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Tori Crawford
Tori Crawford

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Productivity in Working Parents

It is 2023 but, unfortunately, we continue to live in a world where there are still stigmas surrounding working parents. An example of one of those stigmas is that once an employee becomes a parent they become less committed to their job and therefor less productive. This specific stigma is one that I am going to discuss today, because I do not believe that becoming a parent makes you less productive. Sure, you may need to work more flexible hours in order to work around school/daycare drop offs or extracurricular activities but working flexible hours does not have a direct correlation to a decrease in work productivity.

Spoiler alert: if you read the article cited above you will discover that flexible work hours actually increases productivity and it is not only working parents who want flexible hours.

According to one study, parents were more productive than their childless peers. The study states that "mothers of at least two children, are, on average, more productive than mothers of only one child, and mothers in general are more productive than childless women." The study saw similar results for fathers of at least two children, but there was a slight difference in productivity in relation to childless men and fathers with one child. The study concluded that childless men and fathers of one child saw similar levels of productivity, but "toward the end of their careers, however, childless men appear to be somewhat more productive than fathers of one child."

Why are parents more productive?

There are multiple studies that have attributed the following factors as reasons why parents are more productive. Parents

  • are great multi-taskers
  • are empathetic
  • develop better time management skills
  • are "more likely to be in touch with the world and willing to research things"

From my own personal experience since becoming a mother, I know every single one of those factors listed above applies to me. I have become a much better multi-tasker, despite having thought I was great at it before parenthood. I have always considered myself an empathetic individual, but since becoming a mother I have found that my increasing ability to have more patience (especially with a 2 year old) has coupled beautifully with my empathy. Lastly, my time management skills have also increased exponentially because my ability to prioritize and actually sticking to set time boxes has gotten stronger.

Moving Forward

It is important to note that these stigmas and biases are not always intentional. They may be unconscious biases that people are not even aware that they are holding onto. The first step is recognizing that you may have these opinions or beliefs about working parents and doing your own research to discover if you are correct or not. I have provided many different studies and articles at the bottom of this post that could be useful, but I highly encourage everyone to do a bit of research on their own.

While individuals can make a difference, employers and companies also have to acknowledge and actively fight these stigmas and biases by implementing trainings and creating work environments that are safe for every single one of their employees.

Related Articles and Studies:

Note: The cover image for this blog post is brought to you while snowboarding at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area in Boise National Forest, Idaho.

Top comments (1)

rainleander profile image
Rain Leander

Thank you for this insightful post, Victoria! As a working parent, I found it affirming.

I agree wholeheartedly with your debunking of the stereotype that parenting decreases productivity. On the contrary, I've found my multitasking, empathy, and time management skills have significantly improved since becoming a parent.

Your call for employers to address unconscious biases and create supportive work environments for all employees resonates strongly. Flexible work schedules are not compromises, but rather strategic initiatives that can enhance productivity and employee satisfaction.

Your courage in tackling these stigmas is commendable. This post is an important reminder for everyone to reassess their perceptions about working parents and the benefits of flexible work arrangements. Thanks for initiating this crucial conversation.