As if being a mom wasn’t hard enough (what with the mommy wars, sleeplessness, constant worry, and puberty), a new study shows that there may be a “motherhood penalty” when it comes to landing a new job. Brian Serafini, a University of Washington doctoral candidate in sociology, and Michelle Maroto, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, co-authored the study, which sheds light on the employment disparities between moms, dads, and single women.
The study found that married moms are going longer between jobs, are less likely to even find a job at the end of the day, and if they’re lucky enough to get a job, will make considerably less than married fathers or single women doing the same work.
I have read a lot of articles, op-eds, and blog posts about this topic over the last week, and I am seeing one bit of advice over and over again: lie. As in, do not reveal during the interview process that you are a mother. It’s against the law, after all, for an employer to ask if you have children or if you are pregnant; however, if it comes up in casual conversation or in a roundabout way, simply lie.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I get that a job is a job and it’s none of their business if you have children or not. You should be hired on your abilities and merit and not discriminated against because the hiring manager buys into some stupid, misguided stereotype that moms don’t care about their work.
On the other hand, I would have to ask myself if I really want to work for a company that a) wouldn’t hire me simply because I am a mom and b) clearly doesn’t have any respect for work/life balance or the fact that family should come first. Again, beggars can’t be choosers, and a paycheck is a paycheck, but I would have to think long and hard before lying about my daughter (or even feeling the need to withhold that information).
Just say you do lie about having children and you get the job, then what? The first time daycare calls to say your baby is throwing up and has to go home and your husband can’t be reached. . . yeah, that’s going to be one awkward conversation with your boss.
If employers can’t see that being a mom essentially makes you the ultimate multitasking, conflict mediating, resourceful, efficient working machine, then they have either never had kids or they’ve handed their kids off to their spouses to raise while they stuck their heads in the sand (or their paperwork).
In my experience, some of the most dedicated and focused career women I know are moms—and they don’t lie about it. They come into work, they get their shit done, and they leave on time—they don’t waste their day visiting their coworkers or checking Facebook or taking long lunches. Because they have little hugs and bath time and bedtime stories waiting for them when they get home, which are all the motivation they need to get the job done.