The Famous Dish on Work Life Balance

Day 5 of my series on Work-Life Balance

Asides from the working mothers that surrounded me as I was growing up, 2 of the working mothers that I admire the most are Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. NOT because of their husbands' politics but because I see a bit of my life reflected in theirs. Both had their kids in their early 30s, so did I. Both had jobs outside the home before and after having kids, so do I. Both have worked in male-dominated professional environments and survived; I'm in the same boat and hope to come out strong.


Most importantly, I look at their children and think they are a pride to any parent. Behind every admirable child is a parent that worked their butt off to instill values in that child. That they did so while juggling careers and limelight is admirable. 

   

Hillary Clinton on tailoring your career to suit your family situation: "I’m not sure that I ever could have or would have run for the Senate, or for president, or had the job I currently have when my daughter was young. I think I would have been so conflicted and torn apart every trip I made, every weekend I missed. But I was lucky that I always worked; I always had that balance. I have had a lot of wonderful jobs. But my public career really came after Chelsea was grown." Quote from here
Michelle Obama on the stress of the perpetual balancing act: “I personally… know the challenges of leading a busy life at work and at home, trying to do a good job at both — and always feeling like you’re not quite living up to either — and trying not to pit one against the other, really trying to balance it so that — if people here are like me — I call myself a 120-percenter,” she said. “If I’m not doing any job at 120 percent, I think I’m failing. So if you’re trying to do that at home and at work, you find it very difficult and stressful and frustrating.” Quote from here
Hillary Clinton on the quality vs quantity of time debate: "Like every working mother, there's guilt involved in deciding how you're going to balance family and work. I tried to put as much time into taking care of Chelsea myself as I could. Bill and I alternated reading to her every night; we'd try to have a meal together every day, whether breakfast or dinner. Once a week, one of us would pick what we were going to do that night. We might go to a movie or go bowling or play tennis. I remember one time, Chelsea was about 3-and-a-half, and what she wanted to do was buy a coconut and crack it open, because she'd never seen that before. I think it's a false trade-off to say quality time versus quantity — you have to have both. So if you have long work hours like I did, how do you get rid of things in your life you don't need in order to put that extra time into your children?" Quote from here
Michelle Obama on the importance of consistency for the kids: "I used to get up in the morning and go to an office. Now I get up and go to a plane. ... My kids still don't care where I am," she said. "They've always known two parents to work in the household and as long as we're back in time for bedtime, they could care less where we are." Quote from here


Dear mom reading this today, you are not alone. Others have done this before you and survived. Let their stories be an encouragement for you. Learn from them. 

I'll be writing about being a working mother throughout October and sharing my personal experiences. Emphasis on personal. I realise that everyone's situation is different and what works for me may not be the best for someone else.


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