The Art of Momminess & Your Workforce

Mommies in the Workforce

Being a mom is hands down the hardest and most rewarding jobs I have ever done.  While I’m only 18 months into my lifelong tour of duty, I feel pretty comfortable about where I’m going.  Put another way, my priorities are on straight, but it’s been a struggle balancing “momminess” with being a wife, friend, and corporate professional.  The art of momminess led me and my family to take a leap of faith working for myself and Xceptional HR full-time as a HR and business consultant.  And according to the Harvard Business Review, I’m not alone.  Nearly 31% of women leave the corporate world off-ramping their careers and voluntarily leaving their corporate jobs an average period of 2.7 years behind.

The Art of Momminess & Your Workforce

The traditional role and understanding of women in our culture is shifting.  Women are more than just mommies but respected professionals, driven, educated, and super moms who are changing the face of the workplace and consumer industries.

Super moms and professional women who took a non-traditional career trajectory re-entered the workforce or on-ramped a number of different ways.  Forty percent returned back to the corporate folds while 23% found part time jobs and 7 % (like me) became self-employed.  Even during an economic recession (the survey was completed in 2009) women and their families made the decision to drastically alter their lifestyle choosing flexibility, family, and non-traditional career paths.

And while women are re-entering the workforce after transitioning to a non-traditional career, a larger percentage of women are serving as the family breadwinners or the sole income earner in their households.  The survey  was first conducted by HBR in 2004 and again 2009, found  a 28% increase in professional woman with nonworking husbands.  While we don’t know for sure whether this increase in “house husbands” is directly correlated to the recession and increase in unemployment and job loss, I believe that the female bread winners can also be attributed to the increase of women college graduates since the 1970’s and beyond.

In fact by 2004, Columbia University found that 58% of women were earning bachelor’s degrees compared to 42% of men in the United States.  As the increase in educated women professionals has increased so has their years of experience as they climb the corporate ladder.  And although households are predominantly 2 incomes, studies such as Columbia and HBR are indicating a continued career path shift as the role of women as parents and professionals continues to change in the eyes of the family unit, professional world, and public in general.

What this means for your workforce is that professionals with gaps in employment who are educated are making choices that are non-traditional and different from corporate executive’s point of view.  And different is not necessarily a bad thing.  This pool of non-traditional talent could be a variable gold mind for your future and current workforce needs.  Mommies, daddies, and family care takers are focusing on family and paving their own career paths without the need or desire to climb the traditional corporate ladder.  For many of us including myself, we are shying away from what’s expected, understood, and predictable opting for the stairs or none at all, instead of the elevator to the corporate office.

As for me, I think I’ll take the stairs.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kay Stout says

    Jessica – – I can look back on my career, and the careers of the hundred’s of people who’ve walked thru my door as a result of outplacement services or career coaching and say, unequivocally, that family should trump career whenever possible. Many notable companies today will be gone in the next few years – it has been happening since they broke up Ma Bell and I do not see it changing anytime soon. When I read where Mom’s are the breadwinner and Dad’s stay-at-home – I can’t help but smile and say “yes”!!! And when the stay-at-home dad is really handing at fixing things, as well as being a hubby/Dad – – WOW!!!!!

    If corporate America ever wakes up (not holding my breath), they will realize IF they want to keep young, talented professionals – they’d better acknowledge that, for the YTP’s family is impsortant – – so don’t ask them to choose very often or you’ll find yourself looking for a new employee – – they’re gone and they’re not coming back!!!

  2. blogging4jobs says


    Thanks for the insight. You and mine’s conversation came to mind when I read the Harvard Business Review article. I’m glad I made the decision I did. People need to live life for what’s important to them whether it’s work, travel, family, art, wherever they have a passion.



  3. Rebecca Perot-Tripp says

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, since as you know I recently became a semi-empty nester. I have definitely make compromises on which job I took (or kept) because I wanted to make my family a higher priority. Now as I look at my resume I see a long, pretty flat line for the last 15 years or so and wonder what future employers see. Hopefully that the best is yet to come!

  4. Jamie says

    Thanks for the photo credit Jess! It’s definitely hard trying to be an everything to everyone, which is why I think networking is even more important when you’re a busy mom. While maybe my resume might have a few gaps or flatline while my priorities shift focus to my little ones, but by networking in my community, I give leaders and the community the opportunity to know me and realize I’m more than my resume…

    Although, I will say, it has yet to flatline – and maybe that’s why I need a nap!

  5. blogging4jobs says


    You are testament to the fact that a mom can do things her way. I’m certainly proud of you and have a lot of respect for someone who has two kids, and you have three and a wide age range. It’s tough with one.

    Thanks for the RT and comment!




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