made you happy? What your dreams and aspirations were? Working mothers gain an identity outside of motherhood by using their personalities and skills for a clear goal or purpose. Finding your identity, or gaining back a sense of individuality, gives working mums an opportunity to reconnect with themselves and their relationships. This builds emotional strength as well as refreshing them when it comes to their role as parents.

Becoming a role model for yourself and others

Despite the guilt of sometimes missing school events, drop-off and pick-up duties, and often school holiday time with the kids, working mothers can become role models for themselves and others. It may not be easy, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with everything somehow falling into place is worth it. 

Increasing your confidence and self-esteem

There’s no right way to parent. Sometimes it may even feel like, no matter how hard you try, it is never good enough and you don’t always achieve the results you were hoping for. This can take a toll both physically and mentally, impacting the confidence and self-esteem of mothers. Mothers who work outside of the home are given a break from the difficulties of parenthood and can focus on careers where they know how to progress. A good workplace recognises effort and achievements made, which also boosts confidence.

This is not to say working mothers are better than stay-at-home mothers. All parents do it their own way. This is to highlight the benefits of working to mums who have chosen to do so, or are thinking about starting work again and need to beat the guilt. It’s important to do what feels right for you and your family as you won’t feel the benefits of either decision if you end up feeling over-extended and exhausted.

About Elizabeth Marchant

Elizabeth (Liz) Marchant is group CEO of two PR companies and a B2B marketing services firm, all headquartered in Sydney. She started her career working on the reception desk at Recognition PR, progressing to group manager then leaving to join Telstra as PR manager. The PR and marketing group she now owns with husband Adam Benson has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise employing more than 25 permanent staff and up to 20 casuals, working with clients across Australia and New Zealand. Liz splits her time travelling between her small cattle farm and satellite office in Alstonville on the New South Wales Northern Rivers and her Sydney and Brisbane offices. She is the mother and step-mother to three boys aged 12, 18 and 27 and a grandmother to a two-year old. She is an avid student of business, a member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation, a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, a keen reader of fiction and business literature and a mentor and sounding board to several other business owners.

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