With issues like wage inequality, and Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement for a presidential run, there are both amazing opportunities, and frustrating realities for women in today’s workforce.
In my experience, the biggest challenge has been balancing the demands of family and career. It’s the age old question, which comes first, the career or the baby? Women who choose to build up their career first, fear the ticking clock. Women who choose to have children first, fear losing their edge in the business world. The lack of maternity leave and childcare options in the United States often makes it more difficult to return to the workforce, or to opt in to motherhood in the first place. This is an issue that I hope will be at the forefront in the next election, but these changes take time.
I did the mom thing first. I had a couple jobs before my first son was born, but it wasn’t something I saw as a career, which probably made it easier for me to leave. I was a full-time stay at home mom for the first few years, and slowly (and I mean SLOWLY), started dipping my toe in the waters of freelance for part time work. Now, I’m about to embark on creating my own business (gasp! I still have to remind myself I’m not dreaming when I type that sentence!), something I love and that still allows me to pick up the kids from school every day. It can be done!
Some women choose not to have children at all. Some moms are happy to stay at home and never enter or return to the work force. All those things are great. For right now though, I want to address those women who feel the call of motherhood, but also have a tugging in their heart to pursue a career, a passion, or a dream beyond their family and children. This post is to share a little perspective from my own experience, and to give a pep talk to those moms who feel hopeless about returning to work, or women worried about motherhood derailing their career.
Here’s why I think moms make great bosses (#mommyboss), and why you should never disparage the skills and experience you’ll gain while doing the job (yes, it’s a job!) of mom:
Moms know how to multitask: Not only do you know how to organize your own schedule, you have to manage the schedule of the kids, which depending on how many you have and how many activities they are involved in, is no small task! You can reply to an email while breastfeeding. You sweep the floor while singing someone to sleep. It’s all in a days work.
Moms are fast learners: There’s nothing like that three month boot camp when you bring home your first baby to teach you how to swim after being thrown in the deep end. You know how to figure things out as you go. No learning curve is too steep after successfully completing potty training! Let’s face it, none of us are ever really ready, but we adapt and learn how to survive through all of the ups and downs.
Moms know how to delegate: You learn pretty quickly as a mom, that you can’t do it all by yourself and still keep your sanity. You know that you need to get help from your partner, relatives, or childcare team. You learn to outsource the parts of your life that don’t work (I treat myself to laundry service when I’m in a bind, and often order out on days when I’m too busy or tired to cook), and focus on the places where you really shine. Basically, as mom you are managing a team of people and services whose purpose is to support happy and healthy kids. Think about that the next time you feel guilty about going through the drive-through!
Moms are no pushover: When it comes to your children, there is a Mama bear inside you that will bare her teeth at the first sign of trouble. You’ll find a fierceness you never knew you had, something that gives you the courage to stand up for yourself and those you love.
Moms put everything in perspective: Give me a difficult client over a screaming toddler any day! We know how to deal with unreasonable people. We also know, that the problems we face don’t measure up to the joy we have in our lives. As long as the kids are happy and safe, nothing we face is as bad as it seems.
“Having it all” can mean different things, everyone has to define it for themselves. Wherever you are in your life’s journey, whether you’re a mom or not, know that no experience is wasted if we turn it into an opportunity for growth and learning. Good luck mommies and future mommies, you’re already on your way!
This post originally appeared onmogul.com