The Successful (Career) Mommy

I am constantly inspired by strong women.  I feel like starting with my mom and grandmother, I have always been surrounded by strong and independent women.  Just today, I attended a conference for women in leadership positions.  The keynote and luncheon speakers were so powerful, so amazing that it made me want to jump up and DO something.  Anything.  I wanted to go and change the world right then and there.  But wait.  I have a whole life and family to think about. Right.

On one of the Sex and the City episodes (yes, I am taking my material from SATC!), the girls talk about whether or not women can have it all: a career, love life, friendships, fun and family.  In the end, it appears they can’t, or they are unable to balance it all without one suffering.  This is so true.  In an earlier post, I struggled with mommy guilt.  This goes so much further.  How do I determine what is right for me or what is right for my family?  I want to better my career, but I waver on a seesaw so severe that my mood swings around PMS time look like child’s play.  Am I doing this for me?  Am I doing the right thing?  I recently got offered a job opportunity that would help me to better my career in the long run in leadership.  Immediately, it would mean longer hours, not a lot of extra money, and less time with my littles.  In the long run, it would mean more opportunities and more ability to better my career in the direction I want it to go.  And of course, more money.  As I stressed about it while discussing with my husband what to do, I realized that no matter what I do, I will not make the right decision.  It will either be wrong for my career or wrong for my family.

So.  How does a mother become successful at both their family life and their work life?  Is it even possible?  As I listened to the inspirational women today, I took everything in.  I thought about my career and how wonderful my job is and all of the opportunities that I have presented for myself.  I have developed into a “go-getter”.  I attend conferences when I can, join state-run committees, participate in any professional development that I can outside of my own workplace.  I feel like I have turned more global, and I seen what is out there beyond what I do currently.  I love my job, don’t get me wrong, and I love my family.  But I know if I want to make a difference, help change the world, I have to become that assertive, strong, powerful woman I have grown up watching all my life.

I consider myself extremely lucky.  My mom took 18 years off of work to raise my sisters and I.  She was always there for us, taking care of every last detail that our lives could imagine.  I learned so many valuable lessons from her that I wouldn’t change a thing.  I never once wished that my mom would be working or that I didn’t want her around.  Times have definitely changed.  The family dynamic is different, the working mother is more the norm now that ever, and women leaders are becoming more dominant than ever.

As I struggle with my decision to advance my own career to sacrifice time with my little ones, I realize that some opportunities present themselves that we cannot ignore.  I don’t want to regret my own career decisions later based on things that happen now.  And I will continue to try to be a successful mother to my children.  It may never happen, but I can spend my life striving for that.

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