MIAMI, FL — May 6, 2022 — (NOTICIAS NEWSWIRE) — By Ana Hernandez*
It’s the typical phrase told to every mom: “The day you have your baby in your arms for the first time will be the happiest day of your life.” And that is true, but in my experience, it is not the whole truth. I am four weeks away from having my third child and I can say without any doubt that there is a bigger and better moment, a sweeter one, that happens every day: picking my children up from school.
Hearing their tiny voices telling the events of the day, sharing what they did and learned, asking questions… It is simply priceless. Unfortunately, my work schedule robbed me of these times with my first two kids; but then, the pandemic started and everything changed.
My parents, both immigrants from Cuba, always instilled in me an ethic of hard work. My dad emigrated to the United States at age 11, my mom was only 5 when she arrived. As with many other immigrant families, my parents started from zero and made their way into providing the best financial situation for their family, but that came with a cost. Due to her work as a daycare teacher, my mom always missed my school events and as a result of his long commute it was impossible for my dad to attend. Therefore, when I started my own family, I promised myself not only to always give my children the best but to always be present for their school activities. However, my work in the hospitality industry soon made it impossible to keep my promise and I considered no longer working at all. Unfortunately, I am not the only one and this issue is not exclusive to the hospitality industry.
A survey by the Pew Research Center from 2021 reveals that 27% of mothers with children 18 or younger said that it would be best for them to stop working. Interestingly, 80% of the fathers that answered the same question said that their “views haven’t changed” with the pandemic and prefer to continue with their work arrangements.
More than ever, I am convinced that remote and flexible work conditions can bring happiness and unity to millions of families by helping working mothers to stay in the workforce. Personally, I think mothers want to continue working; I know that I do. Now that I am working remotely and enjoying the benefits of a flexible schedule, I understand that this is the way but here’s a lingering question: can we have it all?
Throughout my career in the hospitality industry, I have witnessed the same concern among women. It’s constantly worrying about losing positions and being passed over for promotions due to the simple fact of being a mother or even by virtue of the slightest chance of becoming one. Despite our natural resilience, choosing when to work and where to work provides the freedom mothers need to succeed in life. The 2021 report, “Women in the Workplace,” by McKinsey shows that working mothers “grappled with a ‘double shift’ of household responsibilities, mental health challenges, a more difficult remote-work experience, and concerns about higher rates of unemployment—particularly among mothers of color and single mothers.” A survey among the hourly workers at Instawork, the company where I am currently employed, showed that 17% of cisgender female workers have identified themselves as caregivers to children or their parents. 9% males also self-reported to be taking care of a loved one.
As I count the days awaiting the birth of my little one, the anticipation and excitement is palpable. We still don’t know the sex but one thing I do know: I will enjoy this baby the way I didn’t have the chance with my first two thanks to flexible work schedules and hope other working mothers have the same chance.
*Ana Hernandez is an account executive at Instawork