November 07, 2018

How to be a professional mother and not die trying

How to be a professional mother and not die trying

As a daughter of a working mother, I have to admit that she was a role model, I was inspired to be better, just because of her, seeing her work hard taught me to manage a complex life, as everyday was a different challenge. She also taught me to have an egalitarian view on gender role.  Today, as a mother of a son, I make sure I am teaching my son to collaborate at home doing household chores, that translates into everyone is responsible to help with laundry, folding included, cooking, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom and doing many kinds of domestic duties.

There is a lot written and discussed about why women work, but some of those articles and discussions assume that, being a working mom it’s detrimental to the families. It builds into the guilt of not being enough time with your son or daughter and makes you die trying.

Contrary to those articles, I think being a mom has made me a better professional, and better suit to survival in the professional world, as you have to start managing the available time in a more meaningful and powerful way, while being realistic. To survive at both; work and home, I started to evaluate how I was feeling about what I was doing, in a sensible and practical way. I learned to use the power of a NO to the things that do not add value to me, my family or my career, including those that require a lot of time commitment. I became more creative, and now I have faith in my abilities to balance.

Be aware and prepared of these 2 biases:

Family / friend bias.

I still get that comment like “Don’t you feel bad leaving your kid and husband at home while traveling?  Your husband is acting as a father and mother of your child!” I can only answer there isn’t one “right” way to raise a child and that neither option is inherently detrimental. Same applies for marriage.

Workplace bias.

Where high-level positions require managers to be direct, yet demonstrating those qualities can be perceived as aggressive and lack of social skills. The other risk is to enter the “mommy track” where careers stalled as soon as you are a mother, due to the workplace bias is a growing field of employment law, so get to know the law. Local laws are constantly evolving, so be informed about it.

Any women can balance work with family, you just need to have a work that you like and that you can develop into, leverage you family, friends as your support system to enjoy.  And don’t forget to have fun!