Sarah Jessica Parker was recently in a movie, “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, based on a busy working mom who feels guilty for having a career outside of the home. This guilt drives her to prove to the “stay-at-home moms” in the movie that she can be just as involved as they are with volunteering, bake sales, school events, etc. This leads to the creation of the Battle of the Moms aka the stay at home team vs. the working mom team. While this was a Hollywood production, there may be some element of reality.
Why do we put that pressure on ourselves?
A recent poll shows that the nation still questions the ability of working mothers to raise children. According to thePew Research Center, 51% of Americans agree that children are better off if their mother doesn’t work outside of the home. With stats like this, regardless of the reason (economic or career), it is apparent that in addition to raising their children, more mothers have full-time jobs today than ever before.
Statistics like this cause the continuous “battle of the moms” and they motivate me to prove them wrong! Being a “stay at home mom” is just as hard, if not harder, than having a career outside of the home. Presumably, most mothers (I fall in this category) who have a job or career outside of the home do so to financially support their family. Regardless of where you work, one thing is true – all mothers want the best for their kids, love their kids, and will do anything to make their kids happy. In addition to being smart, caring, fun-loving, and flexible, the job description for both a “career mom” and “stay at home mom” would also include these core competencies:
1.Time Management - the ability to manage ones time individually for success. Dale Carnegie says organize your life into 365 day-tight compartments. For me, making the most of each and every day is vital to the successes of tomorrow. Each of my day-tight compartments has foundational elements, and if I am able to do them consistently, it helps me to be more successful in the key areas of my life. The first hour of my morning consists of my coffee, updating my to-do lists, planning and scheduling, removing clutter, checking emails, social networking, blogging, preparing lunches and staying in tune with the school schedule. By living in day-tight compartments, I limit the time to procrastinate and I get more out of each day. And by creating and sticking to a planned schedule, I am able to have more successful days.
2.Training – the ability to clearly illustrate and teach others a new concept. It is my responsibility to teach morals and values to my child, and it is also important to teach other life lessons such as how to walk, tie shoes, read, write, or even to ride a bike. I can’t let my career interfere with my foundational responsibilities.
3.Organized - the ability to function in a formal and planned structure. I am always juggling multiple calendars – Outlook, Cozi calendar app, sports calendars, school calendars, and the wall calendar at home; ensuring homework and daily reading is completed around various extra-curricular activities; plan play dates and birthday parties; volunteer at the school or as team mom; fill out 1000 forms for fundraisers, field trips, PTA; and adjust on demand.
4.Individual Development– the recognition of continuous improvement and focus on improvement. Sleep is necessary – period! It’s not only beneficial to your health, but also to our sanity! I require 8 hours of sleep. There is no question that I function better when I am rested. I’m happier, my son is happier, and my mind is clear to be creative in my career and as a mom. I have fun with my own friends or enjoy alone time with a good book or movie just to regroup and refocus.
Don’t let the guilt of working prevent you from being great “at work” AND “at home” with your kids. Instead, involve your kids and create teachable moments with them so they understand why you do what you do, and they understand the challenges, joys and value of working. The next time you are asked what you do…be proud to say you are a MOM! Whether your job is at or outside of the home, enjoy it and be proud of your accomplishments – especially those that manifest themselves in your little ones!
Faith. Family. Work…I will do the possible; God will take care of the impossible!