The Key to the Career/Motherhood Balance?
This is exactly the type of article I would have clicked on a year and a half ago, while six months pregnant, trying to figure out how I was going to balance a newborn baby and a burgeoning fashion career. As I was excited to welcome our baby girl into the world, I was also realizing that as a person I still had a passion for my career and I was excited about the course it was taking and I still wanted to be actively pursuing my dream while being a new mother. I wanted to be successful in my career while still being successful as a mother. As long as I can remember and for as many women as I’ve known, before tackling this subject for myself, this question of career/motherhood balance has always been a struggle.
The struggle and questioning of: Can you have the successes in your career and the thing you are passionate about and still have the same success as a mother? After reading multiple blogs and articles on this very subject and seeing these questions and the subject of “mom guilt” addressed over and over, I decided to ask successful mothers and career women their opinions about the balance.
Each woman had their own take on the balance and how they “mastered” the conflict in their own lives.
The first woman was in Corporate America and her advice:
Hire a Nanny or Find a Great Day Care
Entrusting someone with an extensive background in childcare and with the interest in taking care of your child during the time you are away allows for a bit of ease in helping with the balance. Although this advice was helpful and the idea was one I wanted to explore in the future, childcare services are quite pricey and I couldn’t afford a nanny or day care at the time I spoke with her.
So I spoke to a professional who hadn’t used early child care next. She had recently retired from 37 years of running her own company and her advice:
Begin When Your Children are School Age
Starting a business when your children are in school allows for an automatic allotment of time for you to have free to work on growing your business. As your business grows and your children get older it allows more freedom for travel and to attend work related events. Her advice gave me something to look forward to, but the truth of my situation was, I had begun the business before my daughter was born, so waiting for her to go to school meant a five year hiatus I didn’t want to take.
I decided to ask an entrepreneurial mother who had been in business for multiple years and was about to have her first child; and her advice:
Scale Back and Delegate:
Look at the scope of your business plans for the coming year. If your business could only have your undivided attention 50–75% of the time what portions of your plans for the year would need to be eliminated or brought down to a smaller scale? Does this mean waiting 6 months for new clients/partnerships? Participating in fewer shows and events? Next figure out which areas of your business could be delegated to someone else to do. Could you hire someone part-time, look for a virtual assistant, work on a barter system, or even find a great intern? I liked this advice for myself and definitely implemented many of her ideas into my current business plans, but. I was interested in hearing from the professional mother who I spoke to last.
The last mother I asked was an entrepreneur who had a nice analogy of how she viewed the motherhood/career balance because she felt she had never mastered the balance as much as it became a natural part of her life:
Prioritize and Plan:
Look at your calendar of events for the month and decide what events are most important both professionally and personally, then plan accordingly. She felt being a mother and entrepreneur was like juggling. If you juggle three balls there will always be one ball in the air and two in your hand. The ball in the air has sometime and doesn’t need your immediate attention, but the two in your hand need the attention. She felt that is how her career and personal life balanced. Sometimes she gave her children more attention and sometimes her career.
After speaking with all of the professional mothers I admired each of their solutions and how they made their career/motherhood balance work for them. What I learned most from speaking to each woman is that there is NO KEY to the balance. We all have to find the methods and services that suit our lives/businesses and our children’s needs best.