Because, whether we like to admit it or not, it does. So let's own that.
When the Harvard Business Review released this story and an accompanying ICEDR report on Millennial women in the workplace, several news outlets latched on to its primary finding: Women don't leave their jobs because they want better work/life balance. They leave, first and foremost, for better pay. And indeed, the wage gap is real and persistent, with women making about 7% less than men—only about half of which can be accounted for by the old "she doesn't want to work as hard because she has kids" argument.
But, you guys. Check out this chart (the top five reasons baby-making-age women leave their companies) and let's give it the old fortune cookie treatment, but instead of adding "in bed" to each option, add "because as a mother...." Go ahead, try it. You'll see that motherhood infiltrates all of the reasons.
Taking it point by point....
1) "I found a job elsewhere that pays more money" because as a mother, I need to support my family and pay for childcare.
2) "There are not enough opportunities for learning and development for me here" because as a mother, I need to know I can eventually advance to a leadership role and create a workplace that works for my life—and my peers'.
3) "The work here is not as interesting and as meaningful as I would like" because as a mother, if I'm going to spend my time away from my baby, you'd better believe I want to be doing work that feels worthwhile!
4) "There is not a fair balance between how hard I work and the compensation I receive" because as a mother that feels especially crappy for the exact reasons described above.
5) "We are starting a family, and I would like to spend more time with them" because as a mother, time is fleeting, and while I know I won't get these baby years back, I also don't want to lose years of my career.
The subtext all boils down to workplace culture and motherhood—two things that aren't at all easy to separate. You aren't only a worker at work and only a mother at home. Being a parent affects your outlook on nearly everything. So yes, by all means, look for a job that pays more. But let's all be open about why: More money, more passion, more interesting work makes us more satisfied as working mothers.