Balancing Mommy and Manager
Ten things I have learned from transitioning to a family friendly career
There is a new women’s movement away from all absorbing full time male dominated careers which take women away from nurturing and being present for their children toward more flexible, entrepreneurial and service oriented fields which give women more control over their lives and their schedules. Traditional career women are not a bad thing; however, when juggling career and child, one can be seen as impeding the other — there is a dissonance. It is easier said than done, but here are some words of wisdom for women who want to be present for their children, whilst reaching some career goals:
1. Women have always thrived and excelled at service and it gives them a great amount of control over their lives
Options like virtual work and freelancing pay well if your skills are handy. Try to seek out clients or work a flexible job in something like consulting where you can set your own schedule.
2. Take no boss but yourself
Need a sick day to take care of your kids? Great, send some emails and take it.
3. Make the most per hour in the fewest number of hours
Service fields like sales, communications, and communications allow the most flexibility. However, when having children later in life you are on a rung on the career ladder which affords you the most time to yourself.
4. Have control and flexibility
Don’t be afraid to achieve that though entrepreneurship either.
5. Avoid working for big institutions they tend to be less flexible and
again would mean you are at the will of others
This can be tricky as the big name can mean a lot on a resumé/CV, but if you work well for your clients, you should have a long list of recommendations should you get back into the traditional workforce.
6. The only person you should be at will of when you have small children
is yourself and even then most women need to use great self restraint
to control their ambition and desire to work harder in those early
Ambition is great, but not at the expense of your children. If you have a partner, it is best to sit and figure out some compromise for yourselves and your child regarding you career goals. In the first 0–3 years of their lives, your children need you.
7. Be willing to go back to school
Re-training is a great tool to keep you competitive in the workforce. Get a graduate degree, finish up your undergrad, or even just gain some certifications on the side.
8. Don’t do homework…meaning choose
Work where you can leave it at work which also goes along with health and
service fields. If you work in consulting, try to have an area of the house just for work and put away everything when it is done. Maybe even hire a collaborative space. That way, when you come home you can really be present for
9. What you choose to transition to is already part if you whether you
know it or not
Having a child is a great time for a career shift using your skills as a guide. You can utilize your natural ability, what is in your interests or even your DNA. It may mean going back t school to build some blocks but whatever you decide comes from who you are if you are diligent enough to capture it.
10. Remember that according to a study by Harvard University the key to lifelong happiness and satisfaction is having satisfying relationships particularly of a personal nature.
Happiness is derived less from having that fancy car and more from having the love and support from all of those around you. Putting the time in to emotionally identify with your child and allowing him/her to become emotonally attatched to you is very rewarding in and of itself. It is all about balance and priorities.
Erica Komisar is a veteran psychoanalyst and parent-coach who has been in private practice for 25 years. A graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Universities and The New York Freudian Society, she lives is New York City with her husband, optometrist and social entrepreneur Dr. Jordan Kassalow, and their three teenage children.
Pre-order her book, Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters and follow her on Twitter @EricaKomisarCSW