No matter our how much we enjoy our daily lives, at some point every working mom asks herself What if? What if I didn’t have to work? What if I could be a stay-at-home mom? What if my children suffer because of my job?
Not only do we put this pressure on ourselves, but we have been forced to feel bad for wanting our own “thing” since the times of suffrage all the way through to the present-day, far-right ideals that tell us a woman’s place is at home with her children. Even if some of us do want to be stay-at-home mothers, it simply isn’t financially possible for most women. A girl has got to eat. And so do her children.
It’s Not As Bad As You Think
New research was published about the global effect of working moms where “…the researchers dug into data from the International Social Survey Programme, a global consortium of organizations that conduct social science research, and studied 2002 and 2012 responses to a survey called Family and Changing Gender Roles.” The study focused on whether or not mothers of participants worked and the outcomes of growing up with that kind of role model.
The results will let you, my dear working mom, breathe a big sigh of relief. Kids of working moms do better and are more likely to be in supervisory roles. Of course, everyone wants to have a career that makes her happy. But it doesn’t matter whether or not your own career rocketed sky high, just you holding down a job makes a difference.
There, take that for a fact.
Like many who chose divorce over living in misery, I was once in a constant state of overwhelmed. I hadn’t planned for that. I did, however, marry a wonderful man who had only two problems: he was a pathological liar and an alcoholic. Very BIG problems. Before I even figured half of this out, I was in the midst of a divorce with a two-year-old at my side.
There is no training that prepares you how to be a single mom living in a foreign country (working as an Entrepreneur, no less). But that is where I ended up and I did my very best to stay afloat, pay the bills, and be a good mother.
Many nights after my daughter, Gina, went to bed I stayed up to work more. Often times on weekends I had to catch up and worked even more. Those were hard times, times of survival which many of you can relate to. I felt terrible. I had no choice. If we were going to eat I had to make money. I dared not to even fantasize about working less in order to spend more quality time with Gina. It wasn’t an option.
Guilt Sets In
During those times I couldn’t afford any more than the essentials. I shopped as much as possible at the 99 cent store. I entertained my little girl with picnics on the floor inside our apartment (in lieu of fancy furniture) and our adventures consisted of visiting a new playground or going to the beach. Our favorite days were Saturday and Sunday mornings when we went to the fitness center. She played in the babysitting area while I worked out my stresses. Afterward we got a treat of a bagel, coffee, and hot cocoa and then went to the library. I couldn’t afford to buy books so we borrowed hundreds from the library over the years.
In all honesty, it wasn’t exactly the life I had planned for myself and my child. But moms are resourceful and we manage. We even make adventures out of being frugal.
And then it was time for Gina to start kindergarten.
The Kids Are Alright
She and I had talked during our many nights of reading stories about what it would be like when she could read for herself. Finally the big day came when I sent her off into the world of structured education. She was going to learn her ABC’s and how to read. I was nervous, I had no idea what would happen when I waved goodbye. As we walk into the big school yard we saw little boys and girls clinging to their moms crying “Don’t go, Momma!” Gina glanced at them and shook her head.
When the teacher announced it was time for the parents to leave, the cries from the other children escalated. And my Gina? Well, she looked at me, took her backpack and lunch pail from my hands, and said firmly, “Mom, you can go now.” Puzzled, I stood there looking at her. With even more firmness in her voice this time she said, “Mom, we talked about this. It’s time for me to learn how to read and write. It is time for you to go. YOU will be okay.”
My jaw fell to my chest as I swelled with joy and relief. There it was. My guilt disappeared in that very moment in knew my daughter was going to be just fine, and I would be, too. And so will your little ones, too.
Keep up doing such a great job my working Mommas. The world needs us.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.
When I was in elementary school, my mother was the only working mother my class. I had one teacher who asked me didn’t I feel bad that my mother could not come to my assembly? I answered no, my mother worked. I realized then that I was proud of what my mother did, and all these years later, I still am. My mother passed away this past February at 85, and was still working, for herself part time. She enjoyed it, and decided not to stop until she had to. And as I look toward retirement age and what I want to do next – hobby, work, whatever – I think I turned out just fine.
You are my inspiration!
I feel guilt for being a stay at home parent up until now (my son turns 2 next month).. and that for us to live, I must return to work.
I listened to your interview on Unmistakable Creative.
Thankyou for being your most authentic expression in this world and a beacon of light, guiding the way forward for me.
Best wishes to you
Dearest Arina, I am so grateful for your wonderful message. No more feeling guilty for you! Please note that we are running a Bestseller campaign for my book Happy Woman Happy World where we are dropping the price from $9.99 to $0.99 for one day only on the 12th. You’ll get even more tips and tools how to balance being a mom and your career. Big hug! XX Beate