working mom

Working Moms

Working Moms

Last week, we hosted our monthly After 6: Career Conversations event online. We were joined by three amazing women and mothers - Thaisa Jones, Digital Director at Pennsylvania Insurance, Delores Brown, Cofounder, Agbara Life, Inc, and Nicole Tirado, CEO of Tearado Tech.

Check out the video!

Back To Work

Back To Work

“Are you ready to get your life back and head to work?”  
“Aren’t you excited to get back to your routine?”  
“Won’t it be a relief to not worry about the baby all day?”


Life. Routine. Worry.


 As I stood there crying tears of joy holding the positive pregnancy test, everything changed. There was a shift in my universe. The GPS had to recalculate. The destination didn’t change, but we had to implement a detour. My life would never go back to what it once was, I wouldn’t want it to. The routine I had fallen into would change, it had to. And worry, well that is an innocent side effect of motherhood.
 

The Vicious Cycle of the Mommy Track

The following is an article from Teal In Motion, a lifestyle blog focused on personal style, parental musings and pop culture. Author Teal Conroy is a working mom-of-two who can't resist a good sale, an excuse to dance or a wrinkly bulldog face. You can follow her blog at www.tealinmotion.com

Lean in. Lean out. Lean on. Lean back. With so much directional leaning, I feel myself swaying out of control on my own axis. Working moms weeble and they wobble but they don't fall down.

Recently, I walked away from the opportunity to apply for a promotion. Never have I been one to pause at the middle of the ladder I am climbing. I pull my way enthusiastically up each rung. This time, this specific time in my life, things are different. I suddenly find myself on the dreaded Mommy Track and I'm not sure if I should blame society or blame myself.

If you aren't familiar with the term, "mommy track" was first coined back in 1989 by The New York Times following an article by Felice Schwartz in The Harvard Business Journal, discussing the phenomenon of women with families are being placed in lower paying jobs with little upward mobility. Fast-forward twenty-five years and the mommy track is very much still in full effect. Wage gaps are real; women make 77 cents to every dollar men earn. Corporate boards are comprised of only 17% women, where national statistics show that the tipping point for success is a board comprised of 33% women. While I know that preceding generations of women would champion their efforts as instrumental in how far we have come (as they should - just watch one episode of Mad Men to gawk at the marginalization of women in the workforce), we still have so far to go.

So here I am - a fourteen year career under my belt that I will happily brag has seen some illustrious growth. I'm extremely proud of my resume and my accomplishments and I'm confident in my abilities to rise and succeed in new challenges. Why am I holding back from taking another step forward?

I've got one big reason - time with my family. With each new tooth that pops in, with every new word that stutters forward from excited little mouths, and with each milestone that is passed earlier than I could ever expect, I find myself desperately trying to be a part of the action. To be present at every moment.

But, I can't. I have a commute that adds up to more hours than I see my kids each week. Events occur during the weeknights and weekends that leave me bitterly networking rather than reading bedtime stories. I'm glued to my iPhone, frantically checking emails well after working hours because the expectation to respond seems more pressing than the expectation to help my son finish his puzzle. The laundry, the dishes and the leaves in the backyard pile up and seem to mock me into cleaning them up when all I want to do is collapse after the kids go to sleep. Even with a terrific partner in my husband, who does more than his lion's share of work and chores, the checklist of what I need to do versus the checklist of what I would love to do seems staggeringly unbalanced.

Without the flexibility to work remotely or to change up my hours, something had to give. It was back on me to make a choice: do I lean in like everyone tells me to or do I lean back and put my career ambitions on pause?

If I lean in, then I may find myself crying in my car each morning when I leave the warm, open-mouth slobbery cheek kiss from my six-month old. I risk my health, which seems to suffer under moments of stress (hello, adult acne and chronic migraines. I never miss you.) I place myself in a role where the anxiety of missing the precious moments makes me angry at the work accomplishments that replace them. If I lean back, then I'm perceived as lazy and uncaring about my work and my career. I sacrifice opportunities for greater income for my family. I become enraged about a country that has forced me into this decision because corporate culture is not one that is supportive of work/life balance, both in our laws (ahem, paid maternity leave) and our empathy ("if you don't like it, then quit!").

