For more flexibility at work, follow these 7 steps

Many working mothers quit their jobs to become stay-at-home moms. For some, this is a happy choice! But for other mothers, there seems to be no choice in the matter.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

For working women, the flexibility to pick up your kids, make dinner or go to your child’s ballet recital is rapidly becoming more accepted in the workplace. Thanks to the possibilities of telecommuting, as well as the realization that the patriarchal workday just doesn’t work for everyone, more mothers are taking steps to be both professional and maternal. You don’t have to choose only one or the other.

I’ve worked with many women as they transition from traditional jobs to more flexible ones + I’ve found 7 steps to help mothers successfully negotiate greater flexibility in their careers.

1. Just ask!

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Working mothers in high-powered careers often ask me how to deal with the lack of flexibility in their workweeks. The first question I ask these women is: Have you asked your boss about other options?

Often the answer is no, and I urge them to use their voice and influence at work to ask about opportunities for varied work hours and occasional work-at-home time. With the powerful technology we all now possess, from our smartphones to Skype, Slack and Dropbox, we’re capable of giving our full effort and attention to work even if we aren’t in the office.

2. Be honest with yourself.

If you need to leave at 3 pm to pick up your kids from soccer practice, tell your boss you need to leave at 3 pm, not later. It’s best to be realistic with yourself and what you really need if you’re going to negotiate flexibility. One of the big reasons you’re negotiating for greater flexibility in the first place is to mitigate your stress. So be realistic!

3. Demonstrate the pros.

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You’ll be able to work from home in a more relaxed and fulfilling manner. Better that you complete that report once you have your kids with you than to stress about where they are during those last two hours of the workday. Yes, there is a chance you’ll miss a late-afternoon meeting, but you can phone in or get notes on it later. Show your boss that the pros of taking time to meet all your obligations will increase your overall productivity.

4. Point out success cases.

There are plenty of examples of companies giving their employees greater flexibility and reaping the rewards. Have some of these articles printed out and ready to hand off to your boss. It shows you’ve done your research and you’re not just asking on a whim.

5. Do a trial run.

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If this is something new for your company, suggest a trial run. Ask for a trial run of at least a month so that everyone can get into the swing of things. You’ll be able to demonstrate in real time the benefits of flexibility, and hey! Maybe some other working moms will want to hop on board as well. You’re a pioneer!

6. Evaluate with your employer.

After a month of flexibility, evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Maybe instead of taking off work early, it would be better to have Fridays off. As always, be honest with yourself. Maintain an open dialogue with your employer. Point out the benefits to the company and to yourself, and be honest about where you could tweak things.

7. Be confident.

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Confidence is key in all areas of life! You’ve already made it this far—you’re a professional woman and a mother. You’ve sacrificed for countless people in your life. Don’t be afraid to make yourself happy. Be confident and ask for the flexibility you deserve.

Workplace flexibility is one of the best solutions to the mother/professional dichotomy. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The wisest people are those who do not see the world as black-and-white, but can celebrate life’s spectrum of choice and shades of gray. So remember: Oe of the best ways to get what you want in your career and in your life is to ask.

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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

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Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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