3 Things Every Mother Should Demand in the Workplace

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Parenting is an evolution; so is articulating how to blend it into your work. But according to Neha Ruch, founder of Mother Untitled, making room for motherhood is one of the core issues women face. And it all starts in the negotiation room. Whether you’re in the market for a new job or looking to improve things at your current one, there are specific things you can (and should!) ask for. Here, where to start.

Meet the Expert

Neha Ruch worked in advertising for 10 years and received an MBA from Stanford before deciding to “downshift” her career, ultimately finding greater rewards when she leaned into family life. She launched Mother Untitled, a community for ambitious women who are leaning into family life, in 2017 to counter this sentiment directed at moms.

1. Flexibility (But Be Clear on What That Means to You)

Flexibility in the workforce for moms is the ability to hold work alongside family life,” Ruch says. “But you have to adjust the levers to find what works for you and it’s constantly changing.” Maybe you’re searching for work and family time to be more compartmentalized (Ruch worked with a mom who found the answer to this in contract work—she could go full-on for short, predictable amounts of time and free up headspace for her kids in between). Maybe you need literal time. (Say, a part-time situation—two days at home, three days in the work force—or the ability to block schedule within your job where, ultimately, you have more control over your day vs. seeing errant meetings plopped on your cal.) The trick is taking the time to assess your needs—meaning your preferred way of working—and then articulate them.

2. Frequent Communication

Moms are busy. In fact, many of us are guilty of punting the things that affect our daily productivity and happiness far down the road. Ruch maintains that, instead, you need to recalibrate with your supervisor regularly and often based on your needs. “This isn’t a conversation that you bring up during an annual review,” she says. It’s quite the contrary. Flexibility and discussing the needs of mothers in the workplace should be a collaborative process that is brought up at regular intervals throughout the year. “Negotiate for those periodic check-ins,” Ruch says. “In them, ask, ‘Is this working?’ and have a list of what you need to adjust.” (For example, did your daughter start new hockey lessons that require you to leave 20 minutes earlier? Talk about it!)

3. Acknowledgement of Your Value—and the Efficiency You Bring

With motherhood comes perspective…perspective on your worth, but also a new value on the amount of time it takes to get the job done. “I know a writer who charges a premium, but she came to that number after assessing the cost of childcare and the personal costs of being away from her kids,” Ruch says. In addition, if you’re assessing your comp, it’s no secret that one of the efficiencies gained in motherhood is the ability to create faster than the next person. “Often times, moms are delivering a full-time output on a parttime schedule and that shouldn’t be discounted,” Ruch says. Again, you want to anchor those convos with data, but ultimately demonstrate—and negotiate for—your true value.

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...