I recently read a quote online that made me a little sad thinking about how true it is to the life of working moms who, like me, who are trying to balance it all..(in heels)! “The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job.”
The struggle is real!
This quote made me think a lot about my role as an employee and as a mother. They are separate roles, yet I am one person and part of who I am and how I conduct my day to day operationally is a result of all the different facets of my life. As I’ve said in the past I think my work experience-negotiating, presenting, communicating, partnering, etc.- help in making me the best version of myself, which I wish to share with my son always. Now that I am a mother, if I think about it I would say it has made me a better employee. As a mother I have to be patient, a good listener, find success in trial and error, negotiate, convince, etc! Each role has probably equally helped me in ways I’m now realizing.
Earlier I mentioned the quote itself made me a little sad. Basically we are expected to forget other parts of who we are in order to be present in a situation. It made me think back to the times when I was asked by clients or colleagues about my newborn son and I quickly rushed through the “good, good, all good” because I didn’t want to be perceived as the absent employee, who is only in “mom-mode” from here on out. (I’ve blogged about this; managing your career and dealing with perceptions) Similarly, when speaking with mom friends, there is the dreaded fear your friends are thinking you aren’t spending enough time with your baby, so don’t talk too much about work and your career since baby is your top priority.
My advice is no surprise: balance (like a mom..maybe in heels..in my case) It is OK to accept help at work or at home so you can keep all the ball up in the air! It’s OK to make small talk with colleagues and clients an update them on your little one. Your hard work will prevail and in the end you’ll have presented your baby with a well-rounded Mama! I mean if we have to work, we have to make it work! I know there will be times when I have to cut out of work early or miss a soccer game here and there. What is most important is to be honest, prioritize, accept help when needed, delegate/share responsibility with your spouse and remember quality over quantity.