What Working Moms at Your Company Really Need This Mother’s Day


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As the aromatic scent of Mother’s Day roses begins to fill the air, we think of another type of bouquet to offer to our busy moms. Imagine this: a bouquet of flexible working options wrapped in the velvety petals of understanding and empathy. This is a gift that is given again and again!

The surprising state of motherhood

The latest state of motherhood report Motherly paints an interesting picture with almost 10,000 mothers surveyed. The number of stay-at-home moms nearly doubled from 2022-2023, rising from 15% to 25%. The motherhood pendulum appears to have swung back to normal and is in the typical 24% to 28% range. Last year was the outlier, a notable outlier on the radar, with a significantly lower number of stay-at-home moms.

Why? Because moms were armed with the magic wand of job flexibility. As more companies push their employees back into the office, some moms find themselves in a tough spot. With no other choice, they take on the full-time job of looking after their children, triggering a brain drain.

According to Jill Koziol, CEO and co-founder of Motherly: “In 2022, mothers rode the wave of flexible or hybrid work arrangements, relics of the pandemic era. With the abrupt return to office work, it seemed like the bill was sent straight to the moms.”

That’s what I’m telling you my customers who decide whether they want to be flexible or inflexible Return to the office plan: If they do not offer flexibility to mothers, many will retire. It is an inevitable consequence of a top-down mandate.

Related Topics: You should let your team decide on the approach to hybrid working. A behavioral economist explains why and how you should do it.

Who paid the price?

In our rush to return to “normal” we may overlook the cost of such transitions. The Motherly survey tells the story of a quiet but impactful retirement. And the numbers don’t lie. A full 18% of mothers changed jobs in the past year or have left the workforce altogether. Some may shrug and read this statistic, but let’s delve deeper into why.

For 28% of these mothers, the desire to be at home with their children was the driving force. On the surface, this seems like a personal choice, and it is. But behind this lies a complex web of factors, including a lack of flexible working options.

For 15% of the mothers, the lack of childcare facilities was the trigger. This is no small inconvenience. It’s an obstacle that slows down a mother’s career, often with long-term consequences.

Related Topics: Why employers who force return to office lead to increased power and unionization of workers

The flexibility factor

And yet the solution is not as hard to find as it seems. The Motherly survey found that 64% of stay-at-home moms would return to the workforce if they were offered flexible working hours. The mere availability of flexible work is not a bonus or benefit. It is a powerful lever that can significantly transform the employment landscape for mothers.

Imagine the impact. Thousands of mothers are re-entering the workforce, bringing their skills, perspectives and ideas. Thousands of families get additional financial security. It’s a win-win situation and all it takes is a change of perspective, a re-evaluation of our rigid work structures.

An alternative approach is to improve the affordability of childcare. More than half, 52%, of mothers surveyed would return to work if affordable childcare was available – less than if they were offered flexibility, but still a large proportion. The current system, in which childcare costs often absorb a significant portion of wages, is unsustainable for many families.

However, this is not a problem that individual families should deal with on their own. Employers, policy makers and society in general all have a role to play in developing solutions. This may include employer-sponsored childcare, grants, or policies that help reduce childcare costs. Therefore, individual employers unwilling to be flexible should offer childcare support: while they do not reap the full benefits of flexibility, missing out on 12% of working mothers, they do get the most benefits.


Of course, most companies cannot afford this effort. Here’s a radical idea for this Mother’s Day. Instead of the typical gifts, we should think about giving moms something that really makes a difference: flexible working. It does not cost the company more money, but Flexible working saves money, of up to $11,000 per employee. This is not a gift that is given once and then forgotten. It’s a gift to be passed on day after day, month after month. It is a gift that recognizes the reality of motherhood and the value of a mother’s contribution to the world of work. Let’s make this Mother’s Day the beginning of a new era. A time when we not only pay lip service to the importance of work-life balance, but actively create the conditions that make it possible. A time when flexible working is not the exception, but the norm.

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