Lately, it seems that everyone wants to accomplish something -- just look at sites like www.43things.com. The ambitions posted on these sites run the gamut from wanting to get more organized to traveling the world to earning more money.
If you are a working mother, you know you are just as ambitious as everyone else out there. You also know that your career is the vehicle to achieving those aspirations. Unfortunately, you probably feel like you are barely able to keep your head above water, much less establish any professional goals beyond bringing home a paycheck. Complicating matters even further, working mothers have hurdles to jump that their counterparts probably don’t even have on their radar.
Working mothers have two jobs -- being a mother and being an employee. There is no way to keep your family life from seeping into work. You may be able to leave your work at the office, but you can’t ever completely leave your family at home. How many times have you left work early to take a sick child to the doctor or to attend a parent-teacher conference? Do you feel like you have to sneak out of the office right at 5 p.m. (whether your work is finished or not) so your child won’t be the last one picked up at after-school care -- again? Do you feel like your commitment to the company and your career is being questioned when you put your family first?
As if all of this juggling isn’t tiring enough, the second shift begins as soon as your “outside the home” job ends. There is dinner, homework, little league, dance class, scouts, and on and on and on.
Another equally important challenge working moms face is the delicate task of having to weigh each decision they make between the needs of their families and the good of their careers. Do you entertain clients or have drinks with the boss after work, or do you go to your son’s baseball game? Do you apply for the promotion that will relocate your family across the country, or do you put your career on the back burner until the kids are grown? There is never an easy choice and I bet you tend to second guess your decisions and feel guilty no matter what you decide. In fact, I would guess that there isn’t another segment of the population who feels as much guilt as working mothers.
Let’s face it, most mothers work because they need to -- either they need the income, they need to fulfill their desire to work, and/or they feel the need to provide a better life for their children than is possible on one income. But, if you are stressed out, always on the run, and don’t have quality time to spend with your kids, is having a career fulfilling that need or is it causing undue hardship on your family? This is one of those times when it pays to do it right. If you are going to work, shouldn’t it be for a career that is rewarding, both intrinsically and financially, and that also allows you to enjoy your family life?