Flexible working and part-time working are fantastic models of employment which allows mothers to combine their professional and personal lives but if one is hankering after climbing the career ladder then ‘visibility’ in the workplace becomes a crucial fact that has to be sustained.
So far the debate has only been framed in the context of the invisibility of mothering work done at home. The effort that one puts into caring and nurturing children is devalued because it does not carry a monetary value.
However, the visibility of working mothers in the workplace is an important factor too because if you aren’t there to take THAT important meeting or THAT phone call then your commitment is questioned. The constant balancing act of being a professional and a mum doing invisible work that is just as crucial, if not more, than the salaried work is akin to trying to juggle 10 slippery eels with two fingers.
The unpaid face of mothering is devalued at the expense of both working and stay at home mothers. Both sides have a vested interest in working co-operatively to raise the status of mothering.