How employers can support and retain working parents

Jessica Williams

Sep 23, 2022

Want to know what it’s like to work with mmhmm? Knowledge Manager Jessica Williams shares a few thoughts on her career change, the challenge of being a new mom, and what it means to work in a high-trust work culture.

As a relatively new mom of 2 babies under two years old, I’ve thought A LOT lately about what it means to be a working parent. And I’m curious—

Have you ever considered quitting your job to take care of your children? 🤔

Four months ago, I gave birth to our daughter PJ. Cute, huh? But a few weeks after she was born, PJ was having trouble feeding and we discovered that she had a tongue tie.

While I was on parental leave, I was able to go with PJ to all her appointments. Fast forward to today, PJ’s medical issue is still not resolved. She will need to undergo a more aggressive surgery before the end of the month.

But wait a minute… My parental leave is OVER.

My initial reaction to this medical update was panic 🚨. How am I going to make this work WITH WORK?

If I were still employed as a public school educator, with my regimented work schedule, in a dedicated location, with limited personal time off, the answer to “Have you ever considered quitting your job to take care of your children?” would have most likely been yes.

A very real fear many parents, including myself, face when returning to work after having a child is, “Will I be viewed as ‘less than’ or regarded as ‘incapable of handling important projects’ for prioritizing my own kids’ needs?”

Fortunately, I am now able to use my teaching skills as the Knowledge Manager at mmhmm, a fully distributed company. That means everyone on the team is fully remote and we have no physical office.  And while this does mean I can work from anywhere, what’s truly remarkable about mmhmm is that there is an established “high-trust” work culture.

What does working for a “high-trust” company look like?

1) My company shows me I’m valued by investing in me💰.  I receive great benefits, including a 16-week paid parental leave and a competitive salary.

2) My company trusts me to work in flexible ways👩🏻‍💻. With zero commute and flexible hours, I can work around my kids’ schedules. So instead of being in a physical office at 7:30 am, I can work in the evening instead when my kids are in bed, or work from the soccer field rather than my desk.

3) My colleagues empower me💪🏼. I am continuously included in challenging projects. I am a valued, trusted professional AND a mom. I can do both and I don’t have to choose one over the other.

So maybe a better question to ask is: How does your employer support working parents? Or… How has YOUR employer established a high-trust work environment?

Reposted from LinkedIn with Jessica’s permission.