“I took a major step down, both financially and also in terms of skill/title/responsibility. There was no way for me to do that role justice and be the mum I wanted to be. Now I get paid crap and hardly use my brain and do boring, mind-numbing work. But I have the flexibility to do what I want, when I want, in terms of prioritising the kids.”
Flexibility. It’s the magic word for working mums. It’s more important than a big salary, or job satisfaction – maybe even more important than sleep.
New research carried out by Mamamia and compiled in the report “Hard-Working Women” has revealed what matters to working mothers. When they were asked to choose three benefits that would help them keep on top, 69 per cent chose flexible working hours, while 55 per cent of them nominated being able to work from home.
But a lot of these women aren’t getting what they want. Only 31 per cent of working women strongly agree that their workplace is very flexible, letting them leave for an appointment or a kids’ school concert. Only one in five strongly agree that their workplace supports them as a parent.
“When one of the kids is sick and I have to work from home, I kind of feel I’m being judged. I tend to do a lot more work just to prove I’m working, on top of looking after a sick kid, which is exhausting.”
“There is pressure to be 'visible' when that doesn't necessarily add value. Working more from home would give me more balance and help manage fatigue from being a working mum.”
“Flexible working arrangements and working from home are already available, according to the policy – but actually getting approval to access those things is like trying to draw blood from a stone. It's very frustrating!”