Tips for Working Moms: How to Balance Career, Home Duties

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MJ Gonzales│ Executive Chronicle

Working moms are like superhuman when it comes to wearing different hats every single day. They’re the ones who prepare almost everything for everyone in the house before conquering their own arenas at work.   But this is just a slice of the big pie because there are crucial moments too wherein they need to choose between the jobs that pay their bills and family obligations that keep their families healthy.  Can they really survive and thrive to get the best of both worlds?

In the country like Philippines, it’s a norm that women are responsible in the house chores.  But through the years this became a thing of the past as apart from cultural progress, modern living also demands women to provide for their families.  In effect more and more women including mothers become career-oriented and juggle their duties the best that they can.  One famous example of such is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who also authored the book entitled Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

“There are many powerful reasons to exit the workforce. No one should pass judgment on these highly personal decisions. My point is that the time for a woman to scale back is when a break is needed or a child arrives—not before, and certainly not years in advance. For those who even have a choice, choosing to leave a child in someone else’s care and return to work is a hard decision. Anyone who has made this decision—myself included—knows how heart wrenching this can be. Only a compelling, challenging and rewarding job will begin to make that choice a fair contest,” an excerpt from Sandberg’s book posted on Time.com.

Sandberg also mentioned the 2003 experiment of Columbia Business School professor Frank Flynn and New York University professor Cameron Anderson, where they asked students to comment on entrepreneur Heidi Roizen. These professors did trick as well in the said poll by changing Heidi’s name to Howard and get different set of opinions. Sandberg commented the result of survey where students favored Howard though they thought Heidi was also competent.

“I believe this bias is at the very core of why women are held back. It is also at the very core of why women hold themselves back. When a woman excels at her job, both men and women will comment that she is accomplishing a lot but is ‘not as well liked by her peers.’ She is probably also ‘too aggressive,’ ‘not a team player,’ ‘a bit political’; she ‘can’t be trusted’ or is ‘difficult.’ Those are all things that have been said about me and almost every senior woman I know,” the mother of two kids with former Yahoo executive Dave Goldberg commented.  “The solution is making sure everyone is aware of the penalty women pay for success. “

The female executive, named as most powerful woman in technology in 2015 by Forbes Magazine, also admitted that she doesn’t know the right choice between career and family.   But she advised that women should go for what’s sustainable and fulfilling than trying to be perfect.

Meantime, for US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton balancing career and family is not only for mothers or women but a human issue.  In her interview with ABC News, the former first lady and senator commented that sometimes instead of joint effort to solve problems, disagreements emerge.

“Sometimes, conversations about balancing family and work lead to arguments instead of a search for agreement,” said Clinton. “And it is absolutely clear there is no right or wrong way to have a family, or even whether you do have a family. There is no right or wrong way to build a career, or even if you do have a career. Women and men need to find approaches that work for them, and that approach may change over the course of your life.”

To help working moms, CEO of PeopleResult Patti Johnson shared on Success Magazine her tips to keep working and enterprising women motivated. Some of her reminders include “Treat important family events like client meetings,” “Look beyond one day or one week,” “Stop comparing yourself to other moms,” “Get out of a situation that doesn’t fit your definition of success,” “Find the right partner(s),” and “Ask for what you need.”

“Don’t set yourself up for failure. Recognize when your work situation will never line up with your goals. If you never want to travel and you treasure free nights and weekends, careers in real estate or management consulting could be problematic. Or find a workaround. Be realistic—because industry culture is unlikely to change,” Johnson’s advice.