Let’s face it, having a family does have an impact on our life – on our relationships, our health and our career and given what we’ve witnessed (to date) with working parents re-entering the workforce, it’s no wonder the headlines today (only one day after International Women’s Day) still show that “women at work worry that starting a family will impact their career”.
Being made redundant while on mat leave; confronted with derogatory comments about women leaving the office at 5pm to take care of their family; or having to take a pay cut or scale back to a part-time role because the company they work for can’t see how it’s possible to have a senior leader on anything but full-time in the office; are issues that are stripping women of their confidence in juggling their role as a mother with their career.
We may not be able to change the opinions, views and behaviours of others, and while we cannot always change what happens around us, we do have a say about creating the life we want and how our future turns out!
It’s not as though we don’t have the answers, sometimes we just need a little reminder about what we know to be true and here are 4 things we know to be true:
Worrying about “what might happen” has no bearing on reality – not only is it impossible to predict the future, but it’s also impossible to predict what anyone else is thinking or how anyone will respond. Start challenging your perspective because “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’ll be right” – Henry Ford
If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future. If you’re at peace, you’re living in the present.
It’s hard to predict what will happen when you have kids, and if you’re anything like the hundreds of women I’ve spoken with about what does happen when they have kids, all that worry and planning often goes out the door – because 99% of the time it never goes the way they think.
Sure you may have valid concerns about the changes you need to make, or the conversations you may need to have; but worrying about them and not taking any action is not serving you.
Our thoughts, feelings and emotions are often a sign that something is missing – and much like sadness, grief or anger, “what you resist will persist” – Carl Jung.
Emotional agility is the process by which we cannot ignore our thoughts and emotions because they are a part of who we are” – Susan David.
Our access to having power in the face of our circumstances (and rewriting our future) – whether it’s juggling a family with our career, business or entrepreneurial paths (or any other challenge for that matter), is to approach our thoughts and feelings with compassion and curiosity.
If you’re stuck in a world of concern, then perhaps it’s time you stopped focussing on what doesn’t work (with the simple act of acknowledging that it’s not helping) and start focussing on what you do want.
Are you backing yourself and taking the actions you know to take, or are you stuck believing ‘it’s not possible to have what you really want”, or that “it’s too hard to have what I really want”.
Believe it or not, as human beings we only do things that have us win in life; so if focussing on what you want is not giving you an access to the results you want, then perhaps you want to ask yourself “What am I winning at?”
The opportunity here is to challenge yourself on the game you’re playing, and ask yourself whether this is really what you want? Once you work out what you really want, then with compassion and courage, start taking actions consistent with what you want.
No-one said it would be easy, but remember “A thousand mile journey, starts with a one single step” – Dalai Lama
You have everything you need to get what you want, you just got to believe it’s possible. Sure it takes courage, but remember having courage does not mean you’re not afraid, having courage means telling the truth about what you’re afraid of (eg losing your job, failing as a mother) and despite the fear, take the action anyway.
Courage is not something we are born with, it’s something you get once you’ve taken action in the face of your fear – and remember, fear is not real. Fear comes from that part of our brain that’s designed to protect us from danger. The only problem is the brain doesn’t know the difference between fear of a confronting a lion in the jungle, or having to deal with a difficult conversation with our partner, boss or ourselves.
If we’re to have any impact on women successfully juggling their career with having a family, then as women we must start with backing ourselves and being the brave, bold leaders we truly know ourselves to be.
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