Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Maternal Self-Congratulation

I always get a kick out of the articles that pop up on the internet about how moms are all that and a bag of chips.  The most recent specimen was forwarded to me by Trista (thank you!).  It's an article that appeared on Shine called 5 Reasons Moms Returning to Work Make the Best Employees.   Betcha can't read it without giggling a bit.  Here are the 5 Reasons, followed by my response to each (in red).


She will not distract your clients from the business at hand by showing her cleavage, tattoos, body piercings, flip flops, by flipping her hair, or saying 'UM' or 'LIKE…'
That's correct - she won't distract the clients because she won't be there to distract them.  She'll be running late to work, leaving work early, taking extra time off to deal with sick kids, school plays, parent/teacher conferences, calls from her kids' school, and dealing with her own illnesses (that she caught from said kids) while she dumps her work on her childfree coworkers who WILL be there to deal professionally with the clients.  Yes, that's right.  Professionally.  As in - we know how to dress.  We know how to speak.  We don't wear flip flops to the office or walk around with our boobies hanging out.  Sorry to burst your bubble but Childfree Woman does not equal Snookie.

Schedule Coordination:
You will never meet a professional better equipped to manage multiple schedules than a Mom. Conflicting sports and activities, travel schedules along with the huge amounts of paperwork associated with each, make them pros at this. As a matter of fact, they are so adept at this that they know how to face complete chaos in a calm and professional manner.
Problem is, Mom is juggling so many conflicting schedules and so much chaos, she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown and piling just one more conflicting schedule onto her will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and gets her carted off to the loony bin.  It is precisely the multiple, conflicting schedules that make Mom an absentee employee as mentioned above under Professionalism.  The childfree worker, on the other hand, is better able to think clearly, with an uncluttered and calm mind, a full night's rest and a laser beam focus devoted to the tasks at hand.

Organizational Ability:

None of the above happens without keen planning. Uniforms must be washed; bags must be packed- water bottles, completed homework, snacks and sunscreen, permission slips and bathing, including checking/ clipping 20 finger/toenails per person must happen in advance.

If one detail is missed, the entire schedule can fall apart and they will be called on the carpet- either by a disappointed child (much more painful than a disapproving boss), or by a school and/or coach (too embarrassing to mention). The level of accountability far surpasses any business environment I have ever worked in, which includes Fortune 100 companies.
See Schedule Coordination above.

If any one demographic knows and understands the importance of loyalty and giving back, this is it. These women know how to appreciate a job and flexibility. As an employer, if you can offer what this employee needs, you will get it back four-fold. They will treat your business as though it is theirs. And they will tell all their friends about you- so you see? Free marketing built right in!
Moms aren't the only employees who appreciate a job with flexibility.  Childfree folks appreciate flexibility too - to care for our partners, family members, friends and companion animals, to participate in the many pursuits and activities we enjoy outside of work.  And since we are devoted friends, family members, spouses, employees and members of the community, we understand just as well as Moms the importance of loyalty and giving back.  And when we are treated well, we spread the word too!

People Management:

Anyone who has ever managed people knows that one of the most difficult groups to manage has to be volunteers. The variety of personalities and agendas among people who are not being paid and are emotionally involved could drive a person nuts. The volunteer leader's intuitive ability to see all sides and maintain harmony within a group like this is definitely worthy of international acclaim. And, they know how to manage their own demographic, in addition to understanding how the minds of the Millennials and Gen Y-s tick!
I'm lost.  Volunteers?  Volunteer management?  Is she saying that children are like volunteers and Mom is a volunteer manager?  What volunteer work are children doing, exactly?  What greater good are they serving?  And how does Mom's caretaking of them have anything to do with volunteer management?

I think the author may be trying to make the case that moms have more people management skills than non-parents.  If so, I beg to differ.  Moms might excel at baby talk, shuffling children in and out of time-out, breaking up fist fights and gossiping with other soccer moms, but sophisticated people management skills come from working with diverse groups of people in and out of the workplace - people from different age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, political and religious affiliations, and professional and educational backgrounds.  This is best obtained by being fully engaged in the world as the childfree are, as opposed to existing in an insular bubble where one's interactions are limited to children and the neighborhood coffee klatch.


PensiveFashionista said...

I'd like it if potential employees were able to explain why they are the best candidate without things like if you are childfree, if you're married, etc. entering into the picture.

I think moms or dads can be better in certain occupations than childfree people and vice versa. One size doesn't fit all.

I hate such a stupid article was published; it's just another way to divide people.

CFVixen said...

Such a stupid article. I liked your response to such drivel!

Temujin said...

Wow. Just, wow. I couldn't get past the first one, because it really makes no sense.

What, moms never have piercings or tattoos or cleavage or say um or like? And women who don't have children all have piercings and tattoos and cleavage and say um and like? What color is the sky on that planet?

I am not saying parents are inherently unprofessional. That would be stupid. I just don't think becoming a parent automatically makes you more professional. I've met some very unprofessional people who bore clients to death with stories about their children. That's not very professional either.

