Just when you are on the verge of getting that promotion, you discover you are pregnant! The pregnancy is smooth, and you still get your promotion, but once the baby comes, reality checks in. How will you raise your child and still maintain a successful career?
Let's face it – most millennial women believe that having a child will interrupt their career progression. For those executives who have children, their maternity leave is filled with thoughts of "who will take care of my baby" and "why don't I just quit my job?" Tough decisions come with motherhood!
How, then, do you navigate the maze of career and motherhood without going crazy?
1. Be passionate about both roles
Did you know that several organizations prefer to hire moms are determined to succeed in the workplace despite having children? Career moms are passionate and fully focused when at work because they realize that doing a good job benefits the family. When at work, therefore, put your whole heart into the job, and when you get home, be a fully involved mom.
2. Manage everybody’s expectations
"She has kids? She will never grow in her career!" is a typical reaction from men in the workplace. How do you manage that expectation? Simple - by making it clear that your job is important to you, and so is your family. Let your employer know that there will be times you will need time off with your family. Any reasonable employer will understand your choices and respect you for them.
You also need to create realistic expectations for your family. Talk about your work, take the kids to the office, and get home early at least once or twice a week. Remember, it's not about the amount of time you spend with the kids, but the quality of your interaction with them.
3. Prioritize and Schedule
As you grow in your career and motherhood, your priorities as a mom change, depending on the ages of the kids. Prioritize your activities based on the needs of your children, without slacking off at work. Make a schedule of important family events and arrange your work calendar around them. If you miss any special moments, make them up to your family as soon as you can.
4. Build an excellent support system
Your spouse has to support your career goals. After all, he's the one who will be left with the babies when you travel for work. Get a good nanny who can handle the kids when you are at work. If you can, have a relative or close friend who can watch the kids when you are in between nannies.
You can also train your junior employees to handle things when you have to take a few hours off to be with your family. Hanging out with your peers (fellow career moms) occasionally to trade ideas, or getting a mentor to guide reduces the desire to blow up and give up immensely.
Shonda Rhimes, a renowned American TV producer, and mother of three puts this point forward aptly in the following video.
If you are to excel in the workplace as a mom, remember that there is no way you can do everything perfectly. Motherhood and career can never balance off perfectly.
Moms, avoid guilt trips. Do your best for your children when you can, and to the best of your ability. They will not be children forever.