Is Supermom Dead? Defining the Career Woman of the 21st Century
Is the term Supermom, as we know it today, dead? At one time the term “supermom” defined the ideal for the perfect career woman – a mother who successfully managed her home while holding down a full time job. Is it finally time for a new definition? One that encompasses today’s changing work environment.
What is a Supermom?
A career woman historically followed a seemingly ideal route. She spent years at university or college, climbed steadily up the work ladder where she built skills, experience and contacts along the way. Then the career woman met a guy, fell in love and they started planning a life together – with dreams of ‘having it all’. In time the career woman got pregnant, and boom she hit a crossroad. It was time to decide to either stay at home to raise the family, OR return to a full time career while raising a family. And that’s when the original term of the ‘Supermom’ was born.
The term is used to describe a female parent who can combine the traditional duties of housework and childcare while also holding down full-time employment.
According to the Oxford dictionary the term is used to describe “An exemplary or exceptional mother, especially one who successfully manages a home and brings up children while also having a full-time job.”
It seems like just yesterday that the Supermom was the ideal for which all working mothers were supposed to aspire to be – and to which so many fell short. For as we all know, mastering the work-family balance can be challenging, chaotic and rarely satisfying, especially when we work full time in jobs that offer absolutely no flexibility.
What do moms today really want?
Today’s career woman who is also managing a family wants more out of life. Constantly looking for new ways to earn an income and still have time to spend with her children. Many moms still want and need a personal identity beyond that of homemaker or mother, without letting down either the family or the boss. In short, moms want it all!
With an increasing presence in the workforce especially in higher managerial roles, when comparing to men, women are still the ones faced with the ever present challenge of balancing work and family life. So just how does one combine a satisfying career with the rewarding demands of motherhood? How can we redefine ‘Supermom’ for the 21st century?
Today’s moms are finding the answer in freelance, temporary or flexible work.
Transferring mom skills to work skills
Here in Canada women are given the opportunity to take time off for maternity leave or sometimes choose to take extended time off to raise young children. This need not be seen as a blot on a resume. You see, while they may not have been heading out to an official office each day, women who are at home with their kids are constantly refining and updating their skills – Moms are organised, are great communicators, are experts at project management, understand the importance of meeting deadlines and can deliver on time. The busier moms are, the more gets accomplished – without asking for or even expecting rewards of any kind.
All these skills can be used towards a career path. Instead of assuming that you have just two career choices – work full time or stay at home with your family – today’s changing work environment allows women to open themselves up to unlimited new opportunities on their own terms. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 29 percent of employed mothers with children under 6 work part time (2012).
Today’s Supermoms don’t need to rely on daycare or babysitters to realize their career ambitions. Instead they can choose to work flexibly or from home in a wide range of industries, launch freelance careers or start their own home-based businesses.
The number of moms turning to freelance or contract work is at an all time high. With more and more companies needing extra seasonal or in between project help; seeking out highly qualified individuals on a short term basis is a rapidly growing model for businesses. This offers a great opportunity for moms to either ease back into the work force or work on a project by project basis, and be at home when they need to.
So is it time to redefine the term Supermom? Is it the time to come up with a new model for career women to strive for? One that gives much more freedom of choice to balance work and family?
Perhaps the real Supermom is the career woman who has freed herself from an inflexible, full time career, yet continues to achieve her potential doing what she loves while being the mom she wants to be? What do you think?
This blog has been modified and is based on an article, written by workhoppers.com for the British website “Talented Ladies Club: Inspiration and advice for working, freelance and business mums” (Please note we did not spell mom wrong…nope that is just the way our British friends spell it ;)).
Workhoppers.com, an online matching site designed to help those looking for flexible jobs easily and directly connect with local companies looking to hire for freelance, contract, casual, gig and part time work.