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Mother's Day Reflections (#CorporateCulture)

I was blessed with an idyllic Mother's Day. It began with a breakfast prepared by my family, which included presents. A few hours later, we got ready for the day and had a wonderful brunch at Capital Grille. We also visited my mother-in-law, who I like. So, by all accounts, my day was epic!

On Monday, I went to work early, worked an extended day and went to the grocery store. It was the day after Mother's Day that got me thinking about the state of the working mom in America and helped me appreciate the dichotomy between our exaltation of mothers and the lives working moms. My hope is that this past Mother's Day motivates a conversation in this country about what working mothers truly need and that we see real change.

Corporate Policies Do Not Support Families

The truth is, corporate policies and practices are designed for men and the single and childless. They do not contemplate that an employee is the primary caregiver or even shared caregiver for another person. The policies and expectations are designed for those who can consistently arrive early and stay late without concern for anything else. While that might have made sense thirty (30) years ago before cell phones and the internet, it doesn't make sense now when flexibility is easy to execute  for more office jobs with a little planning.

The other thing that doesn't make sense is that Corporate policies and practices assume that the worker does not also have the responsibility of managing a household. And that is simply not true. In truth, working mothers are in the majority. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016, 67% of married mothers with children under 18 worked outside of the home. And even with families with very young children, those under 6, 61% of those married mothers work outside of the home. (See Families with own children: Employment status of parents by age of youngest child and family type, 2015-2016 annual averages) In those families over 75% of both parents work. What this means is that most workers have responsibilities outside of the office that matter and require their attention. Yet, those responsibilities are often ignored and the workers are treated like robots who live to work instead of those who work to make a living.

So, let's honor mothers and families by creating a Corporate culture that is designed to work for them. Don't get me wrong, there are certain people with special deals and talents who have managed to succeed professionally without missing a beat. That said, a special deal for one is not the same as creating an equitable Corporate culture that is designed to work for all.  Corporate CEOs, if you're listening, think about actually meeting the needs of your workers instead of forcing them to pretend as if their job is the only thing that matters in their lives. If it becomes clear to them that their entire lives matter to you, they will work harder, stay longer, and be happier. And you, compassionate CEO will reap the dividends.

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