Have you heard of the concept “Mastering Motherhood”? To me, it represents an unrealistic standard that moms have to strive for an idealized version of motherhood, and one that often excludes career-oriented goals. I’ve learned through hard experience that chasing after ideals rarely ends in success.
Forget the idea of balance
There is no true work-life balance. I don’t have a “work self” and “home-self.” Instead, they are both part of the larger picture that makes up my life.
Do away with “Mom Guilt”
You can feel guilt but do not have it be an excuse to hold YOU back from your own passion. Moms often feel lots of guilt in relation to their careers, but men never do. It may mean having a hard conversation with your partner about working the “second shift,” but ultimately you will be able to be more personally fulfilled in the long run.
I founded my own business, and in doing so, gave myself the agency to set my own schedule and prioritize my life and career in a way that makes sense as a mom. It was a huge leap, but it’s impacted me and the women on my team.
Give Yourself Permission to be Imperfect
Instead of always making lemonade out of lemons, just remember that lemons aren’t so bad. We are most connected with humanity in these imperfect spaces in life. Empathy is so important in the workplace and as a mother.
Stories are important
Stories teach us lessons about how we can strive to be better humans, not perfect ones. Instead of trying to “master motherhood,” try to incorporate useful lessons into your daily practices.
Be Assertive and Unapologetic
Women are often called “aggressive” when they simply advocate for themselves. I’ve found that as a mom especially, men don’t expect us to prioritize our careers and really be unapologetic about seeking success. Don’t hold back just because of peoples’ perceptions.
Instead of viewing motherhood as an impediment to your career, treat it as a resource for being a more effective leader and team member. There is constant pressure on moms to master motherhood, and in doing so, halt their careers. I view it as simply living a holistic life, as a mother, entrepreneur, and team leader. My career is important to me, but it isn’t my “everything.” My life as a mother and a business owner has been about making mistakes and learning from them. There is no way to separate the lessons I’ve learned from each role. For me, it’s not about “Mastering Motherhood” or “Mastering Work,” instead it’s a never-ending process of seeking self and striving for my own personal brand of success.
This guest post was authored by Angela Engel
Angela Engel grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and now lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and three daughters. She worked in traditional publishing for many years, at award-winning presses such as Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and Cameron + Company, but launched her own publishing company in 2019. With The Collective Book Studio, Engel has the opportunity to provide authors the support they need to get a book out into the world, from start to finish.