“If you want me to do the job, you’ve got to pay me to do the job and you’ve got to give me flexibility, and flexibility means that I will work my tail off for you, but you better pay me and value my family.” - Michelle Obama
Showing up fearless in a working world where men have dominated for years and years is not something that can be easily done... especially as a mother. There tends to be an art that needs to be applied when trying to achieve being a force to be reckoned with in the workplace but also an awesome mother in the home. I look up to so many mothers who have learned how to achieve this balance. Mothers like Michelle Obama, Susan Wojcicki, and Indra Nooyi continue to inspire me to achieve greatness at work but also build greatness in my home. One of the mothers that has influenced my ability to find balance is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook & mother of two ( The Epitome of a Career- Driven Mom). As a single mom, she has mastered the art of balancing work and motherhood. Her thoughts on achievement in home and career have impacted my outlook on life. I have strived to model my perseverance in my career and motherhood journey after pieces of advice that I've received from Sheryl. I want to share with you 3 bits of advice that keep me in balance at work and allow me to become a better mom in the home.
1. You don't have a brand, you have a voice!
At work, we tend to see ourselves as a brand. We act as if we are walking billboards for the "image" we are trying to sell. I don't find associating myself as a brand to be truly genuine. We are not brands! As Sheryl Sandberg said it best, "You are not a tube of toothpaste, you are not Colgate. You are a human being with a voice." To create a balance of work and motherhood you have to stop thinking of yourself as something that is non-human because you will begin to lose the humanistic characteristics that make you an awesome leader and an amazing mom. Remember that you are human and that you think differently, and that it is okay to have emotions and feel. Every day is different and every day you can be filled with a different emotion and that is perfectly okay. It is human! Use your voice and not your "brand" to communicate what you would like to see, what you want to be done, how you wish to see the organization change and improve. You can master this same practice in your own home by not pretending to have it all together. Your children know the real you! They see right through that "tough mom" brand you're trying to show. They know when you're exhausted. They know when you're sad. Be vulnerable yet strong and use your voice to be a change agent in your workplace and home!
2. Bring your whole self to work!
Sometimes we have taught ourselves that our professional self is the only thing that should walk through the door at 8am. I believe that who ever came up with this theory, clearly had a horrible work life balance! You should bring your whole self to work every single day. Any pieces that you try to leave home are preventing you from becoming a dynamic leader in the workplace. If I had a horrible drop off with Romeo this morning. I am going to come in work with that on my mind. That vulnerability will allow me to make decisions and provide input that others may not have. Diversity of experiences matter! Me being a black, young, single mother raised in the south and so on, should all walk through that door with me every single day! I can't and refuse to leave any of the things that make me who I am at the door because of the fear of judgement. Bringing your whole self helps you achieve balance because you are no longer mentally turning a part of you on and off. You are being your genuine and authentic self which allows you to be thoughtful and make responsible decisions that will positively affect your career and your home! Another quote from the great Sheryl Sandberg, " Bring your whole self to work. I don't believe we have a professional self Monday through Friday and a real self the rest of the time. It is all professional and it is all personal."
3. FOCUS & Do Your Best!
As cliche' as it sounds, doing your best is the only way to achieve optimal balance of motherhood and work. As a working mother, some days are filled with mountains of to-dos. When you have nothing to start with, you have everything to do which is why you need to understand focus. If you focus on completing tasks a step at a time and do the best you can on each task you are understanding the art of achieving success professionally and personally. No one is perfect but if you can leave work and say "I did my best" and lay your head down on your pillow at night and say to yourself " I did my best" then you are rocking it mama! “Trying to do it all and expecting it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy. Gloria Steinem said it best: 'You can't do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic 'til dawn... Superwoman is the adversary of the women's movement.' ” Sheryl Sandberg! The mission is and always will be to do your best! Repeat this mission often and you will continue to overcome and succeed at home and at work!
For a mom that wants to be successful by any means necessary, she must learn balance in the workplace. I always feel that if I am being a great employee then I know I am being an even better mom. I need that achievement at work to push me to go even harder in the home. I know that I am not alone when it comes to this thought process. I hope these help you and encourage you to master the art as a professional and a mother.