In between starting my new job and chasing after C (who just learned how to climb stairs last weekend...yikes!), I have been working on Baby Steps, the e-book. I am so incredibly excited about the women who have contacted me with their stories: marketers, entrepreneurs, lawyers - these are amazing women who have all found a way to balance mommyhood and successful careers. In honor of their achievements, here is a sneak preview of some of their anecdotes and tips.
Jennifer, a marketer and a mom of three, reflects on "juggling" it all.
For a long time I held onto a lot of guilt that I could not give the same level of attention to my job, my house, my husband, my appearance/self and other things that I did before kids. One of the things that got me past that was hearing a quote somebody said about my generation of women being the first ones to have our father’s job along with our mother’s responsibilities. I found relief in knowing that what I was expecting myself to take on was almost twice the amount my mom and her friends had done and I really did not have to do it all. I basically said to myself, “Look, every day I can’t be a model mother, employee, wife, housekeeper, friend, frugal shopper, accountant, educator, etc. So pick one today.” Each day, especially when my kids were in the infant stage, I’d pick one area and be absolutely focused on that area and allow myself permission to give less energy to the others.
Sara, CEO of FlexJobs.com and mom of two, suggests adjusting your expectations.
Keep it in perspective...and GO EASY ON YOURSELF! It’s really easy to feel like you’re so behind in “things” and will never get caught up (there are so many more balls in the air to throw/juggle/catch!), so try to adjust your expectations of what is truly important to get done versus OK to leave until later. Also, for me, I realized that it was a good exercise to look back in hindsight… it seemed that every 3 months or so I remember realizing how much better I was doing than 3 months before, which was better than 3 months before that, etc.
Josephine, an entrepreneur and mom of three, offers some sound advice for heading back to work.
On your first day back to the office, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Be upbeat and positive. Remember you are going back to work for a reason. Gently remind yourself why you are going back to work. In my case, I gently say two words to myself, College Education. That usually gets me back on track. I know I'm working to create a better life for my kids and somehow I feel better.
Gennifer, a consultant who spent 14 years at Nickelodeon/MTV Networks, and a mom of two, stressed the importance of having a strong network.
I founded a support group called "The Mama Birds" that I brought to human resources' attention so that we could get the company to support our needs for balance and so the company could retain its excellent employees. My group grew from 7 women on my floor to over 65 in MTV's regional offices and included some dads. After I left the company in 2007, it became an official group at MTV. The name for Mama Birds came from one day when I was hysterical on the phone with my mother after having a rough drop off with my clingy 18 month old and racing for a train into the city to get to the job that I felt no longer supported who I was spiritually. I said it wasn't natural for me to leave my child and go off to work and that cave women had their kids with them while they picked berries etc. Her response was, “Mama birds leave their babies safely in the nest while they go out to get their babies a worm, and that's all you're doing...getting your baby a worm.”
This is just a taste of some of the stories that will be incorporated into Baby Steps. I am working diligently to tie everything together and hope to have the e-book completed by the end of the year. Stay tuned for more!