This has been and will continue to be a hot topic for not only single moms but all moms alike. Working in corporate America this can be tough for any mother and finding the balance does not come with trial and error and some pains and mistakes along the way.
Personally I think that Work-Life Balance is an illusion in terms of there is really no such thing. Somewhere along the line, someone and something is going to suffer. Whether it is your children, loved ones, your job or yourself.
I think it should be call Work-Life Perspective.
I was the person that was on top of the world at work. I was moving very quickly up the corporate ladder. Successful at every turn. Important people knew my name. I couldn’t of been more happy. I was on my way to getting married and life was good. Got married, had my daughter, and my husband at the time knew how important my career was and he was willing to do extra so that I could continue to climb the ladder. Then…things took a turn for the worse. He had a breakdown and eventually that led to my divorce.
Then I was left with a small child of 2 and a career that was on the rise.
I will admit that it was a difficult transition. I relied heavily in the beginning on my parents. Thank God for them. I was trying to work long hours and then come home to a 2 year old. Many times my daughter would end up staying nights with my mom. But every morning I would get up an hour early and go get her from my moms to drop her off to daycare. I just didn’t want my mom to feel as if I was using her. Also I missed spending time with my daughter so even the short drive to daycare was enough for me.
Working from home was great but I still hadn’t mastered that either. I would find myself rushing home after work, pick her up. Making a quick dinner and sit her downstairs with me while she entertained herself and I would be on the computer finishing up the days work.
One day when she was 3, she threw a toy at me while I was on the computer. I was mad because I was in the middle of working. I turned and she looked at me and said “mommy, when are you gonna spend time wit me.” At that moment, I realized what I was doing and then my perspective took place from that moment on.
At the present, I have come to the realization that I am never going to get those moments back of her being little. My job/career/work will always be there. I have been able to find the balance/perspective that I need. I am truly thankful for the company that I work for and the manager that I am now under. I made a decision to step down from a management position and move more into a technical role. This allows me more flexible, a different type of exposure corporately and I can still move up the career chain just in a different direction.
My manager is very understanding as she has child of her own and her husband travels a lot as well. I have learned how to “phase my home situations” more carefully. My managers know that I will put in the overtime (when necessary), take on new projects and tasks, however; I will also still not let that effect my time at home with my daughter and her needs. The key is making sure that you are never seen as “the person with the kid(s)” at work. You still need to remain available and able to live up to the work ethic that management expects. It will call for some nights work late after you put your child to bed, but if you balance then those nights will be few and far apart.
This has become very challenging now that my ex has moved several miles away and only sees her once a month or so. But I have a great boyfriend that will help out with her that understands how important my career is. I also have 2 loving parents that will also help me when I need. I am truly blessed in many ways. I also learned along the way that it is okay to ask for the help. That I don’t have to do it alone. That I don’t have to be “supermom” all the time.
I also had to change my personality. I was A+ personality all the way and now I am probably an A- personality (LOL). I found perspective and balance. I still work hard and working up the corporate ladder, just not as quickly as before. I find time for myself when necessary and continue to be the best mom that I can be.
It is not easy but someone has to do it!