Human Resources
How to Be a Working Mom in 5 Steps


How to Be a Working Mom in 5 Steps


Loading

Feb 1, 2017 | by Eleni Lobene


This title may be a bit misleading, as I don’t believe there’s any single way to handle the inherent grind and juggle of working full-time and being a parent. But, let’s be honest…we need more conversation.

I’m a working mom. And I’m no longer surprised by the range of comments and questions I get and hear about: “How do you do it?”, “I couldn’t do what you do”, “Are you sure your kids aren’t suffering from you working?”, “How did you decide to work?”, “You must be exhausted”, “Wow…you have it all”, “I’m so glad to meet another working mom”,  “Don’t you think you’re missing out on your kid’s childhood?”, “Wouldn’t a government job be easier than consulting?”, “You clearly don’t know what you are doing”, and “Working parents get more done than anyone!”

People range from bizarre worship to total judgment. It’s just a big cultural battle; and here’s my 2 cents, friends:

 

1. Accept our differences.  I don’t think I realized how unique all of my friends were until we started having kids. Somehow, lifestyle choices and patterns—and anxieties and personality—become incredibly apparent when you take on the parenting role.

The judgment, which may often stem from insecurity about one’s own sacred life choices, is not helpful. The mommy-wars are completely unproductive. As a culture, we need to shift from seeing ourselves as working moms or stay-at-home moms and just focus on the “mom” commonality. Parenthood is too hard as is to deal with these divides.

 

2. Be transparent.  There have been times when I’ve hidden my status as a mom of young children in the workplace because I was afraid of how it might be perceived.

Now I realize that anyone who negatively perceives my parenthood really isn’t worth that energy anyway. And, relatedly…

 

3. Look for understanding leadership.  Does your company have—or would they be open to—a support group for parents? Does your leader express interest in your family? Does your company allow you to take sick time for your children? Supportive leaders are critical. Leaders that don’t understand your value of, or need for, a work-life balance can make the grind feel impossible.

If you are a leader reading this, I urge you to consider this significant portion of the workforce that can easily be alienated or empowered through the tone you set.

 

4. Be weird. Do you need to split your work hours unconventionally to accommodate school schedules, soccer, or whatever? Do you need to change your outfit after getting to the office in the morning? Does it make you feel better to have your kids as your screensaver?

Little (and big) things like that can seem weird if no one else is doing them; but you know—other parents may be wishing they could.

Your action may give permission to other parents to make their lives a little easier or happier. So, without breaking company rules—of course—go ahead…be a little weird.

 

5. This is so simple and so important. Show compassion towards your colleague whose kid is getting sick for the 35th time during their first winter in daycare. Share similar war stories.

Let’s help each other feel a little less alone.

 

So, what has helped you survive the grind? 

Want to learn more about our Leadership & Assessment solutions?

About the Author