A Mother's Day Wish List

One of the most popular videos making the rounds on computer screens this Mother's Day is about moms supporting their kids toward Olympic gold. The heart-tugging images from Procter & Gamble's "Best Job" video show dedicated mothers up before sunrise, awakening sleepy children and driving them to pre-dawn sports practices, and then enjoying the spoils years later in the stands of the big games.

Bravo, Mom!

The mom Olympics for most mothers are not quite so literal, but they're no less an athletic event. Ask anyone who's managed the 7 a.m. breakfast assembly line, the 8 a.m. carpool, and the 3 p.m. "delivering forgotten sneakers while on a conference call" event, and they'll tell you the job is as much an Olympic sport as the bobsled, the balance beam, and the decathlon combined.

For the estimated 61% of American moms who are employed outside the home, working motherhood (admittedly a redundant term) is a job of epic proportions.  Fortunately, employers are taking note. Many are reaffirming the value of their employed parents and providing support by embracing such things as child care, flex time, and remote attendance as essential components of the work/life equation.

The organizational payoffs of such family-friendly philosophies are substantial. A 2012 survey by Bright Horizons® and Horizons Workforce Consulting found that child care and back-up care had a significant impact on employee performance. More than three-quarters of surveyed employees reported child care as among the top benefits their employers offered, with most calling it not only the key to getting to work, but the linchpin to being able to focus on the job and be productive.

Looking Forward

But there's still work to do.

Last fall, as a follow-up to their What Moms Think: Career vs. Paycheck study, the Working Mother Research Institute investigated the important question, What Moms Choose: Stay at Home or at Work? The 2011 survey showed a majority of moms still struggling to balance career and motherhood, and highlighted what it called the "Five Marching Orders for Employers:"

  • Establish a culture of trust
  • Focus on being family friendly
  • Provide flexibility
  • Allow employees to use paid sick leave to care for a sick child
  • Provide predictable work hours
Such accommodations stand to increase the overall employee well-being of these valuable assets, and, by association, to support every aspect of their performances.

It's a worthwhile goal and we're optimistic. In the meantime, we'll hope for some short-term support this weekend in the form of chocolates, breakfast in bed, and a sink emptied of all its dishes.

Happy Mother's Day. 

Bright Horizons supports working mothers and employee well-being with a family of solutions that provides child care, back-up care, tuition assistance management, support for dependents' educational goals, and overall work/life evaluation. Visit Bright Horizons to find out how we can partner with you to support your employees, your performance, and your whole organization. 
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands

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