There is no arguing that motherhood impacts a woman's career. The extent of that impact depends on many factors, the most important being timing.
The impact of timing on a mother's career is gong to be gauged by the following:
- The woman is already established in her career.
- The woman is just starting out in the job market.
- The woman is attempting to reenter the workforce
The already established career woman
Motherhood creates a new focus. The woman's career will shift to less important than her role as mother. This change of priorities could potentially result in distraction, a decrease in energy and ambition, reluctance to take on involved projects, and monumental "mother- guilt" interfering with creative abilities.
The female employee's motherhood status could potentially decrease her value in the eyes of superiors, who might question her dedication, and view her as a less viable candidate for promotions and special projects.
Motherhood might have a negative impact on her earning potential and opportunities for advancement.
The woman just starting out in the job market
Motherhood might potentially limit the opportunities of a woman seeking gainful employment. While a man can measure how his qualifications align with the available job and base his acceptance or rejection on that simplistic basis, a woman has a more complicated decision.
How the position will coordinate with her already full plate, the hours, the commute, the level of responsibility, availability of childcare; all must be measured against the cost to her child's well-being.
Motherhood might impact the type of job a woman chooses. She might opt for part time or a night shift. She could sacrifice higher earnings to work at home, or abandon career plans for the duration of her child's formative years.
Motherhood at this early stage of a woman's career has a deep impact on her choices, earning potential, and possibly, her intellectual fulfillment.
The woman attempting to reenter the workforce
A woman who has put her career on hold while raising her children will have a challenge recouping those lost years when she attempts to reenter the workforce. Her skills might be outdated, she will not have a current resume of work experience and she could potentially have to start all over in an entry-level position, beneath her capabilities.
Her job performance could be impacted by, separation anxiety over how her child will cope without her supervision, dilemmas over her child's sick days and extra-curricular activities, excessive guilt.
At whatever point in her life a woman pursues a career outside of the home, in addition to her career as a mother, she will be operating under two handicaps: Excessive fatigue and overwhelming guilt.
Working mothers are continually in the position of choosing between the needs of their children and the obligations to their career. They will juggle the two to the point of exhaustion and suffer guilt toward both every step of the way.
Successfully balancing a career and motherhood is difficult, but it is accomplished every day by many women, and is a testament to the determination and strength of character possessed by the female gender.