Entering motherhood, especially new motherhood, brings with it the excitement and trepidation of a new adventure. No matter how you are adding a new member to your family — whether that’s by pregnancy or adoption — and no matter what your family structure looks like, navigating this experience is sure to change you as a person, your perspective on life, and how you manage and prioritize your time.
There are many benefits that working mothers bring to the workforce and to their employers. But those benefits can only be reaped when mothers are given an opportunity to receive paid time off for having a baby and recovering from pregnancy and birth… a.k.a. parental leave.
Unfortunately, the United States is the only developed country without a federally mandated parental leave policy. (Yes, let that sink in for a moment). As such, everyone’s parental leave differs depending on their state and employer. However, your manager and company stand to benefit from a fair maternity leave arrangement.
Paid leave may appear costly to your employer, but research shows that it actually has numerous economic benefits for your company.
To list just a few of the advantages your company can reap, paid parental leave helps:
- Prevent loss of talent through turnover;
- Save resources needed to recruit and train a replacement;
- Increased employee morale and satisfaction;
- Increase the company’s ability to attract new talent (after all, 25% of women say they give maternity leave heavy consideration when choosing a job).
Additionally, did you know that motherhood can actually benefit your career? Jamie Ladge and Danna Greenberg, authors of the book Maternal Optimism, say that working moms develop lots of skills that would serve everyone well on the job.
To give a few examples:
- Working moms gain perspective on what is really important and are better able to prioritize.
- They are less prone to perfectionism, a major cause of procrastination.
- They are less likely to micromanage their reports and instead empower them to get great work done independently.
- They cultivate people skills such as patience and empathy, which makes them more effective colleagues and managers.
If you can approach motherhood as an opportunity to grow and become more effective at work, it will be easier to advocate for yourself. You deserve it!
To get the most out of your maternity leave and to set yourself up for success being a working parent, take ownership and work out a plan with your manager. This allows you to advocate for what you need and get your manager’s buy-in. Keep in mind that even if your company doesn’t offer much (or any) paid leave, everything is negotiable.
Want to receive a step-by-step guide to help you create your maternity leave plan?
Get in touch to get our complete “Guide to Navigating & Negotiating Working Motherhood.” In this guide, you’ll learn the best way to announce your pregnancy, how to craft your maternity leave plan, and how to negotiate your maternity leave plan with your manager.
About the Authors:
Octavia Hedwig Zahrt is a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she studies innovative ways to help people thrive by leveraging the psychology of mindsets and technology.
Jennie Giron is a PhD student in Organizational Behavior at Claremont Graduate University where she specializes in negotiation research. She also completed her MBA at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management. Jennie hopes to empower individuals with tools and insights to become leaders and advocate for themselves and others through negotiation.
Riva’s mission is to empower everyone to use negotiation to enhance their professional careers, personal self-efficacy, and financial situations. In tandem with our goal of eliminating the gender pay gap and promoting pay equity, we produce free guides to help you navigate negotiations in the workplace. Check us out at rivahq.com