Being a mom and a successful professional is possible, but it doesn´t happen overnight and requires an extra effort of self-knowledge and humility, because although we try hard, the day has 24 hours and we must choose very well, not just what to do with our time, but how to feel about the choices we make. At this post we share the first half of the gnd @WomensTalk, where 50 successful women told us their secret to “Being a mom and a professional without dying in coffee and guilt”.
Accept your reality and adapt yourself
When asked how their professional life or work approach had changed after maternity, we found answers like: “I gave a 180-degree turn”; “I had to cut work hours”; “It changed radically. My family and home became a priority “; “It changed to 200%; I went from living in the office to doing home office “; “At the beginning it was difficult, I had to adapt my work routine, I thought about quitting my job, but now I am more coupled, I enjoy my work, although I get tired faster.”
Nobody prepares us for all the changes we face throughout motherhood; but the important thing is to learn one step at a time to adapt and to accept the reality in which we are now immersed. Many women plan their motherhood in relation to their professional aspirations; but many others don´t know how to do it and come into conflict when ‘maternity leave’ ends and have to go back to work. The secret lies in making conscious decisions and accepting the consequences of them. It is important to remember that there is no choice without cost. If you decide to be a mom and continue with your professional life, you’ll face a great challenge but not an impossible one. If you decide to temporarily leave your working life and dedicate yourself exclusively to your family, know that getting used to your new role may be very difficult too, as well as giving up certain benefits such as earning your own money, being independent or being recognized in the professional world.
Communicate and make agreements with your partner
When asked what kind of support they received from their partners, the answers were varied. The two main subjects: Teamwork and social stereotypes.
Regarding teamwork, I received very inspiring answers: “He supports with home issues. He´s always present as a father and husband. Professionally he supports my dreams and decisions “; “He supports me in all my decisions and feels very proud of me”; “Fully!, we are a work and family team.”
However, I also found answers permeated with stereotype, where women are the ones who should take care of the children, simply by the fact of being a woman. “He has supported me, but sometimes I feel that he does not size up mom’s work outside and inside the house”; “He supports me whenever he can and does it with pleasure … but taking the economic baton for him is priority, so he only supports as long as it doesn’t interfere with his work. I am the one who must sacrifice, ask for permissions, cancel work events, etc. having no one to take care of my son. “
The key is to communicate family values and priorities, to come to an agreement. If together they decide that one of them will completely dedicate to work and the other one to the house and children; there would be no reason to enter conflict. Or, if they decide that both will work outside home and leave the home functions to other people, they will also have to accept it and not demand the other what was not agreed upon. It’s important to be aware and prepared to face unexpected situations such as when a child becomes ill or both parents must go on a trip at the same time, to contemplate possible solutions or alternative plans that do not affect the agreements generated. Having an agreement in between, claims do not fit.
These are two of the biggest issues that concern moms who have decided by pleasure or necessity to continue with their professional life, while discovering and managing the angles to be a mom.
What’s your experience with these issues? Do you have a tip to share with other moms? We will share with you the latest findings of the study on the next chapter, as well as some of the strategies that these 50 moms have found to bid goodbye their doubts and anxiety.