Achieving work/life balance is definition of career happiness for most working mothers

A recent SFN Group, Inc. study shows many working moms are not satisfied with their career, and feel their work is more stressful than being a stay-at-home mom. This is in a large part due to a lack of work/life balance. According to the study, 56 percent of working mothers are not satisfied with their career, while 62 percent say “achieving work/life balance” is most important to achieving career happiness.

However, work/life balance is difficult to attain for many working moms. The study finds the majority of respondents (70 percent) don’t have a flexible arrangement worked out with their boss, and nearly four of ten surveyed say motherhood takes a back seat to work responsibilities. Besides pay and advancement, flexible work schedules and flexible arrangements are two of the more influential factors in achieving career happiness for working mothers.

“The increasing number of mothers entering or re-entering the workforce has helped solve a talent gap for many of today’s companies,” says Deborah Dean, SVP of Strategic Accounts and Supplier Diversity for SFN Group, Inc. “Working moms are an important segment of today’s workforce, providing organizations the skilled and knowledgeable talent pool they require. However, many businesses are falling short in delivering the much-needed flexibility that these workers require in order to achieve job satisfaction and engagement. Without work/life balance policies, programs and cultures in place, companies will quickly lose these talented workers to family-friendly competition.”

Stress, schedules new barriers for many women in workplace. Surprisingly, the barriers for working mothers in years past appear to have diminished greatly with three out of four (76 percent) respondents indicating no feeling of disconnection from colleagues or peers due to family responsibilities as a mother. Further, 69 percent don’t feel they have to “prove themselves” more after having kids and returning to work.

On the contrary, motherhood has positively influenced the workplace perspective for many respondents, including:

  • 46 percent of working moms say they are more sympathetic to others’ needs/flexibility;
  • 42 percent try not to sweat the small stuff; and
  • 33 percent have become more patient.

However, greater stress and difficulty in balancing work responsibilities have become significant challenges for working mothers. In fact, 60 percent of respondents would choose to be a stay-at-home mom (if it were financially feasible), and 59 percent say their career produces more life stress than motherhood. Furthermore, 63 percent of respondents said working outside the home is more stressful (versus 37 percent who named being a stay-at-home mom as more stressful).

Other results from the survey include:

  • Of the 30 percent of working mothers who have a flexible/special work arrangement with their boss, 80 percent don’t feel their coworkers resent them for it.
  • Other top factors for achieving career happiness for working moms, include: Pay (58 percent); Opportunity for advancement (39 percent); and Relationship with co-workers (16 percent).
  • The ideal work arrangements for working mothers include full-time (38 percent), part-time (32 percent), consultant or freelance (24 percent).

Source: SFN Group, Inc.; www.sfngroup.com.