How To Contribute As A Working Mother In A Way That Works For You

Published: 20th November 2016
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When I was a kid, I couldn't bear the thought of finishing in second place. I believed that I could do anything and never wanted to settle for anything less than the very best. This is probably why my career evolved into outside sales, competition feels comfortable to me.

The desire to be "number one" always motivated me to work hard at school and put forward my best at work, but it took me a long time to learn how to distinguish between being the best and doing my best.

My pursuit of perfection stretched far and wide. And it has gotten the better of me many times. I've stayed up too late on a school night making cookies from scratch for a bake sale. I've made handmade Christmas cards when I really did not have the time, the energy, or the skill. I even tried to sew a Halloween costume without ever having sewn more than a button! Why did I do these things? I was trying to be perfect.

Today, there is so much outside pressure to be a "perfect" mother in our society that it's almost impossible to avoid falling into the trap. We hold ourselves up to an ideal of homemade dinners, hand-sewn Halloween costumes, and over-booked family schedules.

This chapter is about letting go of your need for perfection in both the personal and professional areas of your life. By learning to be satisfied with store-bought costumes or limited commitments, you will have more time to spend with your family and that's what really matters.

Contribute in your own way. I would love to be able to say that I attended every class trip, volunteered for all monthly events at my children's school, and raised money for several worthwhile causes--all while holding a full-time job. But the unfortunate reality is that I simply can't do everything. And truth be told, I don't really want to.

I enjoy working. I don't work because I have to; I work because I want to. And I understand that I'm very lucky to be able to say this, as many moms can't. So it makes sense, then, that if given the choice of working or visiting the local zoo with 30 nine-year-olds, I would choose work nearly every time. Do I love doing things like that with my family? Absolutely! Do I want to burn through my limited number of vacation days just because I see other mothers contributing this way? No.

A useful trick is to find tasks that utilize your talents and skills, but don't take a lot of time. Need someone to tally up something in a spreadsheet? Sure, in a flash. Have a school newsletter to be designed? I'm happy to put my desktop publishing skills to work! Want someone to raise some cash for a worthwhile cause? You are looking at the best girl for the job.

The advantages are two-fold when you choose tasks that utilize your skills: you can complete these volunteer jobs easily by playing to your strengths, and you'll still feel good about your contribution.

Getting working mom organized means you'll feel more on top of things in all aspects of your life. You'll feel in control of home while you're at work, and in control of work while you're at home. No matter how many papers, emails, activities, or bills your family produces, once you get working mom organized, everything will seem much less daunting--and then you'll be surprised how much more smoothly things seem to go.


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