The prospect of climbing the corporate ladder while raising happy, healthy kids is daunting, especially for women. Most have been expected – either by others or themselves -- to keep the family running while at the same time fostering their career objectives. As more women take leadership roles, they’ve put practices in place to help combat the “mom guilt” that often comes from time missed with family while chasing career ambitions. Here are some insights.
Build your support system
Annie Daniel, senior vice president and managing director, Corporate and Institutional Banking (C&IB) at PNC, says she made a calculated decision to “lean on her tribe” — her extended family — by making it a priority to live close to them. “My support system is critical when it comes to travel and working late nights,” she says. “When you talk about having a village, that’s critically important.”
Mandy Fritz, PNC C&IB vice president and relationship manager, suggests extending your tribe to your internal network. “Every female should be articulating her career goals and objectives on a continual basis to managers, advocates and mentors,” she said. That way, when you need to take time for your family or have an extended maternity leave, your network of people can speak for you while you aren’t around, she says.
Keep things in perspective
Some days, having it all means just making it to tomorrow, said Fritz. “It means taking things day by day, and giving yourself some grace,” she added. “You can’t be all things to all people at all times. Stay on track with your goals and priorities, especially after having kids, and you’ll bounce back and be where you wanted to be pre-having kids when you can.”
For Daniel, perspective also means ignoring what other people think. “It’s not their life, it’s your life. Go be your most authentic self with confidence,” she says. “There is no defined path to a goal, pave that path the way you want to and the way that works for you!”
Focus on the positive
Daniel has slowly come to recognize that nobody actually “has it all,” and that realization has been a blessing. She focuses on pursuing her career to the level she wants while also being fully present with her family when she can. Fritz, meanwhile, cautions women to not compare their beginning to somebody else’s middle. While you might not be able to take on as much as you did prior to having kids, if you focus on what it takes to achieve in your role, the success will come.
Both women caution that it can take a while to find your balance, but as more parents in the workplace set positive examples, hopefully the idea of “mom guilt” will subside. After all, Daniel also understands that when she misses something on the home front, what her two girls are seeing is a strong female role model following her career dreams. And what could be better than that?