Interesting that the list equates "mom" with a straightlaced older woman and "childfree" with being immature and countercultural. Clearly not written by anyone who's worked in Seattle or Portland, I can tell you from firsthand experience.

Realistically, this is not written for employers. This is a list written to fellow parents. Self-congratulatory is the perfect word for it.

Trista said...

Well, the thing that irked me the most about the article isn't so much that moms are running around crazily after their kids (rather than being model employees) - what annoyed me was that some moms DO have their cleavage hanging out, are disorganized, and lack people skills. Not all, but some. Just like some childfree people do and some don't. This article was WAY overgeneralized, plus it head-on attacked people without children as if they are the devil. Loved your responses!

Dave said...

Good replies, Mandy, especially the "Snooki" reference LOL! In my working days I found the childfree to be the ones who stayed around at the office after 5:30 PM while the parents were always gone by 5.

JBradshaw said...

Let's see...

If I see a breeder mom out in public does the word "Professionalism" even go hurtling by within sensor range of the beast? No. She generally looks like a hot mess, is probably wearing flip-flops (or crocs) and I'm frankly impressed if there isn't cleavage, tattoos, or cleavage tattoos involved.

If anything many mom's are more likely to be trying to prove they're STILL attractive by showing off their body.

I'll grant that (if she's any kind of decent mother - a significant "if") she probably has excellent organizational skills. What that fails to note is her priorities. Which will unfailingly place her job below the top 3. Childfree folks generally get it in the top 3. Which does the employer prefer?

Loyalty... see above. Yes, mothers are loyal. To their unflaggingly brilliant, adorable and special progeny. For the most part a mom will gut her husband with a dull butter knife if they feel he threatens her children (or her sense of self as a mom)... how do you think her job is going to rate on the hierarchy?

For every excellent employee that is also a mom, there are probably a hundred more that are no more valuable to the workplace than your average unfocused, undisciplined teenager.

Find me a mother who can actually outperform the average child-free employee - without a stay-at-home dad or neglected children - and personally hand over a herd of free-range unicorns.

Childfreeeee said...

"Free-range unicorns"....TOO FUNNY!

Unknown, your comment is awesome and you need to become KNOWN.


Unknown said...

An additional response to "She will not distract your clients from the business at hand by showing her cleavage, tattoos, body piercings, flip flops, by flipping her hair, or saying 'UM' or 'LIKE…" could be that she'll instead distract them with incessant talk about her children. Blah, blah, blah...ugh!

kangamasf said...

The article's title alone made me giggle. I loved the critique for the five reasons! I reckon the people management part is about being open-minded to a diverse group of people.

Spectra said...

I think I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that article. Those have to be the stupidest "reasons" I've ever read. Come on, everyone knows that new moms coming back to work are kind of a pain. At least, where I work, they usually have to leave early a lot and we have to cover for them. The CF employees we have are much better at multitasking than any of the moms---having kids has nothing to do with your multitasking abilities.

Amalie said...

I would NEVER hire that woman, because what that article told me was that her work will never come close to be important to her. Her kids schedule, etc. will always interfere with her work. What planet is she living on? I'm guessing one where she hasn't had a job in a very long time...out of touch!

Kildare said...

Speaking of not having cleavage hanging out, what about public breast-feeding? There's a consultant in my office who always brings her baby to meetings and has no problem whipping out the blanket and the boobies when baby is sick of pureed carrots. So much for a lack of cleavage...

Roxie Harlow said...

This article is beyond ridiculous! Self-congratulation is really the only way to label it.

I work at a bank, which is generally thought to be a conservative/straight-laced profession. I have tattoos and a couple of piercings. However, at work, I maintain a professional appearance and wear clothing that covers my tattoos. Not only that, but (unlike the parents I work with) I'm willing to come in whenever needed. I've filled in on more than one occasion with a day or less notice.

In the meantime, my supervisor who has a young child, frequently calls in sick to care for her sick child or takes off early (when we're short handed) pick up and/or spend time with her child. She is a good supervisor other than that.

Roxie Harlow said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I know plenty of moms with tattoos/piercings/cleavage

Rachel Marie said...

Just thought I would share an absurd article with you:

Also thank you so much for keeping such an inspiring and encouraging blog!

Believe said...

Regarding people with tattoos, my friend recently came home from serving in the army.

He has tattoos all lover his body, such as the Yankees symbol, and a spider web, a dragon. He was an infantry man, a ranger, a paratrooper, and a sniper. While the idiot who wrote this article may not enter the army any time soon, I will safely assume that she will never accomplish anything of that caliber at that difficulty at any time her in pathetic life.

Get over yourself, lady.

Stephanie said...

This article made me laugh. I can't believe someone actually believes this nonsense, and I have no doubt that this woman fully believes everything she said. Out of touch with reality is definitely a phrase I'd use to describe her.

Happily CF said...

I can't giggle at all this, because I'm too enraged by it. This is SO RIDICULOUS. It's completely untrue in the majority of cases, and completely insulting to non-parents.

