Photo: Nicole's Choice
Work life balance for moms is an ongoing challenge. We are constantly running on empty while creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves and the job we love...motherhood. There comes a time in our lives when a mother has to make a choice and understand that she can't have it all....at least not at the same time.
In 1998, my now 15 year old had to be rushed to Georgetown hospital because she had bacteria in her blood. She was 22 months. I was at my job for less than a year. I indicated to my boss that I needed to leave and his response insinuated that if I left, I would lose my job. I stayed and I wept. My husband had no difficulty leaving his job and thankfully he was at our daughter's side during this ordeal. Though times have changed somewhat, gender bias is still evident in the workplace. One year later, I made the choice to leave my job and start our business. My primary reason was to have the flexibility and power to control my schedule so that I could be there for my children. Fast forward to 2010, our business was slowing down, health insurance was needed and in general, we needed additional income. I made the choice to accept a Program Manager position with a management firm. I have loved every minute of my time there and enjoyed the work environment. It was perfect. However, my family needs me. Again, I made the choice to resign my position so that I could have power over my schedule and be there for my soon to be 16 year old daughter and my almost 8 year old son. My oldest son starts college in the Fall.
Fortunately, I'm in a position whereby I can make a choice! So many mothers cannot afford to be at home with their children and are judged for that. Whether you are a mother who works outside the home, or a stay at home mother, you must be supportive of each other and the choices made. We can first start by being honest. Working mothers try to be in perfect balance and it's just not possible. You cannot be in two places at the same time. These past 2 years were both fulfilling and frustrating for me. There were times when I needed to be there for one of my kids and work took priority. Sometimes I would be away on travel or work late night hours to meet a deadline. Although my husband has been an awesome parent and priceless support, I still became frustrated that I was unable to be there. Nevertheless, I was able to make peace with myself knowing that I was doing the best that I could.
I have learned that it is necessary for me to define what I consider to be my success as a mother. The following are some tips that continue to help me on my journey.
- Create a vision and try to adhere to it.
- Pray. It works.
- Make the most of the time you spend with your children.
- Be honest - Share your experience.
- Be humble. Reach out and ask for help.
- Be realistic - you can't do everything.
- Don't compare yourself to other moms. We all have different goals.
- Do what makes you comfortable.
- Being a mom is sufficient. Supermom is a fictitious character.
- Support other moms. Don't judge.
- Always, always be aware that gender bias still exists in the workplace. Be prepared.
- Be grateful if you are able to choose. Don't judge.