It does not matter if you are an entrepreneur or employee, a work from home mother or commuting 9 to 5’er. It doesn’t even matter if you are a full time stay at home mother with aspirations of starting your own business or returning to the workforce, family will always affect your career, for better or worse. Unfortunately most women are not afforded the same conveniences as men when it comes to juggling family and career. Mothers and caregivers are always on duty and on call, no matter their title at work.
Sure, being in a more senior or high paying position may allow leeway in hiring help, via nannies or housekeepers, but at the end of the day you are still mom, wife, daughter, sister, or caregiver no matter what your title at work is and, quite frankly, it is hard to wear all hats all of the time.
I can honestly say most, if not all of my career decisions were made from the vantage point of me someday having a family. I can recall being 28-years-old, no husband or children anywhere in sight and complaining to one of my good guy friends about having to leave the office later than I would like. I called him on the phone and barked, “What if I had a husband and family to get home to? This is unacceptable. I would NEVER stay at the office this late if I had children!”
My emphatic stance was thanks to my mother, who worked so much when I was a child that I was either drug along with her or left in the care of family and friends. She now admits that she put more focus on work than she would have cared to, but she was doing what she had to do to make a life for us.
It took me a while to admit to myself and others that every career decision I made from 2005 to present was in the hopes and preparation of having a family. Once I accepted the fact that I am supposed to be an entrepreneur, I determined that I would prefer to work from home as opposed to establishing a brick and mortar presence elsewhere. I planned my days out based upon my non-existent husband and children, realizing that I would have to be home to tend to the kids and, of course, I had to make sure my equally non-existent husband had dinner waiting on him as well when he got home. I remember having a conversation with one of my extremely driven girlfriends and telling her about many career opportunities I did not go for at that time because I knew the responsibility attached with that position would cause me to be away from my yet to come to fruition family, and I did not want to have to choose between work and family…ever.
I have heard about that struggle so much from my mother, as well as good girlfriends who had already started a family and were still in the workforce. They juggle being the “default parent,”even if they have a husband or partner in the home as well. Everything from dealing with getting the kids ready for school, worrying about child care, sick and snow days, school events, afternoon pick-ups, homework, and dinner all fell in their laps on top of the extreme work load at the job. I wanted no parts of that. In my mind, working from home would solve all of those problems. I would not have to worry about a commute if I worked from home and for myself, and I also would not have to worry about requesting time off to tend to my family.
What I did not plan for was the integration of my dreams as a work from home mother/wife and reality. I work for myself. I work from home. I care for my daughter while working from home, and let me tell you something, it’s difficult! Not as easy as I naively expected. On top of the motions that need drafting and articles that need penning, she needs to be engaged and loved on, and my hungry husband comes home expecting food, no matter what work I have to complete!
Though I crafted the perfect working environment for me and my now existent family which includes a husband and 5 month old daughter, some women find that being at work, in the traditional corporate sense, even with the responsibilities of a family and career, offers them the outlet they need to provide balance for them.
Does having a family affect career choices? Of course. Those choices are just subjective to each woman based upon their individual priorities, management capabilities and goals. No one working woman is the same, and that’s ok. Finding the perfect balance for you, your family and your goals is all that is important.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.