Let’s face it, being a mother is the most challenging job you will ever have in your life. Many years ago I went from no kids, an apartment, newly married, starting a company to fostering a special needs child (later adopting), buying a house and trying to establish myself in an extremely short amount of time. If I snapped at you back then my apologies.
Having a Career and Being a Mom is a Challenge – No Doubt
There are plenty of mothers out there who had even more challenges to go through (or grow through). I know women who had more children, more stresses and even larger challenges than I ever faced. In fact I recently met someone who earned two MBAs slowly as she continuously raised her five children. She did this all the while working to establish her career in Supply Chain. She is a wonderful mother and excellent role model.
One of the events that jolted me in my earlier career was the day my child’s rabbit died. I was not there to comfort her. I traveled often for business so I would openly tell my daughter where I was going and what I was doing. We tried to make a lesson out of it by looking at the map, learning about the state, its capital etc. Selling ERP Systems was an incredibly challenging job. One day I was at a prospect out of state. There were several people from all over helping make this pitch. It was to be an entire day long software presentation broken up into many various sections to address specific operational groups’ requirements. I made it a habit to shut my cell phone off completely during any sales presentations.
In the afternoon, during a break I was approached by the kindest Administrative Assistant. She pulled me aside and said, “Are you Kirsten?” She then gently told me my daughter had called their company (not sure if I was proud of her resourcefulness or ticked off!) She only had fifteen to twenty minutes alone at our house as she was at the age where it should’ve been OK, oh the guilt … the guilt. My first self-thought and reaction was, “Really, I can’t leave for one day without an issue from this child?” Then of course I called her and my heart melted as she told me how she found Peter and he was stiff. Losing a pet and friend is horrible enough but to find him like that, whew. So the very kind and professional assistant secretly told the President of that company what the deal was. They brought in some snacks and water for their group which bought me some time. (Nice -Read This Blog Please)
I was able to calm my daughter down and hand it off to dad when he got home (10 Minutes seemed like hours). Then I had to compartmentalize the event because it was my turn to present. Thank goodness this deal closed.
1.) Forget Guilt
If anyone would have told me the range of emotions you feel as a mom it may have better prepared me. Never before have there been such highs and lows as parenting my child. (There still are.) However, guilt is not a good reaction and is counter productive. Don’t fall into that trap.
2.) Your Child is First – Work With Her
There I said it, forget all the hairy eyeballs from the stay at home Moms at school (nothing wrong with that). I made a choice to be a Mom and have a career outside of the house. So after that day, I made it crystal clear to my daughter she is more important to me than anything. Together we made a pact to work as a team. In detail I explained what a true emergency is, if it’s a 911 emergency (someone is breaking into the house, someone is injured etc.) and if it’s a “MOM11” emergency. I then kept my cell phone on vibrate and promised to check it but explained that was only for real “MOM11” emergencies.
3.) Make a Plan B and C
This is the more challenging part. After this trip I made an extra effort to communicate with my family, friends and trusted neighbors. Everyone’s cell phone was programmed into my phone. Just knowing that helped me to better relax and it was communicated to my daughter as well.