The Infographic below is so revealing that it will tell the story here. I came across it in a blog post titled “What it’s Like to be a Working Mom” published several years ago by Sabrina Parsons for Forbes Woman. The Infographic may be a few years old, but I have no doubt the sentiment is even stronger today.

As CEO of Palo Alto Software, Sabrina advocates for women (moms) to gain access to leadership positions in corporate America certainly because we’re qualified but also as a means to gain flexibility in our lives.

If you are in charge you can set your schedule.

You know that working moms are already in tough leadership positions outside the workforce as CEO and managing director of their households. As mothers, we all know this means nurturing your children, managing nearly every minute of their time when they are young, planning recipe’s, putting dinner on the table, washing clothes, paying attention to your spouse or partner, and on and on. And, this is wrapped around putting in long hours for your boss during the day.

In a survey cited in Parsons’ article, The Ladders revealed that working mothers cared more about having flexible hours than any other benefit an employer can offer.  The graphic leaves little doubt about it.

Ms. Parsons believes the one way for working mothers to gain flexibility at work is to achieve a leadership role. This is most likely true, however, the catch is that working mothers are “mommy tracked” and simply are not offered these positions.  A prevailing theory of career development advanced by the National Institute for Careers, Education, and Counseling places “Career Establishment” in the years between the ages 25-40. Guess what, these are prime child-bearing years for women and sets up the scenario to leave working mothers behind as someone without children becomes the preferred candidate to advance.

I have written about this many times before. The corporate apparatus is just not nimble enough up to allow flexibility or promote working mothers and is unlikely to change. If you want to leave at 5pm to make dinner and bathe the kids a few times a week, you are most likely not in line for that leadership role at work. You just don’t fit the profile regardless of whether you work faster and can accomplish more than the co-worker management hands it to.  They are just not willing to fight that battle for you.

For her part as the owner of her company, Sabrina Parsons writes “I write this blog post as I get ready to leave the office in the next 40 minutes, to be home for my kids at 4:45pm. Of course, as the CEO of my company it is my call, but I can assure you I will be back to working after the kids are in bed. I also have the option to come to the office early and set my hours. Would I be working this hard and these many hours without flexibility? Would I give up dinner at home with my kids and family for my boss? It’s a question I have avoided by taking my own path, and choosing against joining corporate America. It is a choice I am lucky to have, and wish more women would also have.

I’ll bet you’ve asked that same question many times only “why am I giving up dinner at home with my kids for my boss?

In my humble opinion, the deeper question is “am I missing out on the kids growing up for my boss”

I am not one to judge how you answer that. I will say you are better off if you can become your own boss and set your own hours.

The challenges that working mothers face are frustrating and often lonely. Unless the person in the cubicle next to you is also a mom, they probably have no idea nor do they much care what it feels like to miss another dinner or get home too late to help the kids with their homework, again.

You are as productive as the guy next to you, but pay a steeper price.  And, you are being “mommy tracked” on top of it.

Talk about a no win situation.

Many women have chosen the route of entrepreneurship to accomplish what they cannot in the corporate world by becoming the CEO of their work life along with their family life.

As the infographic is plain to see, flexibility to manage both is what you are after.

The peace of mind in knowing you are there for the kids minus the guilt from co-workers is well worth what it takes to achieve it.

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Lisa Zakar is a wife and mother of 3. She is the owner of Lisa Rose, a popular Princess Tea Party venue. She has a 17-year track record in the Princess Tea Party business. Lisa had a 10-year history in higher end retail with Nordstrom before launching her business. Lisa Rose is an award winning party venue with Best of Honolulu/children’s parties/Honolulu Magazine, and, Winner of Best Children’s Parties/Island Parent Magazine. Lisa has locations in Honolulu.

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