Becoming a mom is one of the biggest changes women will experience in their lifetimes. That transformation takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll as you transition into life as a parent. That adjustment can be even more stressful if you’re balancing a career with a changing family.
Paid parental leave for new moms helps them adjust to their new family status. In addition to supporting women with physical recovery, parental leave also has a positive impact on mental health, which in turn, makes for happier, healthier employees when they return to work. Here’s how parental leave for new moms impacts their short- and long-term mental health.
Promotes Healthier Living
Medical studies have found that new parents are at risk for various mental health problems, including postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. These mental health problems aren’t limited to parents who give birth. Adopting parents often report similar rates of anxiety and depression.
Additional studies have found that these psychological and behavioral changes can have long-lasting ramifications. For example, stressed new parents are at a higher risk for divorce. Furthermore, mental and physical health go hand in hand, with working parents reporting less time for exercise and eating nutritious meals.
Evidence shows that parents who are given sufficient time to adjust to physical and emotional changes that come with being a parent are better able to avoid or cope with mental health issues. Parents on family leave are able to get more sleep than those who must return to work. They are also more likely to get more exercise and eat healthy foods. With regular rest and physical wellness, parents are better able to fight physical and mental illnesses.
Reduces Financial Stress
Financial concerns are one of the biggest stressors for parents. In the United States, workers may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after giving birth or adopting a child. Although the law protects an employee’s job, it doesn’t provide financial support during that time. No matter how well families follow money-saving tips to build their savings, many employees are financially unable to take parental leave.
Many workers may burn through their savings, leaving them financially strained. Instead of bonding with their children or physically recovering from birth, some women may look for part-time work or return to their job before they’re ready. If your company doesn’t offer paid leave, it’s important to consider ways to earn passive income when you’re a family planning to build wealth while you’re away from your full-time job.
Companies may provide some paid family leave benefits, but policies vary in terms of how they cover leave for birthing and non-birthing parents. Paid family leave alleviates some stress, allowing parents to focus on their family and their health. Workers can put their savings toward an emergency fund or a retirement plan, making them financially healthy.
Reduces Workforce Attrition
In 2021, more than 47 million Americans left their jobs, including new working parents. Some went on to new jobs, but a recent study on the Great Resignation found that 45% of workers left without job offers, and 53% of workers who went on to new roles took pay cuts.
The No.1 reason workers quit their jobs was because of a toxic workplace. Toxic work environments are characterized by bad bosses, high-stress timelines, overtime work, and office politics. In some of the most serious situations, workers report feeling harassed and unsupported.
By providing parental leave for new moms, companies can support their co-workers and make them feel like valued members of the team. Supported parents will be more likely to stay at a company long-term instead of leaving for better opportunities. When companies retain employees, it creates an overall stronger workforce.
Encourages Work-Life Balance
The World Health Organization recommends that new parents receive a minimum of 18 weeks of paid family leave, but the U.S. provides less paid family leave than any other wealthy country in the world. Returning to work after 12, or fewer, weeks is difficult for parents with an infant or young child.
Beyond providing parental leave for new moms, companies can support working parents by offering flexible work arrangements. After two years of working with fully or partially remote offices, many companies have established protocols to accommodate off-site work. Giving parents the option to work from home when they return from leave will help them financially by reducing child care costs, and it will also provide them with more time to spend with family by eliminating a commute and after-hours time at the office.
Employees may want to continue working from home indefinitely while they raise young children. In those instances, working parents need designated office space to create separation between work and family life. That may mean selling a home that’s close to the office and moving into one that has more space. Ask a real estate agent to perform a comparative market analysis examining similar homes that have sold recently in the neighborhood to ensure you’re not paying more for amenities that you need as a working parent.