The phrase ‘Working Mom’ has two huge responsibilities merged into one. Working – pursuing a career in the competitive corporate world; and Mom – a 24x7x365 job. Being a working mother is tough. No, very tough. Wait, it’s chaotic. Actually it is kind of impossible! Now that was a little harsh. Let’s stick with tough. Well, I’m sure you get the point. Infamously touted as ‘jugglers’, working moms are expected to strike the coveted balance in their lives with ease. Hold on again; did I just say balance!?! Most working moms would argue that there is no time left to create a balance if you are doing a job, taking care of the family and raising kids at the same time. Right?
Absolutely right. But, philosophically speaking, you have one life to live. While being a mother is an experience like no other, a career requires years of hard work to climb a few rungs of the corporate ladder and reach a respectable position. You cannot and should not let go of either of them. What about your personal life then? Reading a nice book cuddling up next to the fire? Or exploring the world? Do you give these desires up? Negative again.
I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time when you are just thinking, ‘This is impossible – oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and going, and soon you sort of do the impossible.
– Tina Fey
What should you do?
I am not going to bombard you with 10 things that you should/ should not do as a working mom. Allow me to make two simple points:
Change, as we know is the only constant in the world. As the situations of our lives change, we need to adapt to the changes to make the best use of our time. When you are single and have your career and personal life to worry about, your decisions are based on the time available on hand. When you get married, the equation changes and you try to spend more time with your husband, building a strong foundation of your marriage. Then, you have children.
Once you become a mother, you are faced with a huge responsibility of bringing up the child along with keeping your marriage happy and pursuing your career. However, for some strange reason the number of hours in the day seem to be stuck at 24! How on earth does one manage all of them then? Here is what I recommend:
Career Course Correction
When you are a working mom, you need to realize that like the captain of a ship, the changing tides demand that you correct course – NOT THE DESTINATION. Since, you have worked hard for years to be where you are today in your career, it is prudent to alter the course of career which utilizes your strengths and skills and offers you a similar or better career path. The idea of correcting the course is to be able to find more time to find the work-family-children-life balance.
Having said this, course correction is not easy. When the captain decides to veer 15o east to avoid a strong tide, he needs to be confident that he won’t be confronted with worse situations. He backs his experience and takes the decision. But you don’t have prior experience in correcting the course of your career. How do you approach it then?
A career coach can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses as a professional by making you audit your career balance sheet. This gives you a bird’s eye view of your career and helps you make course correction decisions easily.
Create a Structure
Alternatively, you stay the course but create a structure to manage the changes effectively. Invest in your life, utilize your resources to build a structure that can take care of your mundane tasks such that you can improve your quality of life, and focus on the aspects that really matter. You may begin by prioritizing various aspects of your life; health, family, children, work, relationships, personal time – the list can be different for every individual. Now, you can create a structure to empower you and to ensure that you give enough time/ attention to each of them that are critical for you and your happiness!
If you don’t want to course correct your career, then a structure’s approach can help you optimize your time and ensure that you create the coveted balance in your life. While it may seem like a no-brainer, trust me I have seen far too many women crib and complain about their inability to manage the balance in life that ends up consuming their energy, impacting their health and well-being. So do not negotiate as your well-being and peace of mind is non-negotiable! Isn’t it?
I am a working mom too and have deployed both these techniques through the course of my career. At Change Ur Story, we help working moms find the right strategy to approach their career paths through discussion, discovery, and bespoke career coaching sessions. Don’t wait for the days to be 36 hours long, drop us a line and let’s start changing the course of your career and destiny today!
Before I sign off, I would like to wish each of you wonderful Moms a Happy Mother’s Day. Regardless of the choices you make, it’s time to celebrate being a Mom and patting yourself on the back for managing the journey beautifully. And this Mother’s Day, gift yourself some time off and consider these tips to optimize your Career!
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