Patagonia swaps house moms for warrior moms with strong child care

Moms aren’t just good caregivers.

Moms are warriors.

My Mom in particular settled down early and devoted 18 years of her life to child rearing seven boys before she ever considered finding her niche in the workforce.

It was a scary thing to consider. The time and place (1990s Midwest) didn’t necessarily have a culture that encouraged work-life balance. Things are different now with companies like Patagonia managing to retain 100% of their mothers after maternity leave.

Patagonia exists to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." They create high-quality outdoor gear and take this mission statement to their headquarter offices, too.

In the shadows of popular culture, corporate culture is racing to out-do each other in work-life balance policies. Patagonia is respectably in the lead, and we’re all benefiting from this.

So, as a young female adult in 1994, my mom romanticized the idea of being a stay-at-home mom and gave it her all. Well, she gave it her all until it wore away at her identity and caused burn-out.

My brothers and I had a warrior who healed our wounds, sheltered us from the evils of the world, embrace the good in things around us, and be warriors of our own sort as adults.

She is just now exploring what she can be outside of the home while also maintaining a position as a loving mom of teenagers and adults. The luxury Patagonia gives their headquarter employees is just now being grasped by my Mom in her 40s.

Quartz, a digitally native news outlet, did a feature on Patagonia explaining how their family-friendly benefits are helping reshape cultural perspectives about parents in the workforce.

 Photo by L ucas Favre  on  Unsplash .

Photo by Lucas Favre on Unsplash.

It lets you be the kind of parent you want to be.
— Pete Graves, head of Patagonia's venture fund

Graves models their benefits after a model he benefited from at auditing firm Deloitte.

Deloitte provided paid maternity and paternity leave at the time, as well as flexible work arrangements.

Patagonia currently hosts on-site child care, alongside these other benefits.

The on-site child care has bilingual teachers trained in child development and dedicated to enriching the lives of families. Half of the teaching is out doors. And school-aged kids are given the opportunity to be bused to their parents work after classes to hang-out with them until they’re off.

According to Quartz, all Patagonia women who became mothers between 2011 and 2016 returned to the company. This is 79% higher than the US average.

We wonder why in corporate America women are absent at these levels. You have to value care-giving.
— Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

The Quartz article, which goes on to explain the data supporting the notion the US has a care-giving issue and the data pushing how European experiments in care-giving provide a sustainable model, can be read here: 

https://qz.com/806516/the-secret-to-patagonias-success-keeping-moms-and-onsite-child-care-and-paid-parental-leave/

I can’t begin to imagine what type of fulfillment my Mom might have felt if she was able to be the mother she expected of herself while also working full-time for an organization she loves.

Patagonia mothers get 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and the cost of care-giving is subsidized based on the income of each household in need. All employees get 12 weeks of fully paid medical leave for serious conditions an employee or their family may suffer. If someone needs to travel for work, employees are encouraged to bring someone with them to care for their children. Patagonia covers the costs.

The freedoms my mom could have experienced would have been phenomenal.

Thankfully, better late than never holds value for her. Thankfully, my friends and I are getting more and more care-giving options as we continue maturing into adulthood. Thankfully, our culture is changing.

Lance LijewskiComment