Time, giving your little ones attention, client deadlines, to-do lists; there are a lot of things that moms try to “balance.” But before we get any further here, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
There is no such thing as balance. You can’t do it all.
Take it from a mom CEO (Chief Of Everything), GUILT is what governs most working mothers as they make a decision to work through one last email past 5pm while they block out all the noises from the children around the house who require her attention. To those that are emotionally able to separate guilt from earning and deadlines, the guilt trip has fallen away, because the work has to be done.
This is a reality of the mental state of thousands of women around the world, even more for women of color who joined the race later than the rest. The vote to take on a seat at the table in an executive boardroom is driven by accolades presented at the door before the opinion can be considered as rational, but Alas, she has dusted herself and built the confidence to take on the seat – deservedly so because she has worked hard for it.
Telenovelas make it look so easy, you watch a woman successfully parent her children, maintaining a romantic relationship with their spouse, keeping a clean house, running a business, buying groceries and making dinner every night, and still find time to read or paint or go to school extra murals or even exercise.
Sounds like fiction for a strategist at a digital agency – I think I took on the wrong role, I should have been a creative, daydreaming, bringing dreams into life for myself and the brands that I work on, but life directed me towards leadership and strategy – I am not complaining.
And let me stop you before you give me that “we all have the same hours in a day” story. Sure, Michelle Obama has done incredible things with those same 24 hours in a day, but I’m 1000% sure that she has a nanny, a chef, a house cleaner, and a personal trainer. She’s not actually doing it all, either.
The actual word “balance” means having an even distribution, remaining upright and steady, or something in equal proportion. But in motherhood, that does not exist.
This piece is dedicated to all the queens who are proudly wearing their crowns even when they don’t feel like they deserve it, for all those women who lead quietly without shouting the loudest so society can recognize their work, but results speak for themselves.
The women that have taken forever to speak about the struggles they face as they juggle their professional careers, further studying and motherhood.
You are not alone, many of us feel the same way, but the same guilt that we hold when we feel like we should attend more soccer games or help more with school projects and make better lunch boxes than the soccer mums which we promise to improve at day in and out which turns into years – I would like to stand first and say it’s okay. It’s okay if we can’t manage to complete reports and presentations in time to get the Best Mom Award – there is no award, there is only happy kids and fulfilled parents, and that should be the goal. For us to provide the best we can while we work hard and for our children to recognize that we are trying our best. But we owe it to ourselves to run in our roles and chase our careers without shame.
Take a deep breath and pat yourself on your back working mum – you are doing okay. You don’t have to choose between being a mum or building a career. You can just be the best possible version of yourself , take your seat and know that you are doing your best.
Shout out to all the moms doing their part and still raising amazing future bosses. Share some love and send to another mum-executive.
Main Image: Daisy Nkuka Mulenga