My little girl walked this morning. On her wobbly, 10 ½ month old legs, she took 3 confident steps to Dada who was already cheering her on. She did it a second time. Then a third, but it was to Mama this time (she took 4 steps with me <3).
Allison’s little venture across the living room made me consider all she has learned in the last 10 ½ months. Subsequently, it caused me to think about all the things I have learned about being a working mom.
Every mom’s experience is different. That said, here are things I’ve learned and held closely since becoming a mom with a career:
1. It’s ok to ask for help
This is the first lesson I learned, because I had no choice but to accept help. I had an emergency c-section. When I got home from the hospital, I couldn’t even lift my own legs into my bed. For days, my husband picked my feet up for me.
I had dozens of meals brought by family, friends, and church members. Each time someone asked if they could bring a meal, I said emphatically, “Yes!”
I was very much a “I will do everything myself” type person. “I’ll do it… Oh, I got that…” Now, Will flies solo on grocery shopping trips every single week and does far more around the house than I formerly would have dreamed. I got out of my own way and let him help – and I LOVE it. And yes, I know… he’s a good one. <3 <3
Even now, when people offer to help with something, I never turn it down for reasons of my own pride. When it comes down to it, the more I accept help that is offered, the more quality time I can have with my family.
2. Quality over quantity
Obviously, the quantity of time I spend with my daughter is less than a mother who is home throughout the day. I simply can’t beat quantity. I do, however, try really hard to focus on quality.
I let her bring out my happiness, so our time together is fun and positive. I try to never appear stressed – which isn’t hard, because playing with her makes me happy! I try to make the absolute most out of every moment with her whether it’s play time, diaper changing time, dinner time, or bath time. I put great effort into giving her my full attention rather than being distracted by my phone, chores, etc. This might sound daunting, but it really isn’t. When you and your baby are having a great time together, nothing else really seems important or worth your attention anyways.
3. Make special moments out of ordinary events
You can ask Will… I make everything a “thing.” Bath time? Oh, you mean Mommy/Allie song time. Car ride? Oh, you mean Mommy/Allie funny faces adventure. Laundry folding? You mean time for Daddy and Allie to play peak a’ boo with the clean towels. We try not to waste ordinary moments.
4. Understand your values
I have to understand why I feel called to this career. I’ve had to think through my passions, which admittedly, can seemingly be contradicting on occasion. I want to be the absolute best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and financial advisor that I can be. A lot of things demand attention. I’ve found a lot of peace by understanding why I do what I do.
5. Be honest with your employer
I’m thankful to have a healthy work environment that recognizes the importance of family. I was upfront that I was still very much committed to my job, but that I might need some more flexibility if my life was going to stay aligned with my values. Pre-motherhood, I might have tried to “be a good soldier” rather than voice what I needed to be successful.
6. Make time for your relationships
When you are juggling a dozen balls, you are bound to drop one on occasion. I’ve learned that my family and friend relationships can’t be those balls. Aside from Allison, my number #1 person I want to invest time with is Will. I’m lucky here. Will and I work one block away from each other and we get lunch together a couple of times a week. Not to be dramatic, but sometimes those lunches feel lifesaving.
7. Focus on your strengths
I’m not a good baker. I don’t have a knack for decorating, coming up with creative activities, or organizing fun play dates. I could let myself feel like a mom failure for not having an Instagram worthy life, or I can focus on doing what I’m good at. For the most part, that is making my daughter feel loved, important, and capable. (She doesn’t need much help on feeling capable part though… she is MISS INDEPENDENT).
Sometimes, at work, I become really focused on the bigger picture of a project or a client’s financial plan. I get super excited about envisioning what could be. Sometimes I get distracted from the little things like taking notes, saving files, etc. When I forget to do to some of those “little” things, I tend to feel like I’m failing. Perhaps you have a similar problem. We can’t dwell on the failures though. I’m in a constant state of learning how to enhance my strengths as an advisor, ask for help, and be consistent in follow through.
Adam and Tony, if I’m late next week, it’s probably just because I was recording Allison walk across the living room again. And thank you for letting me do that <3 I love being Mom to my little girl. I also love making finance down-to-earth and helping my clients progress towards financial freedom. I am so thankful I can do both.