It is becoming increasingly easier for mothers to work without completely sacrificing the time and attention given to the family. I recently got a job offer and I sat with the employer and we tried to work out an option that would work for us both. After being out of the work environment for close to 7 years, I found that really surprising.
For most working mothers, work-life balance has become like the golden fleece – almost impossible to lay hold of. That image where a woman has it all, work, side-business, a healthy marriage and well adjusted children as well as time for friends and family, is one that has been a huge source of frustration for most of us.
So what is the solution for working mothers. Do we just accept that parts of our lives have to suffer or do we keep striving for more…for that perfect balance?
This quote from an article by Allison O’Kelly seems to put things in perspective:
What we need to remember is that we can’t let others define what success means to us, what it means to have it all, and what mix of work and life is best for us. There is no universal perfect recipe for achieving work life satisfaction. There are too many personal variables that go into defining it: Personality, expenses, number of incomes, amount of care needed, schedules, commutes and level of flexibility offered are just some.
If you are like me and you’re about to get back into the workforce and you are worried about what that would mean to your children, Allison has a few suggestions.
Creating Flexibility as a Working Mother
To start, define what balance, satisfaction and success mean to you.
• What are your non-negotiables, and what can you do without?
• What are your needs, and what do you bring to the table?
• What would be your optimum schedule, and where can you bend a little?
• Understanding the short and long-term impact your decision may have on your career, family and finances.
Next, do your research before meeting with your employer.
• What options do you know your employer currently offers when it comes to flexibility? Can you work from home? Alter start and stop times? Work a compressed work week? Share the position with someone else?
• Talk to others who have gone through this before you. How have the handled the change? What obstacles did they encounter that they didn’t expect? What do they know now that they wish they knew then?
• What are some of the flexible options other employers offer and could they work for you?
Then, meet with your manager to discuss options.
Things are not always so regimented anymore, even in Nigeria, and you can try negotiating terms that will be favourable to you and to your family.