By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. My organization is not family friendly, and I just found out I'm pregnant. I am superb at my job, have a good track record, and don't want to stop working. Do you have any suggestions for women about balancing babies and career?
A. Yes, there are ongoing debates about motherhood and work, but most studies have discovered that what is good for the kids is what is good for the mother. Happy moms tend to have much happier kids.
Here are some other facts that women trying to juggle work and kids may want to consider: Most women in today's economy cannot afford to stay home full-time and support a middle-class lifestyle. If you have to work, you are in the majority of moms. And stay-at-home moms are the biggest users of antidepressants in the country. Being a mom full-time may look like easy work, but there is no paycheck, no praise and no time for you. Plus, most moms are isolated at home with demanding short people. The combination of isolation, no breaks and no external rewards is very emotionally stressful.
Some women have discovered that when children are small, creative job scheduling may give them the best of both worlds. Some women start small businesses before they get pregnant and work fewer hours for more money. Some women pitch their managers on making their full-time job a job-share arrangement. Other women discover that their manager will let them work from home part of the time.
All women find that getting help (teenage babysitters, family or neighbors) is essential to sanity if they are going to have kids and a career. Even though most studies have found that men who help with housework get a lot more sex, most women still do the lion's share of housework. You are not weak or lazy if you get help with cooking, cleaning or childcare; you are just being a skilled house management executive.
Whatever you decide, understand that you are about to add an 18- to 20-year new job commitment to your life. Also realize that your new assignment will grow up and (if you've done a good job) fire you.
When you work while raising kids, you'll remind yourself that you have unique talents and interests beyond your family. When you raise kids while working, you'll remind yourself that the people we love are always our greatest achievement.
Realize that whatever any expert says, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to balancing work and motherhood. The right answer is the one that works for you, your husband and your family.
The last word(s)
Q. I have made a great deal of money for my company, but no one ever acknowledges my contribution. I'm a guy who was raised to believe it is inappropriate to brag about my hard work. Is there a way to get more rewards for my efforts?
A. Yes, become "inappropriate." If you don't start to publicly mention your hard work, you might as well be winking at a pretty girl you like in a dark room.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). Contact her at www.interpersonaledge.com
or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the January 1, 2012 - January 14, 2012 Edition