I love being wife and mom. I got married at 25, a little shy of the average age that college-educated women marry for the first time and early in my professional career. I thought, “I’ve always been smart. I can do this. Heck, I graduated college with a Biomedical Engineering degree. That’s way harder than raising a family.”
Yes, I hear the snickers of every woman who has been a mom for more than 15 minutes. I learned quickly that the schedule of a working mom is always full, the mind of a working mom is always going, and the heart of a working mom will be divided.
Already raising my bonus son and my niece I was convinced that going back to work after having my first baby would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong. I constantly felt the struggle of choosing between my career trajectory and my family.
So I can totally relate to the feelings of high ranking corporate women like Indra Nooyi (CEO, PepsiCo) and Marissa Mayer (CEO, Yahoo) whose maternity leave announcement made national headlines. As women, we make hefty sacrifices and must build a reliable network in order to rise to our potential in the workplace.
But what happens to our families in that process? During a panel at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, Indra Nooyi declared that successful career women cannot “have it all” and their husbands are the ones who suffer most. While I cannot begin to comprehend the level pressure the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company must face, I believe Mrs. Nooyi missed a crucial point her mother told her in the story she shared. As a working mom, when you walk through the door at home you are a wife, mom, and the COO of your family – and that’s your most important and toughest job.
So here are 3 steps that moms can have a blissful family and shed the guilt of being a working mom.
Recognize that it is a choice.
Just as you make choices about every aspect of life, you make the choice to work outside the home to support your family. It’s your choice. It’s YOUR choice. No one else can make it for you, and no one else can justify why you should or shouldn’t do it. Be confident and secure in that choice. Don’t be tempted to place blame on others when times are tough or feel guilty when others don’t agree with your decision.
Don’t get suckered by The Curse of ExcellenceTM
Women in the workplace are faced with a myriad number of issues unrelated to our capabilities or performance. Women still make on average less than men for the same job, even in positions more traditionally held by women. The desire to prove oneself in such circumstances can lead to the trap I call The Curse of Excellence.TM And that’s this: “I can do it. I can do it well. I can do it better than anyone else. So I must do it.” This will cause you to burn out on your job AND your family. Measure your effort with your responsibility to the task and invest your energy in what matters most.Click To Tweet
Don’t get blinded by The Culture of Accomplishment.
Western culture is one that praises achievement and accomplishment. In the new millennium achieving the American dream looks less like a house with a picket fence, 2.2 kids and a dog and more like bi-coastal jet setting in a private plane eating lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Don’t get me wrong. Living well and being prosperous is not to be frowned upon. But there are some accomplishments that don’t come with a raise and a corner office. Hearing the laughs and seeing the smiles during our family game nights are more fulfilling than any promotion I’ve ever gotten. Don’t allow the culture of accomplishment to impact how you spend time with your family.