A week ago Friday I posted an answer to a question from a 20-something expectant mom and law student asking professional moms if it’s possible to have it all…and if so, what benefits are essential? It’s a question I often get from 20-somethings pregnant or not. One 20-something recently said to me, “My friends and I all want to have kids but we have no idea how to go about it. How can you have kids and work? How does that even work. You can’t really envision it.” She is not alone. Women of all ages are still figuring it out. One thing we’ve learned is that there is no easy answer…but it sure helps to talk about it!
In addition to offering up some 40:20 Vision hindsight on what “having it all” is really all about, Amalah the advice guru at Alpha Mom stepped in to provide her “Back to Work Wish List.” Her advice and all the great words of wisdom from the moms that chimed in via the comments section provide a great sneak peek into what a mother needs to make it work. Universal to all…flexibility at work is key and so is being flexible with yourself. Or “Stay loose” as Amalah put it:
“Life is really weird and unpredictable, sometimes in a really good way. So…yes, you plan ahead, but you also stay loose, and ready for anything. Jobs change, minds change, amazing opportunities ebb and flow and having a baby both complicates everything….and makes everything absolutely fan-freaking-tastic at the same time.”
Be sure to read the full blog post at AlphaMom to get the full strength savvy of the Alpha Mom community . Here are a few highlights:
1. Don’t think working from home is less work.
“Working from home is work enough. Have some back-up daycare and don’t feel guilty using it.”
2. Working moms aren’t always treated with the same regard as those without children.
“Having benefits is one thing, having a workplace culture that allows you to freely use those benefits without guilt is another.”
3. Know your pumping options and rights.
“If your workplace hasn’t got ‘em? That’s a big clue right there.”
4. Law firms, especially in larger metro areas, are tough when it comes to flex-time and family friendly benefits. Clerking positions or jobs in government are better for women with young children.
“No matter how flexible a firm is, you’re going to get the stink eye if you consistently leave at 5 p.m. Sucks, but it’s the way it is. As for me, I ditched the big firm job for an in-house position and was happy to take the pay cut.”
5, Passing the bar is far from impossible…take one day at a time.
“If you are taking a prep class…don’t be afraid to take advantage of flexibility offered (e.g. watching lectures on-line or viewing pre-recorded sessions at your school.) Don’t feel pressure to be at school all the time because everyone else is. You can pass the bar studying in whatever way works best for you and your family. I did!”
And in the end…
“Go easy on yourself Mama. It’s easy to think of these things in terms of “my child over my career” epic decisions. Give whatever your decision is (working, staying home, working at home, part-time, etc.) three months ‘probation’ period. Things are rarely permanent and you usually have more options than you know.”