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The Working Mom Myth

by Amanda on June 24, 2008
category: Inspiration

This a guest post from my friend Myra who is the genius designer behind Moon and Back Studios. You can also find her blogging at WeMakeThree.com.

511610_working.jpg Some women work outside the home to keep their sanity. For others, it’s not a choice. Working outside the home is a financial necessity.

Whatever the reason you may be working, there is one thing I have learned: You can’t have it all. That’s right. It’s a myth. A well intentioned one perhaps, but it’s simply not possible to have it all. And I believe many women are nearly killing themselves trying.

In order for me to give my best to the two people I care about most, and balance that with having a demanding job as an executive, I’ve had to make concessions. Here are some things that I am learning to do:

1. Learn to say no. That’s right. You can do it. It was hard for me at first, but it’s a muscle I’ve learned to exercise. Sometimes it makes people unhappy. But my family is better for it.

2. Be happy where you are. Sometimes success and acquiring stuff can be a mirage. There’s always more to get. I’ve tried to learn to appreciate what I do have instead of comparing myself to others. Being thankful really takes the pressure off.

3. Separate your time. I have drawn a clear line between my work and family time. When I leave work, I call my husband for our ritual debriefing during my drive home. Then I try not to talk about it anymore.

4. Do one thing for yourself each day. When I get home, I usually take a half hour to run or walk so I can detox myself from the day. Then I’m ready to focus on family. I’m better for it.

5. Avoid the trappings of “mommy guilt”. Just do your best and focus on your kids when you’re with them. That’s what they’re going to remember.

Do you have tips for balancing career and family?

7 Responses to The Working Mom Myth

  • Comment by Sharon M
    June 25, 2008 @ 2:37 am

    I think #2 is the most important tip; we, as Americans, have a very skewed perspective about what is “necessary” and what is “optional” in our lives. Do our kids need the new Wii or Ninendo DS? Do we need that new vehicle because our other one is five years old and maybe not in the best condition ever? Sometimes we can cut back on work, cut back on acquiring stuff, and just have a better (and consequently more free) life.

    It’s a matter of learning to live within your means. My parents always used the phrase, “don’t drink champagne on a beer budget,” and we (my spouse and I) have tried to be faithful to that message (you’ll only see beer in our house ;-) ).

  • Comment by Amanda
    June 25, 2008 @ 8:23 am

    I agree, Sharon, number 2 is very important for anyone. There is always something else to acquire! (For me it is furniture. We are paying off our last debt, before we buy a new couch, fix up our bedroom, etc. and I have had to find contentment in the ways things are right now.)

    I especially like number 1. I have been asked to do things for church, but if it doesn’t fit in then I have the freedom to say No.

    I think these apply to ALL moms, not just to working moms. Thanks, Myra, for writing such a great post!!

  • Comment by McKenna
    June 25, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    I agree that these suggestions are great for all moms! Thank, Myra for your post!! :D

  • Gravatar
    Comment by brittany
    June 25, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

    I am passing this on to all my working mom friends, great post!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by simone
    June 25, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    oh…i forgot to mention that the show baby borrowers premieres tonight june 25th at 9pm on nbc for those of you who want to watch it…it’s a great show for moms like us…i highly recommend it…to learn about parenting…:)

  • Gravatar June 26, 2008 @ 7:05 am

    Great post Myra. Having been both a SAHM, a working mom and now a single working mom, I have struggled with all of the above, particularly #5. Despite working on a “reduced schedule” sometimes the kids (15 YO twins) still push my buttons about working. They love to say randomly, “You work ALL THE TIME.” Oh yeah, when’s the last time I missed a rugby game? A soccer game? A school concert? Who rocks you on guitar hero? How many movies have we watched together? Which parent takes you shopping for your “wants and needs?” Who dances with you to 80′s music in the hallway? Sings duets at the piano? Sometimes I think kids just like to be heard. And sometimes you have to be heard back.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by San Diego Momma
    June 26, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

    Really great post, Myra. I think it needed to be said…because I read so much of the “You CAN have it all!” articles that it adds to my guilt. So, it’s nice to read something more realistic.

    Saying “no” has always been the hardest thing for me, but as I grow older, I see how it’s absolutely necessary to set my boundaries or I will be no good to anybody. It’s a crucial message for any woman.

    Wonderful guet posting, by the way! I enjoyed reading it.

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