Thus, I find myself vacillating on where to lean and instead, feel like falling down and collapsing under a big blanket with some ice cream, a full DVR and a pity party for one. Instead of doing that, I pick a track and I run forward with a full commitment to my decision.

I choose family every time, but that doesn't mean that I necessarily feel good about it. Do I blame myself for my choice or do I blame the societal factors that led me to the decision? Hard to say - I think the two are intertwined. The question keeps getting posed: Can women have it all? My answer is no, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't push for the ability to have laws and a society view that allow women to try to give it our best shot. Until then, I am going to do what is best for me, right now, in the moment, for my family. Nothing is more important than heading down the track towards what holds the most meaning, rewards and fulfillment for you.

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I Did it on My Own: Story of a Single Working Mom

By: Stef Tarner

I didn’t start out planning to be a single, working mother. In fact, I grew up imagining a huge family: meeting the man of my dreams in college and getting married soon after; I’d have my first child of five by the time I was 24, and then start my career as a stay-at-home mom. Easy. No worries.

Except, the old adage that life doesn’t usually work out the way we plan… it applies more often than not. I didn’t meet any marriageable prospects in college and moved permanently from small town Indiana to New York City before I was 24. My boyfriend was from the East coast and, even though he was 4 years my senior, believed our twenties were too young to plan a family. So, I focused on my career in publishing and wound my way up the corporate ladder like every other ambitious twenty-something. I moved out of Manhattan a few years later, got a dog instead of having a baby, found a one bedroom apartment in an outer borough, and waited for him to tell me he was ready to start that huge family I’d always wanted.

I waited ten years before I left him for refusing to commit –about eight years too long if you asked my mother. By then, I was 33, and told by multiple specialists it would be difficult for me to get pregnant… that in fact my ideal fertility window would have been 18-26. They asked me the standard questions: do I have a partner? Are we having regular sex? Am I monitoring my ovulation? To which I answered “no” to all three. Each doctor gave me a fake, sympathetic face, nodded sagely, took a long dramatic pause and said “it may be too late.” Well, f--k. I wanted to kick my own ass for being so stupid and then kick the ex-boyfriend in the nut-sack for leading me on with platitudes, talks of soul mates and future children, and endless don’t worry’s. I threw a pretty fantastic pity-party: cried, wallowed in a depressing puddle of “why me?” and danced between cursing fate and mourning the child I might never have (because, hell, I still had to find someone I cared about enough to marry and father said child – it’s not like I could mail-order that dream). It was at the depth of that sorrow when I decided it no longer mattered: I would do it on my own.

I went off some of my medications, stopped drinking alcohol and excessive caffeine, started consistently buying organic, began taking prenatal and other vitamins to help conceive. I bought a Clearblue Easy ovulation prediction kit and an endless supply of sticks to pee on religiously every month. I was taking control and it felt empowering. A year and a half later, I picked out a donor from a cryobank in California – which by the way is a lot like online dating, only without the unfortunate penis-size emails from weirdos, painful first dates, and awkward thanks-but-no-thanks conversations. How do you even choose the perfect donor for your future baby? The answer: you don’t. You enter your criteria into a search – brown hair, blue/green eyes, 5’8” - 6’2” – you check out their profession, hobbies, family heritage and medical history (maybe even a photo), and then you “eeny-meeny-miny-moe” the crap out of the profiles which made it into your final round of potential sperm.

My son is beautiful… I feel truly blessed. And, aside from my second trimester where I was so randy a partner would have been very welcome, I had an amazing pregnancy (even though I was considered high-risk due to my age). I don’t at all regret my decision to have him on my own. I’m 36 and have a solid and successful career with a salary to match; I’ve learned how to manage pressure, deadlines, and work relationships: I’m able to balance my professional and personal lives – something it took years and multiple positions to learn. I moved away from the city and bought a house my son can grow up in; I can afford to get my son everything he needs, and a lot which he probably doesn’t – something which would have been improbable and stressful even five years ago, let alone when I was 24. Yes, he’ll need a nanny or day-care instead of me staying home with him all day, but he’ll be loved beyond reason anyway.

Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we planned –pretty much ignores us and tells us to shut up and let it work –but in the end, it carries us to a better place than we ever imagined. We just can’t be too afraid to grab on and not let go, even all on our own.