Motherhood & Career Planning - What will you choose?
Becoming a mother most likely creates a shift in your perspectives and your priorities in life. Like with any other major life change it offers the possibility to reflect on the path behind it and provokes the question of What next? While the mother AND father are facing a new era, it is especially challenging for the one who pauses a career and becomes the major caregiver. In this blog post, I reflect on the different family models and how to decide what’s best for you.
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The highway of life
Someone said to me that the timespan between your 20s and 40s feels like the highway of your life. There is a lot of traffic on the road for these two centuries: deciding on a career path and exploring different levels of responsibility within the professional world, while becoming a parent, juggling the two different worlds of high-priority emails, and exploded diapers.
Which family model is the one for me?
There are a couple of different models to cope with the traffic on this highway. Some families decide on external help while others are using the so-called Nacheinanderprinzip (German for one career after the other) where the role of the caregiver is handed over like a baton after the children are a bit older. Other couples are aiming for the concept of becoming a Dual-Career-Couple creating a major support network around them.
Working part-time is another scenario where a mix of both is aimed for. Interestingly enough, part-time has very different connotations in different countries. Germans, for example, are huge part-timers while Americans are more rooting for full-time.
I am discussing those different family models in my group coaching sessions for mothers (find out more here).
No matter which model will work for you there is one thing you will have to prepare for: The public opinion.
The public opinion - an unwanted guest
The public opinion is a special creature. I imagine her as a small, hairy, and very curious little monster who shows up in your life: unexpected, and uninvited. People share their beliefs and experiences out of generosity, the wish to help, and support but also out of jealousy and envy. It needs a good instinct to assess the motif correctly.
Finding your own model - the 5 C's
Listening to all the different advice out there can be very helpful to brainstorm your options. Looking beyond your own social bubble will help you to see options that you haven’t even been thinking about before. It can also help to look at other countries around the world to see how they are dealing with mothers rejoining the workforce. I clearly remember that for women in the US, it was no question at all to return to work early on while German mothers tend to evaluate staying at home for more than 1 year as totally appropriate.
In German, there is a special term for mums going back to work instead of staying at home: Rabenmutter. Rabenmutter directly translates to a raven’s mother but is defined as an uncaring mother. The fact that the US has no term for that shows how much the public opinion can vary.
To come to this point first: There is no right or wrong! It is just not written in stone. For every study that tells you that returning to work early will harm your child, there is another study showing that career women raise more self-confident daughters. In the end, you will find those statements and studies that will underpin your own beliefs and that is totally fine as long as your own beliefs are aligned with what you want in life and are not build solely on the world and opinions around you.
So the tools you need to make up your own mind are:
to explore different options that might work for you. Try also to search outside your bubble or culture.
to blend different models and define a mix that works for you as individuals.
keeping the communication open and proactive throughout the adventure of being a working family.
to face the well (or not so well) intended advice you will get from around you.
a support network that comforts you.
Community - it takes a village
The IT TAKES A VILLAGE mastermind group for mothers (starting June – join here) provides the space to find the courage and creativity to explore those options and see what works for you. Finding your very own family model is a complex one and for sure nothing that is set in stone but something that is adopted again and again to your changing needs. Therefore it is essential to have people around you that support you, who nourish your wish to create your own model without judgment or unwanted advice.
A community that provides a CAN DO atmosphere and develops a growth mindset. I was missing this kind of community myself. Hence I came up with the Mastermind Group for mothers. It’s a blended approach between community + coaching + accountability. A space that helps you to define your goals and holds you accountable for your progress. A space that inspires you, encourages you and provides space to work on you as a person rather than focusing only on motherhood. If you want to join put your email on this waitlist!
Thank you for following along! I would love to hear from you and your personal story of juggling family and business life! Let me know in the comments below or reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.