The female workforce is constantly having to make choices between career and family. After investing heavily both financially and emotionally in their education and building their careers, motherhood can often complicate even the most well-laid plans. Whether plagued by pangs of guilt while sitting in the board room when her child is under the babysitter’s care, or fears that she is no longer able to concentrate on her job during those late night meetings, it is an unenviable position for a mother. Not to mention, she may face ridicule from judgmental colleagues and supervisors who doubt her ability to juggle home life and her work load.
However high paying your job might be, it is certainly not worth your skill and time if you have to face this kind of pressure, day-in and day-out. You stand the risk of diminishing self-esteem coupled with an unhappy work and home environment. Sometimes a little soul-searching can help you realize you are really worth much more than what you’ve gotten credit for.
In jest, it is sometimes said that woman have a “built-in multi-tasking chip”. But jokes aside, this does seem to make sense when you consider the expectations from a modern woman. I remember seeing a promotional video telecast on Mother’s Day. It showcases a 5 year-old trying to draw pictures of the members of her family. The child draws, father at his desk, working, brother playing soccer, and sister by the phone. But when it comes to drawing her mother, the little girl is so perplexed, that she ends up drawing her mother with 8 arms, which seemed to speak volumes to me. We moms do so much without actually realizing them.
It is time for you to do some thinking and put your skills, and time to good use while keeping your priorities straight.
1. Your Talent: –
- Isn’t this the reason to hire you in the first place?
- Do you still have the same spark, the love for what you do?.
- How close do you follow the developments in your area of expertise?
- Does your job continue to use your talent, or have you been under utilized?
- Does your salary compensate for the long working hours.?
2. Your Time: –
- Do you have to commute for more than 2 hours to reach your work? ( That makes 4 hours a day and x gallons of gasoline per week. Do the math)
- Does your commute mean, you are compromising on your sleep? Without a decent 8 hours of sleep, you are burning the candle at both ends.
- Do you have at least 2 hours a day, just for yourself? And no multi-tasking… just for yourself. Sometimes even doing nothing is a great energy booster. If the answer to this is a resounding “NO”, this means, you are letting others (and yourself) to abuse your time.
- Do you bring your work home?
3. Your Money, Your Plan
- Do you have enough funds in the family account to manage for at least 3 – 4 months, if you decide to take a break from work?
- Go over the financial implications and intricacies over and over again
- Will you be able to acquire 6 uninterrupted hours per day, by working from home? This could be 3+3 or 2+2+2 or 6 straight hours.
- Do not go overboard and fall into the trap of thinking ” I can work for 10 hours, I save on commuting time”. You fail to consider telephone calls, un-announced guests, sales people and other unforeseen interruptions.
- Do you have the resources that supplement your talent and time? Like, Uninterrupted internet connection, voice mail among other things.
- Do you have determination “Not to work beyond my 6 hours”? After all, what is the point if you are toiling for 10 hours a day. You might as well work at the office.
4. Your Resources:- YOU CAN..
- Devote 2 hours ( out of 6 hours), to find potential clients who can use your skills over the internet.
- Plan the type of work you are willing to handle, and, prepare documentation
- Maintain a log of your work activities right from Day-1.
- Keep Personal and professional correspondences / contacts separate.
- Get yourself a PayPal account ( or look into other options )to receive funds
- Get in touch with sources that can give you a steady stream of work, without having to scout for them yourself.
Motherhood is a wonderful thing. But this does not mean that you have to compromise your career goals. All it requires is a little preparation and lot of perseverance to reach your goals on personal and professional levels. Your family is already attuned to your current work schedule. They do not interrupt you at work when you are at the office. So it will take some time for them to realize that when mom is working from home, she is actually working. A little fine tuning of the family schedule should eventually give you at least your 6 hours of work time.
You will now be a “work at home mom”, not an on-call employee. This means you gain control over your time and make it truly yours. You should never feel guilty about doing things for the sake of your family and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your aspirations either. It is time to stand back and contemplate the larger picture. This will motivate you to gain control and give you the much-needed perspective.