The Blog

Why You Can Have a Successful Career and Be a Good Mother

Frustratingly, so often, as women, we're made to feel by others, undoubtedly perpetuated by the media and society as a whole, that we cannot lead, achieve and reach the top of our profession, while raising a young family.

We're often scared to follow our professional dreams as mothers aren't we?

You, I, no doubt many women reading this blog post (those not yet mothers too) feel career goals must take a back burner if we want to procreate, despite most of us desiring to have both-kids and a career we love and need.

Frustratingly, so often, as women, we're made to feel by others, undoubtedly perpetuated by the media and society as a whole, that we cannot lead, achieve and reach the top of our profession, while raising a young family.

That being a mother is somehow at odds with being a professional success.

We're told over and over again that we simply can't have it all-that frankly we can't be ambitious, career-loving mothers achieving in both areas of our lives, without someone missing out, that someone being our kids, or us.

We're made to feel we will be plagued with guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and relentless fear for our jobs and family life (and in the inability of achieving any kind of balance or happy medium) if we want to follow our work goals, as much as our personal ones.

That we must compromise our dreams and who we are because we've chosen to have children.

But why?

Men's love for their kids is never questioned if/as they pursue and strive for success in the workforce.

Women's pursuits are, daily.

We often feel the need to explain our choices, validate our professional desires, or worse, dumb them down, ensure others are aware of when we're with our kids, that they're not missing out, while trying not to appear too openly driven. Too ambitious. Too outspoken on our goals.

Well, a huge NO to that.

Yes, there is vast inequality in the workforce meaning women rightly worry they will lose their positions, power and pay packets once pregnant or post-maternity leave, because the support and flexibility for parents in so many industries just simply isn't there.

That's the real inequality and sexism of work life in 2015.

Yet, from that real lack has come great possibility with many enterprising women rising, determined to follow their dreams-with more mothers than ever, setting up their own businesses/ blogs, or opting to go freelance, redefining their work terms and time frames, leading the way for others.

There's a long way to go but the shift is evident and it's truly inspiring.

Personally, my children made me more creative.

They encouraged me to be more ambitious, fearless and ultimately, determined to succeed. For them, as much as for myself.

They indirectly helped me to utilise the little time I had, particularly on maternity leave, in the most productive way. I became much more prolific as a writer and more committed and focused on my craft. It's remarkable just how much can be done during nap times and in spite of an aching body and sleep-deprived mind.

Creativity, throughout time, has always been borne from limitations, restrictions be it time or money, and those early days of what felt like a vast direction-less mile of time ahead, as with many other women, opened a new window of creative growth for me, to eureka moments and risk taking, in doing and nurturing something just for myself.

I started this blog during the lowest ebb of my life, after a traumatic birth-yet I turned Honest Mum into the business it is now, with employees and a changed direction career-wise going from a film and TV director to a full time blogger and wearer of many hats from presenter to consultant and beyond.

Having kids totally refined my multi-tasking skills, and undoubtedly overcoming adversity (which we all do to varying degrees, post-shock of the first baby in particular, and the realisation that somehow we're all now adults-ish) can (eventually) be empowering.

I've got through THIS, now I can do ANYTHING.

Yet, it's exactly at this poignant time, we crave stability, the reassurance that there are still options open for us work wise, that women are so frequently made to feel powerless, that perhaps we must sacrifice our ambition and goals because we are now with child.

But more so, that quiet voice in our heads or detected in the context of others' conversations and questions, that we can't be a good mother if we want both can stop us in our tracks. Particularly for those wanting a full time career with a family. I feel it, I hear it. We're millennial mums but it's there. It's present, and it's wrong.

My kids are loved, adored, nurtured and supported. Being freelance has enabled me to feel in control of my career, busier than ever, yes, but I have more time off than pre-kids and I am available for my children physically and emotionally, as is my husband.

I have a greater purpose to succeed now I'm a mother. I'm a role model to my kids, I contribute financially in my household, and equally, and have independence, feel a strong sense of self and most of all, I'm content.

Every day I'm hustling (!), juggling many balls (some I drop, many I don't), I'm there for my sons and my husband, and I'm there for myself, working in a career that challenges and excites me, from school runs to runways (LFW was amazing darlings), yet I'm present and I'm doing my best.

It's thanks to equality in the house as much as the work place though, the sharing of raising a family, the onus being on us both to share the parenting duties.

And when we have that and can juggle parenting with work we must then fight the guilt, fathers rarely feel or are conditioned not to feel, because it's frankly a disservice to ourselves, and to our children.

Happy parents equal happy children. If you want to work, the guilt is futile. I know I need to work to feel my best, to feel happy and content.

So please, let's ALL unite and celebrate one another's successes, let's support each other's goals and dreams, big or small, while accepting everyone is different in their paths and wants (choosing or needing to work or not).

Importantly let's stop questioning, 'How does she do it?' when it comes to working mums because we do it from a yearning and a need, and that's OK, that's more than OK- it's nourishing and fulfilling, and frankly ACE.

More so, we can, for certain be professional successes and good mums too. Those terms are, and must always be synonymous, so let's please stop anyone from making us feel otherwise.

From one Mum Boss to another, all power to us.

Vicki writes at Honest Mum and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.