Perfect parent vs perfect professional: Can we be both right now?

Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents Coaching, Talking Talent

How many times in the last two months since lockdown began have you felt that you’ve had to choose between being good at your job and being a good parent? As a working mother myself, I’ve been there, done that (even before this craziness began), and got the mummy guilt t-shirt, so I can empathise with each of you feeling the same way. Working parent guilt can be crippling and whilst being on the long road we all know as self-sabotage is frightening, there’s something that frightens me even more - the number of working parents out there right now feeling this way.

The research we did last year told us that 70% of working parents felt that they were in some way failing to be the parent they want to be because of work pressures - that in itself is a scary statistic. That was before the global pandemic, imagine how many parents feel like they are failing right now?

To know that so many working parents around the globe feel this way terrifies me and further validates my concerns that unless we collectively make a change, our future generation of working parents will face all the same woes and bad experiences we have.

So what can we do? We need to change the conversation. If organisations want to attract and hold on to talent, they need to stop expecting their working parents to choose between being successful at work and feeling like they’re winning at parenting. When the pull to be the perfect parent and perfect professional bubbles over, the knock-on effects can disrupt and complicate both roles – nobody wins, it’s here that organisations hold a crucial part of the puzzle. They have a role to play in ensuring that their employees’ professional and parental lives don’t have an impact on each other. At Talking Talent we’re committed to helping them achieve just that.

To all the working parents: you can have both, be both and be great at both.

To all the organisations: you need to focus on putting policies and support in place today to support the working parents of tomorrow.

Let’s work together to create a different world for working parents.