WORKING MOM: THE STRUGGLE AND THE REWARDS ARE REAL
First let me start out by saying that I am not an expert and in no way certified to give advice on the subject of how to survive as a working mom. I am a mom of 2 boys who works a full time job and who also wore two different shoes (a flip flop and a ballet flat) to take out the trash tonight because they were the closest to me. Having a job has been a part of me since I was little. My Barbie dolls wore suits and took their briefcases up a high rise to their corner office. I knew going into having kids that I would not be staying at home. My work is part of my identity and I also happen to love my job! So what I know about being a working mom is my experience. It’s a tricky path but for me the most rewarding.
So what I can talk about is how I think being a mom and having a full time job makes me a better mom and a better manager/team member at DCi. For a while I tried to compartmentalize my two worlds but then I realized that each has given me a leg up on the other! How you ask?
No this is not the mystical work life balance we all are striving to achieve but more of a balance of being a serious adult who is all business and a slightly goofy woman tapping into her inner 5-year-old. It’s the yin and yang of silly and serious that make me better. My kids inspire me and give me creative ideas for work, Freeze Dance Team Building anyone?, and they help me be a kind and compassionate manager. Work has given me the skills to lead these little people from point A to point B and even though it takes 20 minutes to get to the car, when mommy is all business, they listen. Mostly. I also have children who think it’s totally normal for their mom to sketch out a custom vampire spider costume and have them sign off on a proof. Creativity and certainty = balance.
I am not by nature, an organized person (insert a variety of art major jokes here.) However, being a mom has forced me to step up my game in this area big time. Now I have not only my work and personal calendars to keep track of but those of two little people who have more social engagements and appointments than I swear I ever had, ever. Turns out this creative thinker really enjoys a bit of structure. Mom life has catapulted me into a zone where I feel comfortable managing my workload, having the time to encourage a team and not miss a doctor’s appointment.
In the event world flexibility is a must. Expect the unexpected is always the rule and always have a Plan B (C and D don’t hurt too.) This mentality has been crazy helpful in the mom world. I don’t get overwhelmed when I head out on the 3-hour drive to my parents because it’s certain that there is about a month’s worth of food in the car as well as 2 changes of clothes for every member of the family, well at least a spare shirt for mom and dad (lesson learned here!) On the flip side, if a client suddenly decides that the event my team has been working on for months need to change direction, hey no sweat, just tackle it like you would when your 5-year-old announces he has to go to the bathroom and you are in the fast lane during rush hour…one step at a time. Things will never go as planned and my work and kids have taught me that a little dose of chaos isn’t the end of the world, and that chaos might take you in a direction that is better that the original.
I am writing this blog during commercial breaks while watching Real Housewives. Why? Because that is the way things get done around here! The life of any DCi team member revolves around multi-tasking and we have it down. Multiple programs, multiple proposals, multiple client calls…no big thing and thank goodness I have been able to learn this skill over the 14 years at DCi because boy does it come in handy with kids. The skills we use in the office to make each client a priority and service them at the highest level translate directly to me not going nuts when my two-year-old requests string cheese and a waffle for breakfast while my 5-year-old asks for toast with an obscene amount of Nutella on it (which I give him because I suddenly want the same thing.) My kids are my most important clients and the goal is to give them individualized attention every day, just like our clients at DCi.
I am sure that there are more examples I can think of but given that my audience is most likely working moms, I know you have either a load of laundry to finish, a lost Lego to try and find, about a dozen emails to answer and about a hundred other things to take care of so I will end this by saying good luck and may your children not wake up before the sun rises.