Mothers with careers are dealing with unique difficulties: the extra demands of a multifaceted life. These challenges require strategic decision making about what changes you are or are not willing to make concerning your family and your career. Women are strong and resilient. There’s no doubt juggling a career and a family can be done and done well. On your list of priorities, some things will fall off for a while. Think bigger picture. No one will remember missing the small details of life. What your children will remember is that you were happy and they were well cared for to the best of your abilities. So here’s a note for working moms.
If your company is going to be open to a flexible schedule, demonstrate your loyalty. Have a well-laid-out plan. Be clear about what your optimal work arrangement will look like. What responsibilities will you handle? What might you find difficult to handle? If you’re planning on becoming a mother soon, propose solutions on how your workload can be managed in your absence, knowing this may affect a number of employees. What’s the time frame? Find and highlight the benefits your employer will gain from giving you what you need to achieve work-life balance. Make it easy for them to say yes.
By the time I remarried and was expecting my daughter, I had already proven myself to my employer. Wanting to continue with my career, but not wanting to work the same hours as I had while building my career, I needed more flexibility. When I talked to my boss about it, I proposed my plan to complete a two-year advanced certification degree in financial planning while working ten hours a week from home and fifteen in the office. I outlined the benefits of added professional development for our clientele and worked out an arrangement whereby I would have a business phone at home. If I didn’t answer by the third ring, my office assistant would pick it up. Because my employer worked with me, I became an even more loyal employee, and it greatly benefited both my personal life and career.
Remember: In business, everything is negotiable, so don’t be shy. Get creative. The worst thing that can happen is that you are turned down—and then you can propose plan B. The most important thing is to be proactive about this life change.
Marja Norris is the CEO and Founder of MarjaNorris.com, a company dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals with style and confidence. With a distinguished career in finance, Marja has successfully navigated the male-dominated business world. Working her way up from an entry-level assistant to a Senior Vice President, she draws on her three decades of experience in the corporate world to empower women to pursue their highest goals and blossom into everything they can be.
Marja is passionate about coaching women on projecting their best professional selves. With the publication of her latest book, The Unspoken Code: A Businesswoman’s No-Nonsense Guide to Making It in the Corporate World, Marja’s mission is to provide women with the tools to successfully navigate the workplace through heightened confidence, excellent communication skills, and dressing the part to achieve career success.