Career vs. Motherhood – When Work & Life Conflict

Happy Monday Y’all! Hope you all had an awesome weekend! My Saturday was spent taking the munchkin to her dance class, running errands and getting my house Spring ready. The remainder of the weekend I spent shivering from ridiculously COLD temperatures. I really don’t think I can take any more of this bipolar weather we are having in New York City.

These days my life looks like I am giving the energizer bunny some real competition. Though I wouldn’t trade mom life for the world, it does get super crazy sometimes. It’s an unpredictable life and that unpredictability may have some very costly repercussions.

Thursday my daughter woke up with a fever and I ended up having to stay home in order to keep her home from school. Though I have a very cool boss and unlimited vacation day policy at work, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was jeopardizing something by choosing to stay home and be a mommy. It didn’t help that I had a scheduled day off the next day. I called her doctor and we were able to lock in a same-day appointment. Premier Pediatrics NYC Rocks!

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At The Doctor’s Offie with a fever of 101 degrees 😦

As I sat in the doctor’s office with my munchkin curled up in my arms with a 101 degree fever, a million thoughts started to run through my brain.

Would this have an effect on any future opportunities at work?

Would my teammates see me as a slacker for having to stay home?

Am I a burden to my team because I have mommy duties? (It doesn’t help when you are the only mom on the team and no one wants to hear about your cute little mommy stories. Boy, do  I feel like the oldie on the team!)

Being a working mom has its perks, but it also has its challenges. Regardless of how hard you try, you can never predict when motherhood will call and you’ll have to place your work life on hold.

My mentality is motherhood trumps career every time.

If I have to choose between nursing my sick child and putting in an 8-hour work day, nurse Sha will win 365 days a year. Unfortunately, this also means that my career plans may not always go the way I hoped for. It means that awesome opportunity that I’ve been dreaming off may need to take several back seats because I would not be able to meet the time demands it entails.

Sadly, even in 2017, mothers still have to choose between having a successful career or being a mom. Though many companies list work/life balance as a perk of working with them, the reality is at the end of the day – business must go on and it might just have to be without you. While work-life balance to some means, freedom to travel, take some mental health days, etc. To a mom, it means being given the flexibility to balance the demands of motherhood and work. Unfortunately, balancing the two doesn’t always work out as seamlessly as we hope for.

Some companies recognize that many of their employees are trying to master this juggling act and have taken action. One of which is Patagonia. They have taken an amazing step towards coming up with a solution by providing on-site child care. Why is this such an awesome Idea? It means that when your babysitter flakes or that awesome charter school decides to have a half-day because the sky is blue, you can take your little one to work with you. You get to work while your angel is right down the hall engaged in educational and recreational activities. Talk about peace of mind!

We need more companies that recognize that childcare is a much-needed perk. I tell you this much, any company that makes an extra effort to accommodate my child has secured a long-term employee. I’ve never been a job hopper. If I feel accommodated and appreciated, I’ll be around for a very long time. Just ask my last employer, I was there for 9 years.

Millions of moms and dads have to deal with the career vs. parenthood dance each and every day. What can companies do to help?

  1. Acknowledge that your employee is a parent and make it clear that you understand {sometimes that acknowledgment goes a long way}
  2. Dependent Care FSA is an absolute must! {allowing parents to put money aside for childcare can be a life-saver}
  3. If you can afford it, offer on-site childcare! {you’ll be amazed at how this impacts your employee retention rate. On-site child care options can help diminish the number of last-minute emergencies. Unfortunately, not all of us have family members or friends readily available to watch our kids}
  4. Switch to an unlimited vacation day policy {it will help parents feel a lot more comfortable knowing that they have the time available if they need it}.
  5. Offer Work From Home Opportunities! {If the option is available, some parents will choose to work from home and get the job done instead of taking the whole day off. It’s a win-win for both parties.}

This is just a short-list of things that can be done to help parents feel understood and supported by their employers. Granted, there may be some parents that may choose to abuse the support. This is where policies are set into place to ensure that things don’t get out of hand. What do I mean?

  1. If you are out for 2 days or more, that good ole doctor’s note will be required when you get back.
  2. You can’t have a family emergency every Friday {use your common sense here managers}
  3. Work From Home means WORK FROM HOME! That means you need to be available when a manager or team member tries to reach out. 4 hours of radio silence is NOT work from home.

In the end, companies must decide what is best for their business and their employees. Though I can make recommendations as a mom and aspiring entrepreneur, I can’t decide on what is best for EVERY company in the world. However, one thing that we can be agreed upon is that there is room for improvement.

Work/Life balance is an ongoing challenge faced by millions of parents across the country. When will we get it together? Who knows! All we can do is acknowledge that more can be done and commit to making it better. As for us career moms who are trying to make it work, don’t get discouraged – you have a whole slew of other moms doing it right along with you.

Cheers to another work week! {i’ve got one more day of rest, let’s hope I actually use it to rest up before heading back to the office}

xoxo, Sha!

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