In 2012, The Atlantic magazine published an article with the heading, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”
The article was written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a high-achieving career woman. She quit a powerful government position so that she could spend more time with her teenage boys.
While she didn’t quit full-time work, she got a lot of criticism from feminists who expected her to handle her professional and parenting obligations effortlessly.
Among other things, Slaughter noted that working mums who are employed need to stop fooling themselves about the ability to parent effectively while growing high-profile careers.
She was of the opinion that it’s possible to have this kind of balance when you run your own business or have control over your schedule.
Is it possible for working mums to have work-life balance?
Working mums all over the world struggle to balance between career growth, family, societal expectations, and their own self-care.
I know this for a fact because I’ve been a working mum for over 13 years. At first, I was in full-time employment. I then moved to my business, where I worked more hours than I used to when employed.
There was a 2-year stretch when I took time off to be a stay-at-home mum. This worked well for some time before I started itching to get back to work.
A combination of the experience of being able to spend more time with my children plus having had a failed business made me realize that:
- I didn’t want to get back into full-time employment again.
- I’m not meant to be a full-time stay-at-home mum.
It was with this in mind that I chose to be a work-from-home mum when I started my next business. This has struck a nice balance for me and I don’t see it changing in the near future.
I’ve been lucky to have experienced both sides of the spectrum. I’ve also been lucky to reach a point where I can choose to work from home. However, not many mothers who have careers or are in business are able to do that.
“Can I have it all?”
I was asked this question by someone who was seeking coaching a few years back. She was trying to make a decision between starting a business and taking up a high-profile job – her dream job.
The job was lucrative, but it would take her away from her family for large stretches of time. It also required a high level of commitment and focus.
More women have asked me the same question in different ways. All of them are high-achieving women who are either mums or aspiring to become mums soon.
It’s a question that was also asked by Kara (Supergirl) in the TV series Supergirl. She was working as an assistant to a very busy and highly successful business owner who was also a single mum.
One day, Kara asked her boss, Cat Stevens, whether it was possible to balance work and family and still get everything done. Cat’s response was simple:
“You can have it all, just not at once.”
That statement has stayed in my mind since I watched the program. It’s also a good kick off to this series as Selipha Kihagi and I delve deeply into the topic of working mums. We will look at:
- Common challenges faced by working mums.
- Negative effects on children of working mums.
- Positive effects on children with working mums.
- Challenges faced by single working mums.
This list is not exhaustive and we will update it as we get more information or requests from readers.
We’d love to write this series with you. Here’s what you can do to make this happen.
1. Connect with us
The topic of working mums has been covered widely for the Western world. Unfortunately, it’s not been adequately covered for the African woman, and more so for the Kenyan woman. We therefore welcome your questions, experiences, tips, and resources. The topics we write about will expand depending on the responses we get from readers. So talk to us in the Comments section of all the articles.
2. Share this series with other working mums
There are many women who are suffering as they struggle to meet unrealistic expectations from themselves and other people. Please share this series with them so that they too can get help or jump into the discussion.
3. Sign up for the email newsletter
If you don’t have time to come back and read blog posts each week, then sign up for the Create a New Dawn newsletter. As a subscriber, you will receive an update each week. This update includes a personal note from me, a preview of the week’s blog article, information on upcoming events and coaching programs, and periodic special offers just for newsletter subscribers.
This is it for today. Keep an eye out for the next article where Selipha will look at the top 5 challenges faced by working mums and how you can overcome them.
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