A Working Mom Success Story


Last week, I wrote about Why you deserve to be happy and questions to ask yourself if you’re notSo what happens if you decide you’re NOT happy in your current work situation and you want to change it?  The very thought can be overwhelming to a lot of moms:  we have children to support, and some of us are single parents.  We also have to consider what will work for our families; if this job doesn’t allow me to have a good work/family balance, what will?  What does that look like for me?  Since I have already shared my journey to “having it all”, I wanted to share a success story with you from Kelly, who had a tough decision to make last summer.

Stacy has an 18 month old daughter, and was shocked by how much becoming a mom changed her life.  Before becoming a mom, Stacy had always been very successful in her career – when she found out she was pregnant, she was just about to begin working on her dissertation for her PhD.  Needless to say, becoming a mom put those plans on hold.  Stacy found herself torn between wanting to continue moving forward in her career and missing her daughter terribly during the day.  She said she was afraid that she would miss her daughter’s childhood.  Stacy was working outside the home, and didn’t feel like she was fulfilling her potential professionally.  Worse, she was bringing a lot of work home, and was so tired at the end of the day that she often fell asleep reading bedtime stories to her daughter.  She had no time with her husband, or for herself.  She wasn’t exercising or making time for relaxation and re-charging.

Stacy came to me needing to make a quick decision about whether to return to her current job for another year.  Though she didn’t want to go back, she wasn’t exactly sure what she would do instead, or how she and her husband would pay the bills in the meantime.  She also wasn’t sure about how or when to finish her dissertation.  Together, we looked at her goals for all areas of her life, prioritized and created a workable action plan.

In the end, she made peace with returning to her current job for one more year, but was able to create a plan for transitioning to working part-time, which would allow her time to spend with her daughter AND finish her dissertation.  Also, she’s making time to walk outside every day, has gone for a couple of hikes with her husband, and has successfully transitioned to having her daughter sleep in her own room – no more falling asleep during story time!  I am amazed by the progress Stacy made so quickly and wanted to share her story to inspire more moms to find that balance.  Please join me in congratulating her accomplishments – way to go, Stacy!

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Can working moms really have it all?


In talking with my clients and friends, it seems there’s one wish most of us have in common:  to “have it all”.  We  want quality time with our kids, to be a real, caring, patient mother.  We also want a career – not just a job, not just to help with the family finances, but something fulfilling – a purpose.  If not our mothers, certainly our grandmothers were expected to feel that being a mother was purpose enough.  And it is.  But even my grandmothers worked outside the home when their children were older.  Womanhood, and motherhood, is fraught with changing seasons.  Sometimes we can work this to our advantage.  Because I didn’t have kids until my 30’s, I had already been Mary Tyler Moore or Ally McBeal, the independent career woman.  I chose to stay home with my kids, feeling that I’d waited a long time for this experience, and I wanted to enjoy it fully.

That decision was immensely rewarding and unexpectedly difficult.  I missed interacting with other adults.  I felt guilty that I wasn’t contributing financially.  However, I knew it was a season, and that I would go back to work as soon as my kids were in school.  I was a teacher, so I assumed this would be somewhat easier than it is for many working moms; after all, I would basically working the same hours and days that they were in school.  This worked well when I was an Instructional Coach because I didn’t have any “take home” work.  However, when we moved for my husband’s career, I landed back in the classroom, which was much harder.  I felt like I had to make an almost nightly choice between helping my kids with their homework or doing mine – lesson planning and grading.  In the end, I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job anywhere:  I was emotionally drained, all my patience used up at school and none left for the two kids dearest to me – my own.  And I felt like I was always behind at work – that I could always be working harder, doing more.  It wasn’t working.  Something needed to change.
This is the dilemma of so many working moms:  how to have a fulfilling, rewarding career, and be a fantastic (not just ok) mom to their kids.  But there are inevitable trade-offs.  Rewarding careers often require a lot of commitment.  Is it possible to “have it all”?  Maybe not in the purest sense.  There are only 24 hours in the day, and we must make choices about how we spend them.  That being said, when we stop to really examine our priorities and we’re willing to sacrifice a few things that don’t measure up, we can come very, very close.  Employers are becoming more and more open to alternative working arrangements; a couple of my close friends negotiated a job-share when their kids were little so that they could each work half-time and spend the other half at home.  More and more companies are open to telecommuting or offering more quality childcare options.  Also, many women are figuring out how to work from home.  While writing this post, I ran across an infographic stating that “96% of professional women believe having it all is attainable”.  With that kind of optimism, surely many women have figured this one out.

In the next few weeks, I’ll post some questions to ask yourself when planning your ideal work/family balance, and ideas for making it a reality.