The struggle of ambition and motherhood
Can you work and be a great mom, yes. Is it easy to try to “balance” these two things, no. I want to run a successful business, be a good wife, mom, friend etc. I want to do all the things, and I want to do them well, and in some cases exceptionally. Can you relate?
I find this particularly hard as an ambitious woman, as I shared in one of my blog posts, My struggle to embrace being an ambitious women, containing my ambition is something I struggle with, it is a very strong and natural instinct for me. And at times this can lead to workaholism, which if you are a person who also values time with their family, can be a problem. I only realized recently that I even viewed going to the bathroom, sleeping, and eating as a waste of time.
Early in my career, when I had my first daughter, a boss shared with me that you will always feel 80% present at work and 20% at home or vice versa. And that’s okay, it is what it is. This approach has really helped me accept that a perfect focus isnt needed or requried to do my job or parenting well.
As someone who loves to lean in and say yes to professional challenges and opportunities, I think saying yes is something women struggle to do and need to do more of. There are times however you need to say no, and that is something I struggle with.
In episode 101, Lessons in leadership with VP Pari Joshnston, Pari shares how she grew her career "..when opportunities were presented I leaned in and I said yes..." She goes on to clarify that she learned that "there needs to be a balance in that yes and that's something I learned. I ended up taking a 9 month family leave to support my son's mental health crisis, but you know what was fascinating...it turned out that leave was as important for me and my own mental and physical health as it was for my son, but I didn't see it until I stepped away."
I asked Pari, how do we step back from our careers, knowing we are ready and capable to keep growing and leaning into our careers? She shared that the work you have put into your career and your network will be there when you are ready to take that next step. This was true for her own career path and growth.
Learning to say yes and no in your career are both important, and there are times in your career you will need to do each of these things.
It is okay to want to be a good mother and grow and excel in your career, and you can do both. As ambitious women, sometimes we may need to be reminded of Dolly Parton’s advice, “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
Listen to Pari’s episode here, to hear more about her story and get her advice. And please share in the comments, how do you manage saying yes and no in your career?