Nine mothers share their top strategies for striking a balance between playdates and payrolls.




Read and choose the best answer a)-d) to the questions below:




1. Which strategy do the mothers in the text suggest is key to balancing work and family responsibilities?

a) Maintaining a strict 9-to-5 work schedule

b) Prioritizing quality time with children over quantity

c) Delegating all household tasks to family members

d) Avoiding bringing children to work-related activities


2. The text mentions that one mother had to miss her son’s birthday due to a “crucial client meeting”. What does this suggest about the challenges of balancing work and motherhood?

a) Mothers often have to sacrifice family obligations for work commitments

b) Mothers should always reschedule work meetings to attend family events

c) Mothers can easily rearrange their work schedules to accommodate family life

d) Mothers should avoid taking on high-priority work responsibilities with young children


3. According to the text, how do some of the mothers incorporate their children into their work activities?

a) They have their children complete administrative tasks in the office

b) They involve their children in creative work projects and activities

c) They bring their children to client meetings and business events

d) They hire their children as interns or assistants in their businesses


4. What is the key benefit of a “nonlinear workday” as described by Alli Hill?

a) It ensures that all work tasks are completed within a set number of working hours

b) It enables mothers to be available for their children during school hours

c) It allows for more flexibility to attend to family responsibilities during the day

d) It helps maintain a strict 9-to-5 work schedule to separate work and home life


5. Which strategy do the mothers in the text recommend for maintaining balance as a working parent?

a) Embracing help and support from extended family members

b) Avoiding self-care activities to dedicate more time to work and family

c) Strictly adhering to a structured daily schedule without any flexibility

d) Focusing solely on work during the day and spending time with children in the evenings


6. What does the text suggest is a key challenge that the mothers face in balancing work and motherhood?

a) Dealing with unsupportive partners or spouses

b) Struggling to find time for personal hobbies and interests

c) Feeling guilty about missing important family events

d) Experiencing difficulty in delegating tasks to employees


7. How does Brea Starmer, CEO and founder of Lions & Tigers, describe the concept of “work-life balance”?a) It is a realistic and achievable goal for working mothers

a) It is a realistic and achievable goal for working mothers

b) It is a delicate daily dance that requires constant reassessment

c) It is a luxury that working mothers cannot afford to prioritise

d) It is an impossible standard that should not be strived for.



Key: 1. B; 2. A; 3. B; 4. C; 5. A; 6. C; 7. D



  • cornerstone – a basic element; foundation
  • to render – (here) to desgn
  • contingency plan – a plan that can be followed if an original plan is not possible for some reason



Practice makes perfect

Complete the gaps in the article excerpt with the words in bold below:


making ends meet          predictable           trade-off           mesh (=interlock)              bulging

propensity (= tendency)           forgoing            mightily           skyrocketed

(…) Many women (…) have been more likely to do part-time work or take full-time jobs that 1. …….. with the needs of children (jobs with 2. ……… hours, for example). Unfortunately, the freedom to leave work at 3 p.m.—or even at 5 p.m., without a 3. ……… briefcase—is a costly 4. ……… if, like many women, you are barely 5. …….. and are struggling 6. …….. to give your children proper care.

To improve their own lives (and perhaps their children’s, present or hoped for), more and more women have been making different choices. The number who have prepared themselves for professional and managerial jobs has 7. ………. in the past two decades [though (…) it will take another generation for this change to show up in employment statistics]. Women are also returning to work sooner after the birth of children, postponing (or 8. ……… ) having children, and limiting family size.

Victor Fuchs (a professor of economics and health research and policy at Stanford) is enthusiastic about women’s growing 9. ……….. to invest in careers. But he is deeply troubled by two phenomena that he associates with women’s efforts to close the economic gender gap: this country’s abnormally low birthrate (we have not hit replacement level since 1973) and the rising number of children whose futures are at risk. (…)


Key: 1. mesh; 2. predictable; 3. bulging; 4. trade-off; 5. making ends meet; 6. mightily; 7. skyrocketed; 8. forgoing; 9. propensity

In order to read the whole article, go to: https://hbr.org/1989/09/mothers-work




  • Would you agree that being a mother is the most difficult job in the world?
  • What qualities do you think are essential for being a good mother/parent?
  • How has your relationship with your own mother shaped your views on parenting?
  • Do you always buy your mother a present on Mother’s Day?
  • What do/did your mother and you argue about?
  • What is your mother’s biggest fault?





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A Mother’s Day Episode