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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Working Mom: Why you deserve to be happy and questions to ask yourself if you’re not


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,

If Mama Ain't Happy Ain't Nobody Happy
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.

Mothers Returning to Work – How to Ease the Transition


When I was a teacher, this time of year meant returning to work after having my summer off with the kids.  Though it was never as hard as the first time, each fall was a difficult transition for the whole family:  suddenly I was not there full-time to clean the house, prepare meals, do laundry, buy groceries, etc.  Though heading back to work after being home with kids is a challenging time, there are several things moms can do to ease the transition.

Plan and Practice Ahead of Time

The transition will be easier on everyone if there is time to adjust to the new routine.  If your children are not yet in school, research and commit to a childcare option that is comfortable for everyone.  Transitioning a breast-fed baby to a bottle will be less stressful if you give it some time – you don’t want to worry about whether or not your child is going hungry on your first day back to work.  Give yourself and your child plenty of time to take care of learning new skills like potty training.  It will go better if the pressure’s off.  In the days leading up to the Big Day, practice getting up and dressed by the time everyone needs head out the door.  Practicing ahead of time can instill confidence in kids and ease anxiety for mom.

Enlist Help

Starting back to work part-time is a great option for moms if it is available, but often it is not.  If you’ll be working as many hours as your spouse, make sure he knows that you will need an equal partner in household chores.     Most husbands are more likely to respond positively if presented with a request for help instead of  a demand.  Make a list of what needs to get done and divide it up based on personal preferences.  Maybe your husband is a master with the vacuum, but isn’t big on cleaning bathrooms.  Older kids can pitch in, too.  Even if they are ambivalent about mom going back to work, you can sweeten the deal with an allowance or reward for completing chores.

Go Easy On Yourself

This is the most important part!  It seems that guilt and motherhood just go together; stay-at-home moms often feel guilty that they are not contributing to the family’s income, and working moms feel guilty about kids having to go to daycare, or just spending less time with them.  Remember that quality, not quantity, counts when it comes to time with your kids.  It’s better for kids to get a few hours per day with a happy, fulfilled mom than a whole day with a resentful one that doesn’t really enjoy staying home.   Also, give yourself permission not to have a perfectly clean house or home-baked cookies for your kids’ snack.  Trying to do it all is the fast lane to burnout.  Finally, remember to make time for yourself – for exercise, relaxation or girls’ night out.  By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your kids’ mom, and that benefits the whole family.
Need help balancing work and family?  Visit newfrontierslifecoaching.com