In my last post, Can working moms really have it all, I said I would write some posts about how working moms can plan and create their ideal work/life balance. However, I think there’s one question that many moms need to ask themselves first: do I really deserve to be happy? Of course, the answer is YES. It seems so obvious, yet after having children, we become accustomed to putting their needs first. Sometimes, we feel that we can’t put their needs first because we must earn an income to support them. Either way, our own happiness can get put on the back burner.
When I was contemplating leaving my teaching position last year, thinking about my own happiness made me feel guilty. I was surrounded by other teachers who were experiencing the same situation I was, and still managed to stay positive and enthusiastic. What was my problem? I wondered. Why couldn’t I just put on a happy face and plug through, for the sake of my steady income, for the sake of my students? Thinking about leaving to make myself happier only made me feel selfish.
Finally I came to realize that not only did I deserve to be happy, but that my happiness would benefit my whole family. As the saying goes,
In my constant state of stress and unhappiness, I had less patience for my children. My discontent was affecting everyone in the family. Though I still miss my students, I know every day that I made the right decision, not only because I’m happier, but my whole family is happier.
So what if you are unhappy in your current work situation? Is it always necessary to quit your job and work from home? Absolutely not. Career coaches often suggest that clients look at the LEAST amount of change that would make them happy. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Would I be satisfied with a promotion, or even a lateral move to a new position?
Do I just need a new supervisor, or is it time to leave my job?
If it’s time to leave, do I need a new company, or a whole new career?
What is our family’s financial ability to handle risk?
Do I really want to work for myself?
Feeling unhappy in your current situation drains your energy and makes it difficult to take care of your own needs, as well as those of your family. On top of that, uncertainty about the future can be overwhelming. Taking some quiet time to answer these questions is a great place to start the process of achieving your ideal work/family balance.