As A Working Mother, The Cards Are Stacked Against You
If you are taking care of kids and you are working, I am telling you nothing you don’t already know. You feel at work like you have to pretend you don’t have kids, and at home you should behave as if you don’t have a job. You feel guilty towards your boss and co-workers when you take time off work for your children’s doctor’s visits or school events, and you feel guilty towards your kids when you miss any of these events. It’s a never ending battle, a lose – lose game and at the end of all of it, there are zero prizes and you’re just exhausted.
Here’s the thing though. You’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, I’ll venture to say you are doing more than any of the Bobs at work, the Bobs with kids and the Bobs without kids. So why the hell is it all your fault and are you effing it up in everyone’s (including your own) eyes?
Because as a working mother, the cards are stacked against you. The system is set up for men to work outside the home, and for the women inside the home. And when we then started working outside the home, and later HAD to do that in order to reach the same standard of living that was once possible on one salary alone, the men didn’t step up and say “give me an equal part of those household chores, love!” Of course they didn’t. The work outside the home was just added to our plate of things to do, and we swallowed it because that’s what we do – we work hard and don’t complain, right?
And so here we are. Overworked and undervalued and just so, so tired. Feeling like a failure because people seem to see only what we don’t do, compared to those full-timers at home or at the office with only responsibilities for one or the other. At best, you’re surviving (not thriving), at worst… burnout.
Ask me how I know.
But this is not about complaining or woe-is-me. If you’re like the working-mother-badasses I know, you don’t have time for that. You’re simply asking – what am I supposed to do about it, Wies?
Here’s what you should do.
Set some clear boundaries – first of all with yourself, then with your partner (if you have one), with your kids (if possible – don’t try and argue with anyone under 5. Again, ask me how I know..), and most assuredly, with your boss. From that place of confidence, clarity and certainty, continue the conversation to make sure you are both happy with the outcomes, because only then will the other side support the outcomes and make it happen.
And hot tip, change the default telephone number at your kids’ nursery or school to your partner’s. Game. Changer.
PS If you want help with this boundary setting and these conversations, including the inner work you need to do in order to get ready for them, let me know. My career navigation and negotiation coaching program can potentially help.
Book a call with my team for a free coaching session and let’s see what we can do for you!