How Do You Define Yourself After Having Kids? Hierarchy of Self and Other Fun Thoughts

how do you define yourself after having kidsSo here’s a question that may sound odd: How do you define yourself after having kids? Are you a mother first, or a wife, or a lawyer [insert your job here], or a woman? Where does wife/daughter/friend play into the mix? What is your hierarchy of self? Do you have a strict one that you refer to when, say, decisions need to get made — or is it something that kind of fluctuates? Is your hierarchy of self at odds with anything, such as a) your partner’s or boss’s view of what comes first, or b) oh, reality? If you’ve made internal adjustments to your self-definition, why/how did you make those adjustments?

For me, for example,how do working moms define themselves after kids I think I myself am pretty far down the list. I would say I’m a mother first, a blogger/business owner second, then probably wife/daughter/sister, then friend, then lastly a woman. As certain people might say, Sad!

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Snow Days… and Working Parents

snow days and working parentsHere’s something we haven’t discussed: snow days… and working parents. In the midst of this week’s “bombcyclone” winter storm (hmm, how does that compare to “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse“?), we thought we’d share some tips on how to deal with a snow day as a working parent. All along the East Coast today, flights are being canceled, power outages are striking, and … schools are closing. Sure, it can be nice to spend a surprise day with your kids, but more often than not for working parents, that 5:00 a.m. school notification prompts more of a “Damn!” than a “Yay!” What about that important meeting or presentation or project (or all of the above) that was on your schedule? What about those errands you were going to run on your lunch break, gloriously sans kids?

Perhaps your nanny or other backup childcare strategy can make it to your house despite the snow, or maybe a grandparent can help out — or your partner can take one for the team. But when your nanny’s stuck at home because the plow company is nowhere to be found, or your mother-in-law doesn’t want to drive in a blizzard, or it was your spouse’s turn last time and now you’re up … what do you do?

Here are a few ways to (try to) be more productive when your kids are home unexpectedly — and to generally cope with a snow day as a working mom:

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How to Manage Up With Regard to Family Commitments

how to manage up with regard to family commitmentsHere’s a suggestion for a topic we got from folks who took the survey a while back: how can working moms “manage up” with regard to family commitments? Along similar lines, “how to explain your new life choices to an employer who is used to you working long hours”? I can’t wait to hear what you guys say — what’s YOUR best advice on managing up once you become a working mom, ladies?

(Pictured: Hall & Oates women’s tshirt (I Can’t Go for That- No Can Do), available at Etsy through Exit343design’s shop.) (Affiliate link.)

Just to throw in my $.02 of tips, I think a lot of it comes back to general advice on how to manage up:

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Advice on Work-Life Balance — To Your Pre-Mom Self

Advice on Work-Life Balance from Working Moms to Their Pre-Mom SelvesOver at Corporette, we recently rounded up some of the top advice readers have shared over the years for women wondering about getting pregnant — the planner’s guide to TTC, if you will. But moms, here’s the question for YOU today: What would you tell your younger, pre-kid self if you could? Is there any other major advice you’d impart to someone who wanted to get pregnant? Would you make any serious changes in your life, either on the family side or the career side, if you could? What’s your best advice on work-life balance, as a working mom, to your pre-mom self? 

I keep seeing stories like this one and this one where working moms talk about how they were total jerks to their parent coworkers before they had kids, and NOW they get it — why a 4:45 meeting is a bad idea, why you’re not lazy or antisocial if you don’t want to come out for drinks after work, why occasionally your family is more important. On the flip side, I’ve seen many comments from younger readers who are annoyed at all the work/life balance advice at conferences — they don’t think it’s helpful, they don’t think it’ll apply to them, they don’t understand why we constantly complain about it. I also see articles like this one and this one about how women are annoyed when they’re asked about work-life balance as moms. I understand their point if we’re talking about a situation in which there are, say, five parents on a panel and the men are all asked about their backgrounds and work while the only person asked about work/life balance is the mom — BUT, as someone who struggles with work/life balance, I wish it were talked about MORE, among all parents.

SO: What would you tell your pre-mom self about work/life balance, if you could? What do you wish you had known before you decided to get pregnant? In general, what’s your best advice for work-life balance from a working mom perspective?

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How to Level Up Your Childcare/Personal Help (When Money is No Object)

how to level up your childcare | extended options for very busy momsIf you’re a busy working mom, good childcare is a must — but what happens when a nanny doesn’t even begin to cut it? How can you level up your childcare and household management? (Warning: this post is not terribly budget-friendly.)

I’ve wanted to talk about this ever since I read this post from Penelope Trunk (written in 2008 but I first read it more recently than that) about hiring a house manager — an entire position I never knew existed but would love to have if money and time allowed. So if you need more than a nanny, let’s review the “additional childcare options for very busy moms” that I know of (beyond, obviously, getting your husband to be an equal partner and sharing parenting duties)…

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Do, Delegate, NOPE: Holiday Edition

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on holiday delegating ideas. Since it’s that time of year, you may also want to check out our posts on holiday business etiquette.

Let’s brainstorm, ladies: what are some of your best ideas for holiday delegating (or ignoring altogether)? I was thinking about that old game “F–, Marry, Kill” the other day (maybe it had something to do with our celebrity crush open thread over at Corporette) and thought we should start a new series here on CorporetteMoms that’s kind of in the same vein, but about work/life balance instead. For the moment we’re calling it “Do, Delegate, or NOPE.” Here’s the idea: as working moms we all have a ton of things on our calendars and to-do lists at any given time — some can be delegated, some ignored, but some you have to do yourself (or want to do yourself). We’ve talked about being overwhelmed at the holidays, picking the best gifts for your child’s teacher, etc., etc. — but let’s talk about the holiday to-do list in general. These are your options:

  • do — do it yourself, either because you enjoy it or want to make sure it gets done right
  • delegate — outsource/assign the task to someone else (partner, caregiver, third party) because you can
  • NOPE — just ignore the task completely because there’s no room for it in your life

I drew up a list of holiday-related tasks for moms, and you can comment below. For each category (do, delegate, nope), choose at least one of the tasks in the list. (It has Christmas-related things on there just because it takes a lot of bandwidth for me personally, but if you follow another religion please use those to-dos and traditions as well!)

I’m hoping this will be kind of fun — but maybe also we can learn a little from each other, recognize that some things can be delegated, and so forth. It can also be a helpful list to sit down with your partner at the beginning of next year’s season and say “OK, these are the things on my radar — what can you do, what can someone else do, what can we ignore?”

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