Careers For Mothers Returning To Work


Author, entrepreneur, and Twitter evangelist Laura Fitton didn’t set out to find a company that could meet her work-life needs, but she says she is lucky to have found one in her current employer, HubSpot. She had built her career by helping companies harness the power of social media and digital marketing. In 2009, Laura co-wrote Twitter for Dummies and became an expert on all things Twitter. A year later, she made two key decisions: First, she decided to get divorced. Second, she decided to start a company that would be a marketplace for Twitter-based app developers. For Laura, it was her “lean in” moment.

Despite being a woman and a single mother of two young daughters, she managed to raise venture capital funding to help her build her business. Two “crazy” years later, Laura sold her company to HubSpot. It didn’t mean she could retire for life, but it did mean she landed at a place that allowed her to thrive.

HubSpot235 is a practitioner of results-only work environment (ROWE). ROWE is a human resources strategy that puts the emphasis on getting the work done, not on working long hours just to prove you are the most committed employee. ROWE is a relatively new way of structuring how we work at work. The focus is on empowering employees and treating them like, you know, adults. ROWE workplaces don’t have structured work hours; they let employees work when and where they can be most productive.

Because the leadership team at HubSpot valued results and not “face time,” Laura was given the flexibility she needed as a single mother and a professional. Laura could have left HubSpot after they purchased her company, but she loved the culture. She’s been there ever since.

“I feel so lucky to have such fantastic work-life balance,” Laura told me. “I don’t just get to be at this company, I want to be here.”

Laura’s enthusiasm reflects the tone and tenor of women (and men) who manage to land in the right place for their personal and professional needs. And it doesn’t have to be luck. Smart planning and foresight can help ensure you land in the right place too.

Because there is a growing demand for well-educated, high-potential employees and for women in particular, you have options. If you’re ready to have kids or already have them and want to find a workplace culture that supports your needs, you are much more likely to find it today than were women in previous generations.

One of the major reasons respondents to the Women on the Rise survey left their jobs after they had children was because they couldn’t get the flexibility they needed. Many of those who stayed were those who had companies and/or bosses that empowered them to integrate their careers with their lives. These women were already in situations that allowed them to thrive.

The good news is more companies than ever are committed to creating cultures that support caregiving needs and flexible working solutions. Look carefully at your company or workplace’s culture and make sure it supports its employees as they head into the intense years of parenthood. Online company rating systems such as Comparably, Fairygodboss, and Maybrooks allow women to evaluate a company’s female- and family-friendly policies.

Do the research and decide if you are in the right place or not. If not, find a new job and settle in. You may discover you don’t need to take a career pause because you have what you need to integrate work and life.

That’s the dream Now, more than ever, you can live it.

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