Returning to work after having a baby isn’t easy for moms or dads, but there’s no denying that women have it especially hard. So when you work for a company that encourages you to be a mom and an employee, you know you’re one of the lucky few. Holly Morissette, a recruiter for Patagonia, paused for a moment to praise her company for all that they do to set up working mothers (and fathers) for success. Her message on LinkedIn has quickly gained traction for showing that it’s possible to bridge the gap between motherhood and maintaining a career.
Morissette was feeling extra grateful while she was breastfeeding her child during a morning meeting shortly after returning from maternity leave. “It got me thinking, with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a ‘call to action’. A PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies,” she says.
“It’s no wonder that Patagonia has 100 percent retention of moms. Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done,” Morissette explains. She’s not the first parent to make this argument about Patagonia’s policies for parents. That’s because the company truly believes they’re setting an example other employers can and should follow.
“Our employees make up the core of our company and we want them to bring not just their ‘best selves’ but their whole selves to work,” Dean Carter, Patagonia’s vice president of human resources, tells The Bump. “They are important because it means we have more women in management positions, and because our employees work for us for a long time. They are important because when you have this type of support in place, these policies help create a workplace where people want to be and where the lines between worklife and homelife blur to be just ‘life.’”
Morissette’s post not only serves a much-deserved nod to Patagonia, but also a reminder of the void in corporate America that still needs to be filled. Sociologist Caitlyn Collins spent five years observing parenthood in four wealthy western countries—Sweden, Germany, Italy and the US. Her conclusion? Stress is synonymous with working moms in the US. She found every region has different policies in place to help mothers (some better than others) that virtually don’t exist in the US. As a result, working moms in America are drowning in stress. Which is why Morissette hopes her message will help be the cause for change.
“Perhaps just one person will brave the subject with their employer, big or small, in the hopes that it gets the wheels turning to think differently about how to truly support working families,” the mom writes. “With a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren’t hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass.”
Now that’s something we can all get behind.