One of the biggest and most important decisions any professional woman will have to address in her career is whether to have children and whether to take an extended maternity leave. The problem is that mat leave can, in fact, have an adverse impact on your career, forcing some women to choose between pregnancy and career. However, the full answer is much more complex than a simple yes (mat leave can affect your career) and no. Modern professional moms are exploring and discovering new options that allow women to experience the best of what motherhood and a professional career can offer.
Women Who Take Mat Leave Have Many Stigmas to Contend With
In some workplaces, both employers and employees see women who take maternity leave as disloyal or uncommitted. This means that to take time away from your career to raise a family you may have to fight this negative and unfair reputation. Beyond that, many employers also expect that a woman who does return to work after mat leave will end up quitting anyway, which means you may have to work twice as hard just to prove your dedication.
An Extended Leave Typically Means You’ll Make Less than Your Peers
There are many advantages and disadvantages of paid maternity leave, but one of the disadvantages is that women with children end up making about 30 percent less than women who don’t have kids, and this is largely because of the time off that women with children end up taking. The longer a woman is away and more often, the larger the gap becomes.
How Else Does Maternity Leave Affect Career? You May Not Be Given the Same Opportunities When You Return
Along with earning less than their peers, women who take maternity leave also end up missing out on some of the opportunities that are afforded to other employees. For instance, a woman who is preparing to take maternity leave may not be given the opportunity to work with a big client, may not be given a promotion that was expected, and may not be given the same chance for new skills training. Moreover, the lack of flexibility in many professional workplaces often means that women end up relinquishing certain opportunities in favor of lower-paying or part-time jobs that accommodate their need for flexibility.
Pregnancy and Career Choices: Creative Solutions that Let You Be a Mom and a Professional
There are workplace solutions that allow women to be both mothers and career-oriented workers, and flexible work arrangements are one of the keys to striking this balance. This includes options like working from home and telecommuting, flexible work hours, reduced work weeks, shorter days, and flex time options.
Maternity leave and career progression don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and more and more women realize that they don’t have to choose between their families and their jobs. Today’s modern women know they should be able to start and raise a family without worrying about ending their careers, and from this has sprung a great deal of creativity and entrepreneurship among professional mothers who want to have it all. If you're considering starting a family of your own and are worried about the impact it might have on your career; it might be a good time to start looking into the different options that can allow you to reach your potential as a professional and dedicate all the time and energy you want to your family.
One such option could be starting a business of your own. Have you ever considered this option? Let's see if we can convince you. Start with testing your entrepreneurial skills today.