Working Moms Feel Pressure to Work Late

by Cassandra R. Elias

In the News: Facebook’s CEO Goes Home at 5:30. Why Can't You?

Sandburg Working "9 to 5" seems to be a thing of the past. That's especially true for working mothers who feel pressure to come in early, stay late and skip lunch so they don't give the impression that having children makes them less productive.

When the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg recently came out and announced that she goes home at 5:30 every day to be with her children, the working world took notice. It seems employers and co-workers can put up with almost anything but leaving "early."

Sandberg told Makers.com, "I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I'm home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I've been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it's not until the last year, two years that I'm brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn't lie, but I wasn't running around giving speeches on it."

It's not surprising that Sandberg treated this situation as a "dirty little secret." With job security at its lowest levels and the appearance of working 24/7 being more important than ever, leaving early is a sin worse than Facebooking on company time. It seems to tell employers that you don't care or that you don't love your job. Imagine loving your family more.

That doesn't make sense given that everyone is always "connected." Between laptops, smartphones and tablets, it's not as if we are not already putting in tons of overtime. Those of us who work at home most assuredly put in more than our fair share of hours. Yet, if we work in an office, it seems outrageous to go home for family time.

Sandberg has done a lot of working moms a favor by admitting this taboo in public. Maybe now we will be able to put in an honest day’s work at the office and not have to look down in shame as we leave the building at what used to be a reasonable hour just 10 to 15 years ago.

What has your experience been? Do you feel pressure to work more hours than are reasonable? Is your relationship with your kids suffering? Shout it out!