However, once you have a child, the way you approach your career shifts. The way you did things before are no longer be possible. For example an out-of-town business trip now requires a coordination of multiple people’s schedules. Your time management skills are on overdrive and completing the tasks of your job are the same, but your approach to your career as a whole may need to shift.
We all know that working moms are short on time, so I’ve boiled it down to what I think are 3 Steps to Achieving Career Success.
- Set shorter term goals. A popular recommendation for people early in their career is to have a five-year plan. Once you have a child you can see how much can physically change in five years and with all that change, setting a five-year goal might not be possible. If you are not quite sure what your next best career step is, it’s ok. Short term goals can be just as effective during these times of change. Give yourself permission to set a goal for the next three to six months. Your goal can be as simple as, do the best job I’m capable of doing every day knowing that some days when I’m really tired or have a sick kid what I’m capable of may not be my best effort. We’re all allowed to have off days. Your goal could also be focused on just one element of your job – maybe you want to learn a new piece of software or try to improve one of your skills. In the past you may have tackled three or four things at once, break it down and be patient. When the first short-term goal is over, evaluate where you are at and see if you are ready to set a new goal or need more time working on this one.
- Work on your flexibility. Before kids, you likely had a very consistent work schedule that mirrored the other people you work with. After having kids you may realize there are some days where it’s just not possible to cram everything into the hours between 8 and 5. Look at your schedule and get creative to find the time to fit it all in. Maybe you need to work through lunch, so you can leave earlier a couple days a week. Or maybe you can find ways to work earlier, or later, to free up time for a doctor’s appointment. You may also have to find others to help with pick up or drop off so that you can finish a project or attend a meeting. The work still needs to get done, but when it gets done may be something you can shift as needed.
- Gratitude and Gripe list. Working moms have a lot going on in their lives and don’t always have a lot of time to figure out how to make it better. If your work life is not going as expected, you need to figure out the root of the problem before jumping ship to a new job (which will bring its own host of challenges). At the end of every day before you leave the office, write down one thing that went well and one thing you wish was different. Keep this list in purse or as a note on your phone, where no one else will accidentally see it. After a few weeks has gone by, schedule some time where you can really look at the list. First look at the list of things that went well, what do they all have in common? Is there an opportunity for you to do more of the things you enjoy? Next look at the things you wish were different – do you still wish they were different or was it influenced by your mood on that day? Is this something you have the ability to change or is this nonnegotiable? I think a lot of times we are quick to decide that we need to leave the job because things will be better somewhere else (the grass is always greener…..). But before you make that jump, evaluate your current situation and get clear on why you are leaving. I’ve seen too many friends leave a job, only to have the same grievances at the next company. By getting clear with what you are looking for and what will make you truly happy, you increase the odds that they next job will fill that gap that you’ve been missing.
There is no one blueprint on how to be a successful working mom. Millions of moms are figuring it out as they go, but struggle in the process because they are using the same strategies they used to achieve success when they were single. Working moms shouldn’t let their added responsibilities deter them, by shifting their strategies and perspectives, working moms can continue to achieve the success in their career they desire.
Are you a working mom who needs help redefining success and how to get there? I want to talk to you! Comment below or send me an email and we’ll schedule a time to talk. Come join our Facebook group Balanced Heart Moms and join a supportive community of women who share their stories and lift each other up.