Raising Children While you Work: Balance & Benefits

January 30th, 2011   •   10 comments   

I’m thankful that my children do not read my blog or log onto my website.  At this teen and pre-teen stage of their lives, they have zero interest in what I do professionally.  They do however think I have a “cool job” and they have mentioned on occasion that they appreciate my earning some extra bucks to fund the things they like to do. (Like keep the heat on and put food on the table, I often reply). I was looking through my photos on my laptop and discovered these here obviously taken while they were clowning around with my computer.  I could never take any pics that would better reflect their true personality as these do and I’m so pleased to have discovered them.  Priceless!

I have been thinking about some of the facebook posts I’ve seen lately from some of the working moms I know.  They have posted things like this:  “I wish I could stay home and do crafts or bake cookies with the little one today”…”It would be a great day to take my kids to the zoo but I’m working today,”  Trust me when I say: I GET IT!  It is very hard to strike the work/mom/home balance.  I’m all for equal rights and I know dads feel this way too some but I believe in maternal instincts and most of them are in the mom (I’m not going to argue they don’t exist in men and I’m not saying here that I’m right about it all but I’m writing this from my perspective). There have been many days–especially when mine were really little–that I wondered if working was a luxury, a necessity, or selfish on my part.  Probably a bit of each.  Looking back, I’m thankful I continued working full-time including launching and growing my own business.  Having children has actually helped advance my career.  It is easy? Heck no. There were–and still are–days when I thought I’d never get one minute of time for myself.  It does get easier in some ways as they get older and the guilt of not being there vanishes when you realize they get to the age when they’d rather NOT have you around all the time.  

Here’s a list of how I think having & raising children has directly impacted my career and PR:

  • Children teach you that you don’t know everything (even when you think you do)
  • Children act like children and sometimes so do co-workers & clients–great training!
  • Children have fresh eyes and the ability to think out of the box which helps me think that way
  • Children teach you not to take things so seriously and to laugh at your mistakes
  • Children teach you time management–gone are the days of doing what you want whenever you want
  • One of the best lessons from children: patience 
  • Children can view an issue from many perspectives giving us diverse thinking
  • Children can lobby for what they want even before they speak 
  • Children are creative; I sometimes get mine to help me brainstorm on creative ideas/campaigns
  • Children are tech savvy and they’ll teach me what I need to learn
  • Teenagers can find anything on You-Tube; My son is like a walking encyclopedia
  • Children teach humility and gratitude which I believe are keys to success in business
  • Children are resilient, forgiving and tolerant: qualities needed in business

I’d love to hear some of your own experiences. I think this list could go on indefinitely!  In closing, my hat is off to all you working moms (and dads) out there and especially to the single parents! Has raising children while you work had any impact on you?

10 comments

  1. Wendi Hill says:

    Amy, you read my mind! I constantly go back and forth if I should cut back, juggle better or just keep going. Launching a business with little ones may be crazy, but it gives you flexibility, which has made it easier.

    You are so right. The older they get, it does get easier (no longer feeling daycare/nanny guilt). And I'm glad I didn't stay out of the working world. A lot has changed in the past several years, and I'm glad I've been able to be a Mom and work/keep up with the times!

    Wendi

  2. Amy Howell says:

    Wendi: Great comments! And it is true that staying in the workforce is important for keeping current. Especially in the last 5 years. Thanks for the comment:)

  3. Mark Brisson says:

    I am a CPA / Financial planner working with a client couple with (by most standards) have a very good income – upward of $500k/yr. They have incessant buget problems because as I try to convince them – they cannot afford the two or three nannys, day care, private school tuition, and after school programs required for their three children ages 1 – 6.

    I have spent an hour trying to find examples of the kind of income people (that can afford it) spending this extravagantly on their kids have to make to sustain their life styles. I found an article in the Washington Post that was fairly on point but was so flip I would risk insulting my clients by asking them to read it. I need to move them from the river of D' Nile to the icy arctic so they might wake up.

    In my research I found your blog and wonder if you would have a ready resource or would consider digging in – seeing that you recently addressed this. I am reaching for the rope.

    Thanks if you or any readers can help.

  4. amy Howell says:

    Mark: Wow…500k is a great income and well above what 90% of the rest of everyone makes. It sounds to me like they are digging their own hole and perhaps won't listen. There is great information online about how our economy's "re-set" button has been pushed and people need to focus on being more efficient, conservative and realize that we can all live a simplified lifestyle. The new economy demands that we save more, spend less (most people). This is my opinion and I'm not a financial consultant so that's the best answer I have for you! Good luck and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. Wendi Hill says:

    It's me again. The post about the $500K couple has disturbed me since I read it yesterday. What's happened to basic budgeting 101? Spend less than you make. Believe it or not, $500K only goes so far. Live within your means and save a little for the future!

    Probably an oversimplification….

  6. amy Howell says:

    Agree Wendi! Budgeting 101. If you don't have it, you can't spend it. I would think most people in today's new economy would appreciate that! Thanks for adding…

  7. Kathy Meyer says:

    Hi Amy, I definitely GET IT and can relate! I have to say that an eye-opening experience for me was when I went to the Parent Teacher Conference last year. The 3rd grade teacher was relaying how amazed she was at my son's writing skills and the depth of detail. So I scanned a whole bunch of stories he wrote chuckling as I read. Then one story REALLY grabbed my attention. It was an "All About My Mommy" story. It started off by saying, "…my mommy is constantly on the computer for her work and side business. She is on the computer early in the morning and late at night, so we play only sometimes after dinner and on the weekend…" Wow! It was like a slap of reality that hit me! And it was at THAT moment I realized, I needed more balance in my life (and my hubby couldn't agree more)! It's a constant struggle trying to fit everything in but "family time" is extremely important, and so yes, time management is essential! Thank you for posting this great article Amy! My hat goes off to you!! ;D ~ Kathy

  8. Amy Howell says:

    Kathy: Great comment my friend. I have the luxury of spending a bit more time working–which includes my "Twitter time" now that my kids are a bit older. However, now, I think setting a good, balanced example is important so I'm teaching them that while work is important and essential, so is play. I try and write or blog when they are asleep which is usually early in the morning or late; Cheers to balance and enjoying kids while you can. They grow up way too fast.

  9. Tara Milligan says:

    Amy, I hope you remember me from my days at MBJ. I love this post. My little guy is 13 now, and what an adventure we are on together! I'm so glad I know about your blog now. Take care and it's great "seeing" you again!

  10. amy Howell says:

    Tara! OF COURSE I remember you!! Great to see you! I can't believe you baby is a teenager! Wow. Great to see you here! Email me and tell me what you are doing!

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