POSTED IN MAY 2021
“I am so overwhelmed as a manufacturing Mom. I feel like I’m disproportionately paying the COVID price. I’m now homeschooling, grocery shopping online… I feel I have lost control! Help!” – Teena, Mississauga, ON
Teena, I hear you! Manufacturing has not gone remote, but it seems like everything else in this COVID world has. Our kids are home, our restaurants are takeout only, childcare supports are shut down, but in-person manufacturing work must continue. How can we magically be in two places at once?
Navigating a career and raising children has always be a finely orchestrated balancing act. At work, you are required to focus on production, keep costs down, lead your team and keep what happens at home out of the daily huddle. Now, with a pandemic in full swing, the balancing act is nearing a tipping point.
Recently, LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company published the 2020 Women in the Workplace Report, which highlights the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on the genders – working mothers in particular. Pressures on the home front have risen with increased childcare and domestic demands, but the pressure to be seen as leaders on the shop floor hasn’t abated. This cannot be news to any working woman.
As a woman working in manufacturing, I always felt I needed to keep my home and work very separate. I was very aware that I didn’t want to act like a wife and mother for fear that I would be treated differently than my male colleagues or coworkers without children. Pre-COVID, balancing the covert life was tough. Now that we’re living in a Zoom world, our best kept secret is being aired for everyone to see.
There must be a solution to balancing work and raising children that doesn’t involve more stress for women in manufacturing. When I reflect on the best problem solving tools at my disposal over my career, Lean immediately jumps to the front of the line. We look to Lean methodology to solve all our production and waste issues; why not use Lean to tackle the home/work balance situation? Why not use Value Stream Mapping (VSM) to illustrate what is value added/nonvalue added?
Let’s give it a try with a Manufacturing Mom Survival Guide:
"I am so overwhelmed as a manufacturing Mom. I feel like I’m disproportionately paying the COVID price. I’m now homeschooling, grocery shopping online… I feel I have lost control! Help!" - Teena, Mississauga, ON