This weekend, many women across the country will make sacrifices to work from home. Working mothers often skip lunch or water breaks in order to squeeze in the family chores, and the next thing you know, you’re reaching for a cup of sugar as you carry your groceries up a flight of stairs or do the dishes in your kitchen.
An American woman earns about 93 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a stagnant wage that’s been the cause of unrest for female wage-earners for generations. But surveys suggest that the larger problem isn’t just that women are paid less, it’s that they’re not paid enough.
Women make more after having children, but today’s parent structure requires that it be harder for working parents to hold down a job while taking care of their children. Most of us want the flexibility to schedule work around our children’s needs, but two-earner households are harder to manage than one-earner. Of course, it’s also important to build a flexible career structure to alleviate the pressure of balancing housework and work. Working women should want to increase the amount of time they work, and sometimes it’s just easier to jump into the office.
So, why would you work from home?
If you think about it, work-from-home life can work for many reasons. You might prefer working from home because it’s a more efficient way to produce results. You might feel comfortable at home, and you might be able to take care of household chores while you’re working. You might want more flexibility to manage your schedule around your family, and you might be comfortable with working from home with the assistance of one or more assistants.
The number of new moms returning to the workforce after having babies has been increasing by roughly 6% each year since 1997, and a New York Times report indicates that women are returning to the workforce in even greater numbers this year as high-earning technology roles have come under increased scrutiny. In 2017, we saw one of the lowest unemployment rates for women in 15 years, but it comes at a cost. The male-dominated technology sector seems to be reeling from a gender-wage gap. This could be one reason for the changes in women’s patterns of employment. If the press was more reporting on the opportunities these women are opening up for themselves, instead of diving right into the complaints over their frustrations, we’d probably be seeing even more female entrepreneurs and decision-makers.
Having said that, the Times report notes that when it comes to more traditional fields, such as nursing and teaching, women are still more likely to work from home than their male counterparts. This seems like a great thing to me. Just because a woman can work from home doesn’t mean she must. Many of us work from home as an enjoyable way to work around our schedules, but it also allows us to deal with parenting jobs in a separate and separate space, whether that’s just a spare bedroom or a day room. If you decide to work from home, think of it as just another option of ways to fit a job around your life. I recently transitioned to a one-hour early start, and I don’t miss the commute one bit. That said, some women may experience more stress and fatigue when they have children. If you’re going to choose work from home, make it a part of your regular schedule, and make it one you enjoy.