Blogger | Aunt
Editor at The Paintball Professor
Career moms have a lot to teach us about balancing work and personal life. Whether we are happy parents, or just planning on starting a family, it is something that we all must confront at some point. It takes a lot of work and experience to reach that a point in which we are comfortable with both.
Career moms must confront this issue day by day and make it work somehow, so it’s worth listening to their wisdom. The knowledge we can gain from their experience is valuable, no matter what our situation is.
1. Trust Your Family
As a mother, traditionally, you are the one who must take care of everyone. So, it can be very difficult to focus on your career when you have the weight of your family’s well-being on your shoulders. It can be especially difficult when you have a child who suffers from a chronic illness, such as autism or Down Syndrome.
You could look at Ann Sherry, currently the CEO of the Australian cruise line Carnival. She started out as a social worker, but quickly realized she wanted more. When her son was born, he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
This could have very well meant the end of Sherry’s budding career as an entrepreneur. Yet, that didn’t happen. As she’s stated in numerous interviews, “I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mother”. And she wasn’t. In 2015, she was voted the most influential woman in Australia. She is doing quite well for herself both professionally and on a personal level.
She argues that she owes much of her success to having a “strong home base”. Sherry trusted her family, even if it seemed her son would not be able to lead a normal life. Now he is 23 years old and lives alone in an apartment close to his family.
Arguably, Sherry’s trust that her family will be alright benefited all of them, not just her. Because sometimes, the only thing children need is to see you trust them. The fact that you can focus on other things is just a bonus.
2. You Are Not a Superhero and That’s OK
Everyone probably imagines they can do it all without breaking a sweat. From the outside, career moms seem to be doing just that. How they manage to balance both work and family when many seem to be unable just work is a mystery.
The most valuable advice career moms learn in time is that you can’t be a superhero. And that asking for help occasionally is ok. More than that, it is essential.
That’s the advice of Elizabeth Proust, who is now the chairman of Nestle Australia. She argues there’s absolutely no reason why women should try to do it all. Proust argues there are plenty of ways around doing everything by yourself, from asking your partner for help, to just hiring someone.
There is no shame in that. She believes this image of the superhero career mom who can do it all is rooted in the traditional belief that women should stay at home.
If a woman asks for help that proves she isn’t capable of balancing both work and family? Obviously not. There’s a reason human beings have evolved to come together. We need each other for support.
3. Don’t Let Your Self Be Defined by Just One Thing
One of the most important lessons we can learn from career moms is to not let ourselves be defined by just one thing. Being a mother and pursuing a career are just two choices a person makes, but neither of them tell the whole story.
Career moms by the very fact that they decided not to choose one or the other prove that what you do is not who you are. Just a few decades ago, many would have assumed the two are mutually exclusive. Working moms show us that if something feels right, you should pursue it. Many of the things we assume are true are just based on force of habit rather than facts.
Career moms know better than anyone else how complex a person is, and how many things they can enjoy at the same time. They are who they are, and whatever choices they make, or what they decide to do is just a reflection of that inner self, not its definition.
4. You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other
Just because it’s going to be difficult doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Nothing that is worth doing is ever easy. When you decide between family life and work, it doesn’t mean one must suffer because of the other.
One woman who knows how to balance the two is the former first lady, mom-in-chief, Michelle Obama. She discussed in an interview how important it is to not compromise when it comes to work. Her advice for mothers who still want to purse a professional career is this, “Negotiate hard and know your worth”.
It’s advice we could all benefit from. We all have personal lives that demand our attention. If employers are not willing to respect that, then we shouldn’t be willing to compromise. Because that is not a deal worth taking.
All mothers deserve our undivided attention. Therefore it would be unfair to value the experience of career moms over that of stay-at-home moms. All moms are faced with difficulties and the lessons we can learn from their experience are invaluable.
About Amanda Wilks
Amanda Wilks is a writer, blogger, editorial manager at ThePaintballProfessor.com and last but not least, she’s an aunt. Along with her sister she has discovered motherhood to be a very inspiring and true learning experience when it comes to education, sports, and an overall view of the world. See Amanda’s Twitter for of her work.