Monday, November 16, 2015

Can We Stop With The Phrase "Working Mom?"

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This post was originally published on Biz Galz.

It’s no secret. I am a proud Mom. My tween is on the honor roll. She made the basketball team at a new school. She has this amazing philanthropic spirit. And most days, my daughter can tolerate hanging out with her YouTube-confused, middle-aged Mom.
After her birth, I was prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Teething. Potty training. Pre-algebra homework. But even in a modern society, I never imagined to be surrounded by road blocks – in and out of work.

We as women continue to battle obstacles most men rarely experience. These hurdles are not limited to the workplace. We have been raised in a culture where men are historically placed in a higher echelon.

However, not all of the blame lays with society. I recently attended an event where two female CEOs spoke about love and children and left the audience with no actionable lessons. They stereotypically walked right into the clichéd “working mom” trap.

Then there was the Dreamforce panel in which the moderator – a woman – ignored the successes of its female participants and proceeded to patronize them throughout the interview.

Being a working mom, I often am asked, “How do you do it? Isn’t it hard?”

Let me tell you what is hard. Work is. Parenting is. But you know what else is difficult? Pitching new business to a potential client. Drafting a blog post when you have the worst case of writer’s block. Driving through rush hour traffic to make a parent-teacher conference.

So my question is, “How do any of us do it?”

I have the same ambitions as my childless co-workers. And often our careers for all of us are the vehicles towards we achieve those goals. Yes, my family life undoubtedly will trickle into my work. I can leave work but I can never “leave” my family. But I also put in extra hours to hit a deadline. I will consider relocating my family if an opportunity arises. These are all choices any employee would have to make.

Parenting is rewarding. But so is my career. I have been fortunate. I have worked for organizations that are very family-friendly. But I never expect an advantage because I am a Mom. I want the same flexibility and considerations to be extended to my coworkers with no children. Juggling work-life balance is a struggle we all have – men, women, single, married, parent or not.

I am committed to my job and pride myself in producing the best work I can. I want to succeed in my career, not for my daughter, not for society, but for me. Being a strong role model is simply an added perk.

So why must I prove myself as a working mother to others? If my employer is satisfied with my work, then shouldn’t you be too?

Work does not change my identity.

I am a Mom. I am a community manager. I am a friend. I am a volunteer. I am multifaceted. I am Monina Wagner.

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