November 20, 2013 11:47 am

MBA gender gap: tips on juggling work with motherhood

Emily Oster

Emily Oster: "Too little effort is made to actually explain the content of our research to people outside academia."

Emily Oster is an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business . Her first book, Expecting Better: How to Fight the Pregnancy Establishment with Facts published in August 2013. It uses the tools of economics to empower women to make better decisions while they are pregnant. Her five top tips on juggling work with motherhood are:

1. Outsource, outsource, outsource – your two jobs are spending time with your kids and your actual job; that’s enough. Outsource everything else you can, and be creative. Is there a way someone else can do this?

2. Try to negotiate for a slightly altered schedule. Most kids go to sleep around 7:30pm, making a work day that ends at seven difficult. Consider asking whether you can leave earlier and work after bedtime or early in the morning. Many women are reluctant to ask, but if the alternative is to quit because you are unhappy never seeing your kid, what is the worst that can happen?

3. Get childcare you are happy with. It is hard enough to be away from your kid because you miss them. Don’t compound this with a fear they are not having fun. If you aren’t happy, switch.

4. Find a mentor. Try to find someone who has juggled work with motherhood successfully to give you advice.

5. Commute as little as possible. Your time is far too valuable to spend it in the car and studies show that commuting is one of the few unpleasant activities you never grow to enjoy.

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