In today’s blog, I would like to bring up a topic that is near and dear to my heart: balancing motherhood and successful career. Recently, I was taken aback by a comment made by a young woman in our discussion and I feel somewhat compelled to share my thoughts.
During our discussion, it was clear that this young lady wanted to start a family soon, but believed that, if she makes the decision to do so, her career will come to a halt. This not only surprised me, it shook me to my core and made me realize that this is a reality for many working men and women.
As I reflected on the choice I made twenty years ago, the choice to have my first child, I realized that that it never occurred to me that I would have to choose between my personal career goals and my desire to have a family. At that time, I was very young, but both goals were both equally important to me. Perhaps, my mindset was influenced by the fact that I was raised by a single mother who juggled both very well or simply because I never set limits on myself in terms of what I felt I could accomplish, but this (the pressure to choose) was never an issue for me. Like everything in life, I knew that I would do my very best and find a way to make it work.
Today, I’m a mother of three, and while it’s not always easy, it’s beyond rewarding. I am very grateful to be able to juggle both. Although, at times I’m reminded that the “rule book” (if it existed) on motherhood and life is in a perpetual state of change. The choices that we make today may very well be the opposite choices that we will choose to make tomorrow. It’s all about where you are in life and what matters most to you at any given point in time.
I personally find that today’s competitive working environment can be very damaging for some women and that it sometimes sends the wrong message. It is an unfortunate reality that some women are lead to believe that having children will be an obstacle to overcome as they attempt to reach their ultimate goals and succeed in their “dream job”.
Ladies, if you are struggling with making this choice or with trying to figure out when the time is right, please just do what your heart tells you to do. The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep work life and family separate and never feel the need to apologize for your choices. Know that whatever you choose needs to feel right for you and own it.
I would also like to address the mothers and fathers who are currently in the workplace who have a tendency categorize women or men who do not have children. Perhaps they have decided that having children is not right for them or perhaps they are struggling with something you do not know about and falling victim to assumptions about their choices. It’s time to stop judging and start respecting one another (and one another’s right to privacy and a personal life). One thing I know for sure is that having children or remaining childless is a very personal decision that will not guarantee success either way. Success in the workplace and in life will be defined by your efforts and determination, not by the number of strollers you own. Feel free to make the choices that are right for you and never ask for permission to do so.
Readers: Do you feel pressured to make this decision? Share your thoughts below.
With a Happy Heart,
Kathy Romero is the CEO and Head of Global Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.