Why You Can Have a Successful Career and Be a Good Mum Too
Sweet throw-back pic!
We’re often scared to follow our professional dreams as mothers aren’t we?
You, I, no doubt many women reading this blog post (those not yet mothers too) feel career goals must go on the back-burner if we want to procreate, despite many of us desiring both: kids and a career we love, and need.
Frustratingly, as women we’re often made to feel by the media, society etc that we can’t lead, achieve and reach the top of our profession while raising a family. That being a mother is somehow at odds with being a professional success.
We’re told over and over again that we simply can’t have it all or enough of each sphere of work and home life be happy-that frankly we can’t be ambitious, career-loving mothers achieving in both areas of our lives without someone, somehow missing out, that someone being our kids, or us.
We’re made to feel we’ll be plagued with feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and relentless fear for our jobs and family life (unable to achieving any kind of balance or happy medium) if we want to follow our work goals as much as our personal ones. That we must compromise our dreams and who we are because we’ve chosen to have children.
Men’s love for their kids is never questioned if/as they pursue and strive for success in the workforce.
Women’s pursuits are daily.
We often feel the need to explain our choices, validate our professional desires, or worse, dumb them down, defensively explaining away our goals or trying not to appear too driven. Too ambitious. Too outspoken about our goals.
Well, a huge HELL NO to that.
Yes, there is vast inequality in the workforce meaning women rightly worry they will lose their positions, power and pay packets once pregnant or post-maternity leave because the support and flexibility for parents in so many industries simply isn’t there and it’s shockingly sexist and unfair but there are many success stories too.
Yet, from that real lack has come great possibility with many enterprising women rising against adversity, determined to follow their dreams-with more mothers than ever setting up their own businesses/ blogs, or opting to go freelance, redefining their work terms and time frames, leading the way for others.
There’s a long way to go but the shift is evident and it inspires me hugely.
They encouraged me to be more ambitious, fearless and ultimately, determined to succeed. For them, as much as for myself.
They indirectly helped me to utilise the little time I had, particularly on maternity leave, in the most productive of ways.
I became much more prolific as a writer and more committed and focused on my craft thanks to them, they in turn gave me content and it’s remarkable just how much can be done during nap times and in spite of an aching body and sleep-deprived mind.
Creativity, throughout time, has always been borne from limitations and restrictions be it time or money, and those early days of what felt like a vast direction-less mile of maternity-leave ahead, as with many other women, opened a new window of creative-growth for me as I built a blogging business literally by hand!
Having kids truly refined my multi-tasking skillset and undoubtedly overcoming hardship (which we all do to varying degrees, post-shock of the first baby in particular, and the realisation that somehow we’re all now adults-ish) (eventually) empowered me.
It’s that ‘I’ve got through THIS, now I can do ANYTHING syndrome.
Yet, it’s exactly at this poignant time, we crave stability, the reassurance work options still exist but alas this isn’t the case. Those limitations can seem all pervasive.
That quiet voice in our heads or detected in the context of others’ conversations and questions, that perhaps we can’t be a good mother if we want both can often stop us in our tracks.
It can set us back.
Particularly for those wanting a full time career with a family. I feel it, I hear it. We’re millennial mums but it’s there. It’s present, and it’s wrong.
My kids are loved, adored, nurtured and supported. Being freelance has enabled me to feel in control of my career, busier than ever, yes, but I have more time off than pre-kids and am available for my children physically and emotionally, as is my husband too.
My children are my life. That overwhelming, consuming love I have for them and they for me, makes me feel empowered, capable and happy.
I have a greater purpose to succeed too, now I’m a mother. I’m a role model to my kids, I contribute financially in my household, and equally, and have independence, feel a strong sense of self and most of all, am content. I do not for one second, feel Stay At Home Parents are not equal to me, that it is the greatest job of all and they have my utmost respect.
…Every day I’m hustling (!), juggling many balls (some I drop, many I don’t), I’m there for my sons and my husband too, and I’m there for myself, working in a career that challenges and excites me, from school runs to runways (LFW was amazing darlings), yet I’m present and doing my best.
I’m able to do that thanks to the equality in our household and the shared responsibility and load.
Working makes me happy. Being with my kids makes me happy. I want both.
Happy parents equal happy kids so stop the futile guilt.
Let’s ALL unite and celebrate one another’s success, let’s support each other’s goals and dreams, big or small, while accepting everyone is different in their paths and wants (choosing or needing to work or not).
Importantly let’s stop questioning, ‘How does she do it?’ as if working and raising kids is some impossible feat. Lets naturalise being a working mum.
You can still have a successful career and be a good mum too.