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Your Mother’s Day Gift to Working Moms

With Mother's Day coming up, it's a good time to look at life for working moms. Although we've made tremendous strides as a culture, the fact is that mothers — even those at the highest levels of their companies — still do a disproportionate amount of the work at home. And that affects what they can contribute at the office.

These findings from Pew Research Center make it a bit more real:

  • Working mothers spend twice as many hours on childcare and housework than working fathers do.

  • Women in senior management are seven times more likely to do over 50% of the housework than men at the same level.

  • Most male CEOs have spouses who are the lead childcare givers.

There’s a lot at stake here for women and the organizations they work in, as research consistently shows a correlation between women in executive positions and better company performance. Gender-diverse companies outperform others financially by 15%. To reap the benefits of more women leaders in the workplace, as a leader, you can take action to help them thrive.

First, think about how the design of jobs on your team impact men versus women. Of course, any employee would likely be thrilled with more flexibility, but research shows that it matters far more to working mothers because women usually bear primary responsibility for childcare and household duties. As a starting point, take a look at what time regular meetings are scheduled and how often they overlaps with school or after-school drop-off or pick-up hours. Then, evaluate how much face time is really required to perform a particular job well.

Second, if your organization already offers flexible scheduling, how often do women or men take advantage of it? If there is a stigma about using it, how can you set a different tone?  And remember that for women, flexible scheduling and career aspirations can go hand-in-hand, per Harvard Business Review.

Third, take a moment to reflect about your perceptions (and possibly misperceptions) about women and ambition. Whether you're a woman or a man, be honest with yourself.  If a position requires relocating or working more hours, what assumptions do you make about a woman’s potential level of interest? If she has children, how does that affect your viewpoint? How often have you or others around you taken a woman out of consideration for an opportunity without even discussing it with her?

Finally, examine what you can do to support high-potential women on your team. When was the last time you talked with her about her career aspirations and priorities, personal and professional? How often do you coach her on ways to be more effective or help her network with key leaders?

This week, identify one action you’d like to take to make a real difference for the working moms on your team. And in your own Mother's Day celebrations, remember to be grateful for these dedicated, multitasking moms and the value they bring.

For a powerful investment in your organization's women, consider offering my WOW! Women On the Way to Peak Performance Program℠. It gives you access to strategies used by successful executives without investing in training that costs thousands of dollars and time away.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

The work I do is all about helping people see their value, step out and own it in a way they haven’t before. Along that journey, we all hit bumps in the road – and I’m certainly not spared from those bumps. Over the years, I have filed away some quotes that give me inspiration – some from songs, poets or writers, and some of my own. Take a look and see what resonates with you, or jot down a quote of your own – something you want to keep at the forefront.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela

“When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” – Leanne Womack

“In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it.”  – Unknown

“No matter how others show up, you get to decide how you want to show up.” – Neena Newberry

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” – Unknown

“Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen by others in the face of uncertain outcomes. There’s not a single act of courage that doesn’t involve vulnerability.” – Brene Brown

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Unknown

“Don’t shush your inner voice. It’s who you really are.” – Unknown

“Still. I rise.” – Maya Angelou

“I’ll see it when I believe it.” – Deepak Chopra

Celebrate to Amplify


Most of the go-getters I work with rarely celebrate success – and I’ve been just as guilty over the years. Two years ago, I was honored by the Dallas Business Journal with a Women in Business Award. I barely told anyone, let alone invite them to celebrate with me at the awards luncheon. Other than people who see my bio, most people would have no idea that this year’s award was the 12th for me and my company’s products and services.

As someone who belongs to a family of overachievers, I have gotten so used to expecting a lot of myself. And my career choices have kept that bar high. In my 14 years at Deloitte, I was surrounded by smart, competitive, capable people. So it was easy to say, “What’s the big deal?” when I accomplished something significant. Like many of my clients, my definition of “average” performance became skewed. I would “check the box and move on” when I accomplished something.

Earlier in my career, I didn’t realize what was really at stake with this approach. Over the years, as I worked with companies to develop top talent, I realized the significance of helping others recognize what they do well — and how they do it. For example, in my executive coaching, I frequently help my clients reverse-engineer what they do to get consistent results because they don’t even notice. It’s second nature for them. Once they realize what they’re actually doing and how, they can more easily teach others to do the same. And that’s when they can really start to have an impact on a larger scale.

Where does celebrating success fit in? It is an important first step to creating that bigger ripple effect. In other words, when you acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, you have to acknowledge the value that you bring. And if you’re motivated by making a difference, you’ll start to more intentionally use your strengths to do so. That could be through your own work or by teaching others what you know.

I am trying to practice what I preach. This year, when I was honored with the Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, I stretched myself to buy a table and invite clients, friends and family. Although I felt awkward, I’m glad I did it. It helped me see how much amazing support I have in my life, and it reminded me that I’m here to make a bigger difference with my work and community involvement.

Before you move on with your day, identify one thing you will celebrate. Don’t put any judgment around what it is or compare yourself with others. Simply choose something, no matter how big or small, and celebrate it in a way that has meaning for you. And remember that small steps lead to big results.