This is a collaborative post
Having children is amazing. Not everyone chooses to do it, but if you do, I doubt you will ever regret it. That said, it is not easy. Not at all. I have daily occurrences of doubt, fear, imposter syndrome. Especially since I gave up my previous job as an Event Manager. There are days when I think I did a far better job of that than I do at parenting.
One big thing that gives a lot of issues to new mothers is the impossible dilemma of building a career and a family. It can often seem that both elements are mutually exclusive. Is it possible to be a mummy and a career woman? Common knowledge seems to imply that you need to choose from the very start, however, through the many interviews that I have done with working mums, I have discovered that doesn’t have to be the case.
Many mums are discovering the reality of the modern world. Where careers can happen and you can still be home in time for bedtime. And slowly – very slowly, companies are becoming more flexible with mums who want to work. Here are a few ways to help you be the successful career mum.
Keep your profile relevant
Maternity leave can last anything from a handful of months to a year if you’re employed. And if you decide to extend it, then even longer. For a professional, it’s a long period during which you are out of work, and potentially out of the business trends. You will be missing out on any changes and needless to say, the skills you’ve learned previously might not be relevant anymore by the time you’re ready to get back to work. Consequently, it’s a good idea to look for options to help your career while you’re on leave. You can take an online degree, for instance. If you’re unsure which degree to pick here’s a little article that compares two degrees: Associate of Arts and Associate of Science – what’s the difference? The advantage of online studies is that they let carry on your role as a mummy at the same time.
Deal with the mummy guilt
OK, for some this can be the super hard one (it was for me). Going back to work when you’ve got children can be really hard on mums. It’s easy to feel like a failure both at work – because you may not be up to speed with the latest knowledge and trends, and also in your family life because you’re having to leave your kids in childcare or with family. It’s essential though to rationalise the feeling because otherwise you will end up being overwhelmed by it all. The term ‘working mum’ is not a synonym for bad mother. It’s part of what you have to do to provide for your family, or indeed even for your mental health. There are many flexible options out there to help you to manage both your professional and family responsibilities.
Share the load
Working Mums have tended to have it harder than Dads over the years. The expectations from bosses and for the role you have both at home and at work, are far greater. That said, things are changing and there are far more options these days. If you want to give yourself a chance of building your career and your parenting skills, look no further than shared parental leave. Indeed, encouraging companies to support dads gives you the freedom to go back to work early without having to worry about your children going into childcare. Additionally, what an amazing bonding experience it would be for Dad, to spend those few months at home with the baby. Mummy doesn’t have to do it all these days!
So the question was, can you be a mum and a professional? It seems that it is becoming increasingly easier to do both. And if you put your efforts in the right place – towards boosting your career and embracing the responsibilities of parenting as a couple – you can also make sure that the dilemma of working mum will soon become a thing of the past.