Unless you are fortunate enough to have women in your family who will share with you the impact of the inevitable decisions you will make both as a mother and a professional; you would have no clue about the difficult choices that lie ahead – when and if you take that leap. Amidst lackluster maternity leave, pay equity issues, real and perceived concerns of upward mobility among other factors, many women can find themselves feeling inadequate, overwhelmed and discouraged. Not to mention, that we can still see glimmers of the ongoing feud of who does it better: stay-at-home-moms or working moms – which presents another unnecessary layer of guilt. I would wager that we all are doing our best. We shoulder much more responsibility than we are given credit and the policies and practices of bigger business have not caught up with the reality of the average woman.
When I wrote about #EqualPayDay back in April, I asked a single question and sort of pointed the finger at employers by asking: what will they do differently now that “equal pay” is a prominent discussion? It was an important question to ask, because we are so easily moved to superficial action in the name of the latest salacious headline or social catastrophe of the day. As such, I wanted to remind employers that when #EqualPayDay, National Women’s Suffrage Day, Mother’s Day and any other consumerist holiday is over and the hashtags have stopped trending that there is a human that must continue on in obscurity trying to make sense of finances, life, family, identity and career in a society that simply has no place for them.
Sounds grim, but this is the reality of many women who have made a very natural decision to have children. In this process, many of us moms have loss a sense of self while performing one of the most benevolent jobs known to humanity. I had aspirations of climbing the ladder, grappling for a title and reaping the rewards of a decent salary. I chose motherhood and suddenly climbing that ladder had extra rungs that I never saw before childbirth and that decent salary seemed further and further in the distance. I bowed out, but not completely.
There have been glimmers of hope, like the announcement by IBM last week that they will ship breast milk home for traveling mothers free of charge. Still, so many other companies don’t understand or get the magnitude of the reality I have just illustrated and so women have to consider other career options.
You see we are in a time where you don’t have to live in obscurity. Becoming a mom doesn’t have to limit your personal and career growth. In fact, if your career has been at a standstill the problem isn’t your employer -it is you. Social Media and this new reality of global connectedness allows you to create your career reality. If you need to work for someone else, you can do it. If you want to start a business, you can do that. If you have always had a knack for writing, you can pursue that and be recognized. All of these options are possible because we are our own brand ready to be cultivated and marketed in the right setting for a specific purpose.
We all have a purpose. Women deserve to continue with their careers or shift gears if need be. Becoming a mother shouldn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor. This is why I am so happy to be working with Dr. Hilary Berger, Founder of Work Like a Mother. She was one of my initial clients when I decided to launch my business a few years ago and now two years later I am partnering with her through her Work Like a Mother Career Academy to help some very deserving women get their career mojo back.
Through this academy, our participants will have everything updated from their resumes to their knowledge of how to use social media for personal branding and jobseeking purposes. I am so excited and honored to be in a position to help brilliant women discover their passions and further their careers. If this academy puts a small dent in the number of women who have lost their way in motherhood, I will feel like I have made a difference.
I will be teaching three courses over the next three months that will hopefully open the minds of my fellow mommies and help them get their career mojo back. Follow our workshops via the #wlmacademy hashtag.
If you feel compelled, send a kind word or words of encouragement to our academy participants to let them know they are already headed in the right direction.