Are young mothers capable of balancing work and family?

As you begin, I ask one thing. Please read this post in full. Then, feel free to react.

And so we begin—

Women simply aren’t equipped for leadership. The signs are clear.

Women are more emotional than men. You can’t ignore biology.

Women don’t make decisions in the same objective ways as men. Their choices are tainted with emotion. Sure, there are exceptions. But, you don’t set policy for the exceptions.

This reality is amplified in young women. Older women at least benefit from a life of experience that prepared them for more objective decisions during emotional business situations. However, young mothers with young children at home make poor leaders. That is a fact.

Being emotional creatures, they are less able to adapt to the demands of work. Imagine a job that requires travel. How can one expect a woman to compartmentalize time with her young children to travel on behalf of a company? Maternal instinct is at odds with the demands of the job.

Simply put, women are not suitable to certain positions of leadership.

Are you angry?
You should be immensely angry.

I am a man from a traditional, conservative, Christian background. I am thankful for life experiences and beliefs that forged who I am today.

I have a wife and three children—all girls. One day my beautiful, smart, creative, assertive girls will find their callings and realize how they will make this world better and brighter.

My wife is a champion. At one point in our 15 years of marriage she was simultaneously pregnant, working full time, volunteering at church, raising young children, and toiling toward her Ph.D. Did I say my wife is a champion?

She was emotional at times. I was emotional at times. There was conflict at times. Emotion and conflict are human—neither male nor female.

Women are emotional creatures. Often, anger and frustration are manifest through tears. Tears are uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Men are emotional creatures. Often, anger and frustration are manifest through aggression. Aggression is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

I started my first management position at 18 years old. Through the last 20 years, I have worked with men and women—each different—each valuable. I have enjoyed the challenge of diversity–the push and pull of points of view. They make us better. They make us stronger.

It is empowering to acknowledge differences. I ask my team to push back. I ask my team to be honest. When team members leave, I enjoy writing a letter that I read aloud to the rest of the team extolling the contributions of that person. Everyone I have worked with has made me better in some way.

Among them, the most impactful to me were the strong women.

I don’t use “strong” in a masculine sense. I use “strong” in a smart, committed, persistent sense. In management, I have had many conversations where I needed to meet with my team to discuss opportunities for improvements in their work. In reflecting on those conversations, I found one difference between men and women. Men were often better able to compartmentalize or disconnect. Work was work. For women, work was deeply personal.

Whether writing, designing a magazine, or raising children, the work was deeply personal. When they didn’t hit a deadline, they were harder on themselves than any words I could utter.

Therein lies the beauty.

They cared. They did what was necessary to get the job done.

I don’t micromanage. I expect professionals who take ownership and lead with their words and actions. It has been my pleasure to work with amazing men and women who have contributed in exceptional ways.

But, today I am angry.

A close loved one with high credentials and a world of experience, who happens to be a young mother with young children, was in an interview and received the question: “You are a young mother with small children at home. This job requires travel. How would that impact your family?”

Illegal? Certainly. There are at least a half-dozen other ways for the interviewer to answer questions about whether someone can balance travel.

But, how myopic is that question?

The pain in the ask is this—what biases do you have that hold others back from feeling valued, empowered and able to achieve? We all have them. Is it an outdated view of male and female roles in the workplace? Is it a believe that wisdom of age is better than zeal and creativity of youth? Is it a failure to understand the value of diversity in persons and points of view in the workforce? Some folks may even read this article and equate my identification as male, traditional, conservative and Christian as backwards or flat-earther.

I do not believe it is altogether possible to avoid biases and stereotypes. We all hold them to some degree.

It is in the not caring and not trying that we fail to make our world and those around us brighter.

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