I now understand why women wait later on in their careers to have children. It can be difficult once you are getting started in your career to have a child because not only do you have to make sure that you do your job correctly and efficiently every day of the week (meaning getting a case of “Mommy Brain” is a major no-no.), but you also have to find a way to juggle the care of your family and maintain the high level corporate lifestyle you planned. Many of us are doing the best we can only to deviated to the “Mommy Track.”
Today I read an article about Goldman Sachs being sued by a former vice president who felt she was pushed onto the Mommy Track. Apparently, the woman was demoted when she came back from her first maternity leave and fired when she returned from her second maternity leave, after she switched to part-time; an option that is available to all employees.
The article reminded me of my experience with maternity leave. I planned my exit plan down to the last second of my pregnancy. I shared my plan with my supervisor and her supervisor in a meeting/writing. We agreed that I would be out for the typical time and that when I came back I would work part-time for the first two weeks so that I would be able to be get adjusted to the Mommy/Marketing Coordinator life. The result? Laid off the month after my return. Now granted the company wasn’t doing well, but in looking back I know I was on the list to terminate because my supervisor called me the week before my return to see when I was coming back. At the time, I thought they were genuinely interested in me coming back. I won’t be able to prove that allegation, but needless to say that it has caused me to plan my next pregnancy and be as prepared as possible for any negative consequences.
In the case of the woman from Goldman Sachs, that was case was dismissed, probably because this type of discrimination is extremely hard to prove. Especially since now many women are “trading money for family.” The lesson for all career-minded women who are considering having children is to do thorough research on the company you currently work for. Find out if there are women who have successfully gone on maternity leave and what was the result when they came back. And even though it shouldn’t matter, find a way to gauge your boss’s attitude about working mothers. This will help you find out whether you should look for another job or begin the baby making process!
For more information about the Mommy Track, take a gander at the following article from About.com