Mother’s Day may be over, but a mum’s work never ends. We still need to take care of our kids, do housework and juggle our careers at the same time. Fathers usually play a bigger role in the family now, but let’s be honest, expectations still fall on women when it comes to child-rearing and household matters.
According to a 2022 survey* by Bumble, a women-first dating and social networking app, although majority (93 percent) of Singaporean adults believe that equality is important between people who are dating and/or in a relationship, almost the same majority (89 percent) say that expectations based on one’s gender identity are still evident.
Whitney Wolfe Herd certainly knows what it’s like to navigate a high-flying career while balancing family life. Not only is she Bumble’s CEO and founder (and happens to be the youngest woman to take a company public in America), she is also the mother of two boys under the age of four.
Herd shares her biggest learnings from leading a company as a new mom, and how to balance our different roles.
- Try to make your schedule work for you, not against you.
“It’s a constant balancing act between parental and professional responsibilities. Sometimes I’ll need to do calls with teams in different time zones and this will require flexibility in my working hours. I make sure that this doesn’t mean I lose family time. If I’m up early working through emails, I’ll carve out time in the afternoon to spend with my kids or make sure that I’m there for pick-up.”
2. Everyone should take parental leave.
“In the U.S., paid parental leave is still far from the norm but even in European countries with generous policies, it’s difficult to feel like you can take the leave. I would encourage all parents, who are able to, to take advantage of parental leave policies, especially those who lead teams. If you’re taking all your leave, you are giving those who come after you permission to do the same.”
3. Business leaders need to be an ally for parents.
“Navigating parenthood and a career is challenging, no matter what support you have in place. I always want parents to be able to prioritise their children’s well-being and I never want them to feel like they have to choose one over the other.”
“Women and mothers cannot create a more equal, less guilt-ridden experience by themselves. There needs to be tangible change and structures to support a truly equitable vision of parenthood. This can look like flexible work policies, support groups for working parents and generous leave policies beyond birth. If you’re not sure how to help, just ask the parents in your office!”
4. Stay in touch with your pre-parent self.
“I don’t think we’re meant to lose ourselves. I think we’re meant to evolve and grow and expand, but not shrink. I can’t feel guilty for doing the things that brought me joy pre-baby, or was part of who I was as an individual. When you think about it that way, it helps reframe that guilt.”