I won't say much about it because Mandy has already responded so well. I'll just point out that it's as if the author imagines that while the "mom returning to work" has been doing all her super-mom stuff, the childfree employees have been doing nothing. But no, they've been ON THE JOB learning the actual skills the job entails... they don't apply their "super-mom" experience to the job, they apply their on-the-job experience to the job.

Also, as someone who was recently in the unenviable position of being exposed to way too many young mothers (as the library director of a public library) I can definitely attest to the fact that plenty of moms dress like 'ho's... just as plenty of childfree people dress professionally. I can't say that I know very many people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and so on without kids who dress like sloppy 20-year-old college students.

Also, while some "moms" excel at coordinating everything in their children's lives, others simply do not. And in many regions and many socioeconomic groups, kids are not herded from one activity to another all day. The school bus picks them up, they go to school, the school bus drops them at home, and that's it. This is just another way in which this article is overgeneralizing. It means that suburban upper middle-class moms returning to work make the best employees.

As someone who hires and manages people, and is married to someone who hires and manages people, I can certainly say that while it is illegal to discriminate against parents, all other things being equal, the childfree person is the better choice for a new hire.

BridalBusiness said...

This article is ridiculous. It sounds like it was written by a mother who is trying to justify that she still has some worth in the corporate world despite having taken an absence to rear children.

I love the Snooki comparison!

felisdomestica said...

She will not distract your clients from the business at hand by showing her cleavage, tattoos, body piercings, flip flops, by flipping her hair, or saying 'UM' or 'LIKE…'

because all women become classy and literate the moment they spawn! yay!

mzwunderkind said...

@spectra Thank you so much for that comment. I couldnt seem myself having a child and than having to go on mat leave...are you kidding me? That's one of the reasons why CBC's are great. No mat leave, no 'let me show you my children's pictures', and when they want to leave early we're the ones they depend on to do their work ....

Buckle Ve said...

all those things can be good/bad reasons for both CF and parents. It's up to the person, no to having or not having kids. I'm childfree and have more trouble with my single/no child employees than with the ones with kids. But according to mexican law your kid its no excuse to miss your job.

DowagerLadyUrsula said...

Oh Jebus, I am so sick of the glorification of motherhood. As though simply creating children makes you a better person.

I work with a lot of mothers, and I can tell you it doesn't work like that. Most of them have adult children, and are competent and reliable. One of them has young children and is sick or taking care of sick children quite often. Really, whether you have children or not is not a guarantee of how great an employee you will be.

The comment on dress and behavior really reinforces the delusion mom cultists have about childfree women. I.e. that we're irresponsible, dumb and slutty. I wonder if they actually picture the childfree this way. Once they began to believe the crap about what a higher calling motherhood was, this wasn't much of a stretch, I guess.

Heather said...

Schedule Coordination
Organizational Ability
People Management"

I thought, for a moment, that this article was going to say why employers should hire veterans, who have proven themselves to have all of the above.

DowagerLadyUrsula said...

Additionally, has anyone else posted on the website voicing a critique?

DowagerLadyUrsula said...

Also, Heather, you get a high five.

I would like to see a mombie tell a veteran that she has "the hardest job in the world" and that toddling after a naked baby covered in strained peas is better job experience than being a soldier.

aria said...

this is so inaccurate in so many levels i so wanna PUKE. She will not distract clients with her cleavage??? really?? i personally know TWO (well, not two but twenty) young mothers who flash their cleavages on a regular basis on facebook. perhaps because they can't be sexy anywhere else. both of them upload at least ten close-up faceshots, of the sexually provocative type (i.e. finger in mouth, sultry facial expression, legs shot) EVERY DAY, as if to entice non-suspecting males who'd dare click the thumbnails. both of them constantly publish personal details of their lives every single day, as if they couldn't keep a secret if their lives depended on it. SO. this linked article is telling me mothers are often more professional than her childless peers? convince me.

what i hate about this article is, it seems to imply one has to be a mother to be a respectable individual, to be able to achieve things that no other training, aside from motherhood, can procure. which of course is hardly the case. everyone has her own potentials. anyone can be organized if she works hard enough.

Service Dog Education said...

I know this is almost a year old but as a new follower to your blog I went through your archives.

The first bit about professionalism blew my mind.

I am NOT a mother. Yes...I wear flip flops (on the weekend), show of my cleavage (at the bar), have piercings (easily removed for business meetings), have tattoos (easily covered by professional attire), and I do say um (it happens...even after years of public speaking, who doesn't slip up when they are gathering their thoughts?)

My bestfriend IS a mother. She wears flip flops (on the weekends), shows off her cleavage (at the bar) has piercings (easily removed for business meetings), has tattoos (easily covered with professional attire), and says um (it happens).

How are we different? I can work late if needed. I can cover last minute changes to schedules. I can travel for business trips. I get my hair and nails professional done. I wear expensive suits because I don't have to by Junior a new wardrobe every time he has a growth spurt. I can schmooze clients at business dinners or over drinks without a baby sitter calling me.

Now, I LOVE my best-friend. She is an incredible woman. But no, she does NOT make a better employee then I do.