lifestyle

OPINION: Proof that working mums are more productive than any other employee.

NEWSFLASH: Women with children are more productive at work.

And in other news, water is wet.

In something that will come as no surprise to a lot of working mothers out there, recent research has proven that women who work, that also have children are simply better with their time than those that don’t. And hey, this isn’t just me speculating here, this is now backed by up by research and little thing called, FACT.

According to the Washington Post the conclusion of a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, has found that over the course of a 30-year career, a mother outperformed women without children at almost every stage of their lives. In fact, mothers with at least two kids were the most productive of all.

bernadette and children

So let’s talk about that research (which by the way, was conducted by men). Let me tell you that first all, I’m not going to pretend to have read or understood every single statistic, graph and reference in this study, it’s over 60 pages long. I will however, tell you that I honed in on the related information and hope that I can translate it into layman’s terms for you.

It is simply this: women who have children and work (both out of and inside the home) are far more productive with their time, than their childless counterparts.

The thing is though; I doubt any woman who falls into this category is wearing this newly confirmed information as a badge of honour. In fact, being super organised is simply borne out of necessity, not want because if we don’t, and let me put this to you  into technical terms, ‘have our shit together’, we simply would not get out the door each morning, let alone to work on time.

It is imperative that we understand though, that the researchers used data from a very specific group of women, with privileged circumstances. As in, they were highly educated, could afford to pay for childcare and could rely on benefits such as sick leave and maternity leave and therefore I guess, had the luxury to BE more organised and on time.

Whichever way you look at it though, the fact remains, that as a working mother, you just HAVE to have a plan and then do your best to stick to it. I would argue though, that most of us are just one rouge, unexpected cat shit on the carpet before walking out the door away from unravelling.

It also took me (a woman who would meet the requirements of this research) YEARS for my husband and I to work out how to both parent and work in harmony. And, although he definitely does help around the house, the lion’s share of the household chores, organisation and delegation falls to me despite my earning the same wage and working the same amount of hours per week as he does. We work at this, we fight about this, we never quite agree on this because no one tells you that when you become a parent, you also have to renegotiate your entire relationship.

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working mums

So sure, I am 9 times out of 10, at work 20 minutes earlier and ready to start work than my younger, childless colleagues who live a lot closer than I do. But let me tell you this too, there is also quite the downside to being organised and what is considered, productive. Or, more pointedly, something is always suffering because of my rigidness. (Mostly the dirty laundry and/or my sanity).

I personally, would like to see a study on those parents who although productive in their workplace, are perhaps cleaning the house ONLY when guests are coming over or packing wilted lettuce and taco shells in their child’s lunchbox as they’ve got nothing else in the pantry (something I may “cough” have done once or twice) Because let’s face it, SOMETHING has to give.

Plus, this study wasn’t all super sunny news. As the article points out:

“Young children do take a toll on work. The paper found that there is a 15 to 17 percent drop in productivity among women with little kids. For those with multiple children, the first child results in a 9.5 percent drop in performance, the second child cuts out another 12.5 percent and the third child caps it off with an 11 percent decrease in productivity. In other words, three preteens will result in a 33 percent loss in productivity on average”.

Which is often the way things roll when children are little. Younger kids are prone to sickness with head lice, the flu, school sores etc etc more prevalent. Someone has to stay home with these children when they fall and in a trend that ceases to change, this is often the mother.

So what’s the take away message from this new research though? Well, for one, obviously you can never have too many Taco shells in the pantry but seriously, it means nothing more than it did yesterday. Yes, women with children who work generally, are much more productive. This is because they have a clear agenda which they need to have if they plan on making it through the day. It’s pretty much that simple, working mother’s need to prioritise more than any other person. Which actually is quite depressing.

Do you agree with the findings? Do you believe that working mothers or more productive or have your found the opposite to be case?

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