Must Women Work like they Don’t Have Children?

Must Women Work like they Don’t Have Children?
Written by Publishing Team

During my maternity leave, I considered not going back to work. It may not sound like an amazing confession, but it is for me.

Not only because I’ve never shared it publicly, or because it will surprise almost anyone who knows me, or because I’ve worked my way up to a managerial position, but because I really enjoy working. . And I love to inspire and train other women to excel in their careers.

You can’t plan your whole life, and you certainly can’t figure out what it’s like to be a parent until you are. Remember that you are making the best decision possible with the information you have at the time. My son is now 10 years old and I am convinced that I made the right decision for myself, but the journey of a working mother is not easy.

Being a working mother required a dual identity that I had not been prepared for. I felt the need to take on the extra burden at work to show that I could – to prove that I and all the other working mothers could work the overtime. I was determined to make homemade cupcakes for the birthday party. And I haven’t talked about any of those experiences at work or at home except with my husband and closest friends.

It seemed like everyone got it all figured out, as I was the one missing out on work deadlines, school schedules, my family and myself.

Pumping at work in the unisex bathroom gave me two daily opportunities to look at myself in the mirror. (This was before separate pumping zones were mandatory at work and the organization created spaces that they now have.) So I got to see how my hair held up throughout the day and really see me.

On sunny days, I would smile and tell myself how amazing I was in my costume while simultaneously taking care of my business and my baby at home. On rough days I would gaze at my reflection and cry through the incessant banging and audible sighs that could be heard through the door.

Being a working mom amplified everything I experienced as a female leader.

I remember a boss telling me that I had a reputation for having sharp elbows and that would hold me back in my career. The previous month he had praised me for imitating his pointy elbows for doing something at work. It really is the quintessential double bind to which every woman is held at work.

Women are expected to smile all the time and be nice to everyone, yet we learn that “nice girls” do not advance at work.

Women are held to higher standards of work and professionalism, and then we are denigrated because we think we are too good for others.

Women are expected to show no vulnerability at work (I mean, God forbid we ever cry) and then others say we are not relatable.

And again, you’re even more under the microscope when you’re not just a working woman, but a working mother.

Someone once suggested that I shouldn’t take an international travel assignment that would advance my career because I had a child at home. I made the decision that works best for me and my family, and I already knew which suitcase I would like to take.

A quote went viral last year and it summed it up: Women are supposed to work as if they have no children and the mother as if they don’t work outside the home.

Recently, when a former colleague visited my new office, he casually remarked on the number of family photos on display. Although the comment probably meant little to him, it struck me deeply. For most of my career as a working mother, I had no pictures of my child in my office for fear of being held up at work (consciously or unconsciously) for being a mother.

It took working with an executive coach to help me speak openly about the joys and challenges of being a working woman, let alone a working mom. It started by sharing my family Thanksgiving card with everyone at work – a visual reminder of my life outside of the office – to begin to blend the two sides of myself and recognize their strengths when combined.

I like to work. And I am excellent at my job. I really believe that you can love your job and love your family. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It also does not mean that you will “get it all.”

When I left for a business trip not so long ago, I felt a little nostalgic about leaving, until my son told me he would think of me going. having fun while he was having fun. This is really everything I dreamed of and worked for as a working mom: for my son to feel confident, loved and proud of my job.

My biggest learning as a working mom is that pretty good is all. I had to stop being a perfectionist. I had to accept that I didn’t know all the answers. I had to get used to asking people for help. I had to find joy every day. I was stronger than I thought. Each of these experiences as a mom has also helped me to be my best at work.

SAHM, Working Mom, Positive Parenting

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Publishing Team

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