The Professional Parent
Modern moms juggle the demands of parenthood and a full-time career.
The demands of motherhood and of a full-time career are weighty and rewarding, and more and more women are managing to juggle these dual roles with success. According to the Center for American Progress, “Women now make up half of all workers in the United States, with nearly 4 in 10 homes having a mom that is also a working mother.” Striking this balancing act can be a wise financial move, but it can also be challenging – especially when you consider that women who stay at home or work part time to raise children (or to care for an aging parent or spouse) may experience a negative effect on their income and their ability to save for retirement.
A Greater Effect
Though maintaining a balance between motherhood and a career can cause guilt, studies show it’s time to let that misplaced feeling go. A Harvard study found that daughters of working mothers grew up to earn more money and climb higher on the corporate ladder than the daughters of stay-at-home moms. Plus, the sons of working mothers pitch in more at home, clocking almost twice as many hours on family and childcare. And social acceptance of working moms continues to grow, with millennials embracing the trend. Forbes found that 70% of 12th graders in the 2010s believed working mothers could develop equally warm relationships with their children, compared to 53% in the 1970s.
Striking a Balance
Of course, to sustain what is surely a hectic schedule, working moms must master the ebbs and flows of work/life balance. It’s about accepting that there will be good and bad days, focusing on the joys and not the stresses, and taking care of yourself so you have the ability to shine at work and care for others. With higher demands on your time as you build both a career and a family, working moms must maintain their boundaries purposefully, which sometimes includes saying no to requests – and meaning it.
Thankfully, working moms can tailor their career to fit their needs more easily than in the past. There are a few things savvy working mothers should look for in job listings: comprehensive insurance, flexible schedules, paid leave policies, and women leaders who are equipped to support their career growth.