Recently my friends have been posting and tweeting mushy sentiments in honor of National Daughters’ Day. I had never heard of National Daughters’ Day, but, legit or not, I was happy to find any reason to celebrate my daughter.
For some odd reason, all this daughter joy reminded me of April’s “Bring your daughter to work day.” Which got me to thinking …what is my daughter learning from me about being a working woman? The fact is, unlike my own childhood experience with two parents who worked outside of the home, my daughter has the opportunity to observe from the proverbial front row seat all the things I do well – and not so well – every day. As a work-at-home woman, EVERY DAY is “bring your sons and daughters to work day!”
Whether we work outside of the home, work from the home for someone else or as entrepreneurs, or work in the home fulfilling the supremely important role of homemaker and caregiver, I think we should take a moment to examine our approach to work.
Can we make a concentrated effort to set an example that will beneficially impact how the next generation makes a living?
So, in a sociology experiment of sorts, I decided to survey my female friends and contacts about what they hope their daughters will learn from them about working. Not only was I inspired by their answers, but, I started to see a number of themes emerge.
The following 5 lessons resulted:
1.) Give yourself permission to enjoy the different stages of your life.
There are times when our careers are going to be center stage and then other times when our families will get the spotlight. But do we relish those moments, or are we wasting time feeling guilty that we are not focused on family or guilty that we are not focused on work? The sooner we realize that our lives are comprised of a bunch of different, varied journeys and that this is all part of NORMAL life for working women, the sooner we can relax and enjoy the ride!
2.) There is no fixed formula for achieving balance between work and home.
Don’t try to compare yourself to other women or live up to other people’s standards. Each woman will have to define this for herself. There are many variables—her spouse (or lack of spouse), needs and age of her children, economic situation, values and beliefs, personal and professional goals, etc. In addition, this equilibrium or center point is likely to change during the various stages of her life (as discussed in the last point). So, stop trying to keep up with Mrs. Jones on this. Besides, for all you know, Mrs. Jones may be still trying to figure it out for herself.
3.) When attempting to balance work and home, have a clear picture ahead of time about what you are and are not willing to sacrifice.
There will be times when you are asked to compromise, and that dance of give and take between work and home will begin. If you have a clear understanding of the limits ahead of time, you can bypass the emotion, guilt, and confusion that often accompanies that critical decision making moment and instead, confidently define the boundaries.
4.) We cannot and should not try to do everything.
Lynsey Jones, the Party Plan Coach and creator of Party Plan Divas, said she would teach her daughter that “You can only do what you can do.” She’s right! There is no such thing as Wonder Woman (sorry, Linda Carter) and women who try to attain this unachievable thing end up so burnt out and so overwhelmed that they lose sight of who they really are and what they are called to do. Handle what you can, get others to help you handle what you can’t, stop trying to be all things to all people, and move on.
5.) Lastly, we need to remember that our children are already so very proud of us.
Most of our daughters, regardless of their age, already see us as the most dynamic, smart, savvy, and talented women they know. Sure, they know we have flaws. They know we are human. But, they are still our biggest fans. Sit back and let that sink in for a moment. If you haven’t mastered this skill already, learn how to see yourself through their eyes. Learn how to appreciate all your gifts and talents. One of the best lessons we can teach our daughter’s is the ability to like ourselves.
This task of being a working woman is a tricky one. The good news is there are a lot of wise, well-grounded, happy women who are successfully figuring it out. You are a constant inspiration to me as I continue in my own journey as a working Mom.
What insights would you share about balancing work and family? Any words of wisdom or lessons that your Mom has passed along that have proven beneficial to you? What have you learned the hard way?
Christy Schutz, is the author & creator of Higher Calling Communications, which is committed to helping you make the most of your calling! She’s putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment, employee communications, marketing & special events industries to good use by helping individuals, businesses & faith-based ministries discover, develop & market their own distinct calling or mission. She also helps people leverage communications strategies that will enable them to build deeper, more effective relationships with those they hope to serve (e.g. their customers, employer, employees, congregation, etc.). This Tampa Bay, Florida-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids (3 of which are teenagers), caring for her husband & doting on her cute (and very spoiled) Jack Russell Terrier, Petey!