Mommy tracking is when you take on less work or are given less work because you are a working mom. It can also mean that you miss out on career advancement because you're a mom. People may think you have enough on your plate with work and kids. Instead of asking you if you can handle a new project or a promotion, they just don't ask.
You can opt to mommy track your career when you don't want to handle a heavy workload.
You can choose to do this by not asking for additional work and only doing what is necessary to fulfill your responsibilities. This is a temporary move used to avoid burnout. But just because you're a working mom doesn't mean you'll choose to do this to your career.
But it can be a big problem when someone else chooses to mommy track your career. It's unfair when someone assumes you can't handle more work and offers the promotion or hot project to someone else. How can you stop people from doing this especially when you want to work harder?
Is it happening because of something you're doing? Are people unaware of your big potential? If you feel like you've been mommy tracked here's how to find out why and how to remedy the situation.
Honestly Assess Your Workload
Let's assess how well you are doing your job. Give yourself a self-performance review by truthfully answering these questions:
- What work do you do to fulfill your job’s requirements?
- Will you hit your quarterly goals?
- What extra projects have you taken on?
- What do you do on a daily basis to keep up with your work?
Based on your answers, do you believe you could competently take on additional work? If not, people are not putting you on the mommy track. People can tell you are busy and believe asking you to do more would set you up for failure.
If you decide you're doing sensational work and have time to take on more what projects do you want to go after? With a few goals set you won’t be looking for just any opportunity to advance. Set your sights on a specific project and look for opportunities shine a light on your work.
Also, assess the work you're doing at home. If you appear tired at work it could be because you need help at home. Are you volunteering your time too often? Is your spouse not pulling their weight on the home front? Do you need a vacation or some me-time to revive yourself?
Check What Kind of Vibe You’re Putting Off
What is your attitude like at work? People may think you're under too much pressure if you complain often or look grumpy at the office. They may assume you can't handle more work and won't bother to ask.
If you have a negative vibe your chances of getting new projects are slim. Here are a few ways to give off a positive vibe. If you have been silent in meetings start asking questions. If you realize you’ve been moping around, find ways to boost your energy. When you start radiating positivity people will think, “Wow, she is doing is all! I wonder if she’d be game for the new project.”
Also, how do you look when you show up at work?
It could count against you if you show up looking disheveled. When you take the time to appear professionally put together it shows you care about yourself. If you don't' care about yourself how will people expect you to care about your work? Decide how to present the best version of you every day so you can literally put your best foot forward.
Ask for What You Want, Don't Wait
If you know you can handle the extra workload, you’re putting off a positive vibe, and you’re looking good you need to ask for what you want.
No one but you will stick up for what you deserve. You need to go for the ask and be specific. What exactly are you looking to work on and why? What makes you the best person for the job? If you’re stumped about how to phrase what you want follow the A-E-I-O-U method. Here's an example,
"A" is for Acknowledge: I get that the Big Project is hot right now.
"E" is for express: I feel that I could close the project in two weeks.
"I" is for identify: I have experience with the client and know what they are looking for.
"O" is for outline: Here is the roadmap I'd follow to close the deal (then show a visual).
"U" is for understanding: Could I get the chance the work on the Big Project?
They may take this opportunity to question if you can handle the extra work. But you'll be ready to defend yourself. Share what you've learned when you honestly assessed your work performance. Then talk about how great you're feeling because of self-care tasks you're doing after-hours. This will prove that your energy is high because you're taking good care of yourself.
If you feel like you're being mommy tracked against your will you have a choice. Do you accept the new work style or do you fight for what you want! Business can get tough but you've got this working mama!