Balancing Two Roles: Career Woman and Mother

There is a secret out there—a painful, well-kept secret, according to a Harvard Business Review article that I have recently read.

In fact, at midlife, between a third and a half of all successful career women in the United States do not have children. In fact, 33% of such women (business executives, doctors, lawyers, academics, and the like) in the 41-to-55 age bracket are childless—and that figure rises to 42% in corporate America. These women have not chosen to remain childless. The vast majority, in fact, yearn for children. Indeed, some have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring a baby into their lives. They subject themselves to complex medical procedures, shell out tens of thousands of dollars, and derail their careers—mostly to no avail, because these efforts come too late. In the words of one senior manager, the typical high-achieving woman childless at midlife has not made a choice but a “creeping nonchoice.”

These facts got me reminded of how many times I’ve been asked the same question repeatedly – “How did you do it?”.

Saying this, today I want to share my story, hoping that it will help and motivate at least couple of mothers out there who are feeling the tremendous pressure to be successful at their jobs and motherhood.

I am a mother of a 3-year-old boy and CFO & Coach at Catalyst Care Group. And I want to admit one thing – the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” came about for a reason! Many parents who are working struggle to find a balance between their job and their personal lives. And this can be extra challenging for a mother who wants to have a job, but it’s not impossible by any means.

As I think about it again, I realise how often a woman must make the hard decision between her career and staying at home with the children. 

My conversation today is designed to provide the woman —with high ambitions for herself and her family, with the tools she needs to maintain a work-life balance.

Find your purpose

But first thing first – you and only you should decide what works best for your life. You do not have to give up your life as a mother to have a career or vice versa. Those roles can both simultaneously intersect and be held separate, and you can learn to navigate them by finding balance. One of the first things to think about is what you want to do with your life so that you can establish your priorities as an individual outside of your family life.

If you haven’t decided whether or not you want to get married or have children yet, that’s totally fine. If it’s a priority for you to have children, then honor that decision.

Focus on the moment

When you’re juggling multiple balls in the air, it’s understandable that your mind and emotions would drift to something other than what’s at hand.

Remind yourself that what’s in front of you is what deserves your fullest attention and resist any inclinations to let your thoughts wander off. What’s the point of balancing it all if you aren’t ever thoroughly engaged or enjoying any of it?

When it comes to your children, focus on connecting and making memories.

Less guilt!

Perfection, I repeat, doesn’t exist. Mistakes are great ways to learn.

Ask for help

As much as we want to provide our families with all they need, it’s impossible to do it alone.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of when asking for help. This is crucial, especially when vying for a higher position at work or trying to achieve a milestone in your career.

Your help could come from family members or a professional. Either way, it’s okay to seek outside help when the burden becomes overpowering.

Final thought…

Choosing yourself and doing what you love most does not make you less of a good woman. Instead, it makes you a strong one.