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Ashley Connors – Working Mother Essay

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION  | 

Early in my working mother journey, I was lucky enough to cross paths with a mentor who gave me incredible advice that has stuck with me and helped me navigate the balance of motherhood and career. She said, “You can’t be the best mom, wife, daughter, friend and employee all at the same time.”

As women and mothers, we tend to want to do everything for everyone and do it all at the same time. Understanding that there are times when work demands will need to be my focus and other times my family will be my priority has helped me alleviate, or at least lessen, my working parent guilt. I try to achieve work life balance on a more macro level and look at my year as a whole. In public accounting, it’s impossible to have the perfect balance and focus all year. When work demands are tough during certain parts of the year, I remind myself that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, that light being more family time.

A second piece of advice I received just prior to returning to work from my maternity leave with my first daughter came from my mom. At the time, I was concerned about explaining to my managers that certain days of the week I needed to leave exactly at 5 p.m. to be home in time for my husband to leave for work. My mother said to me, “You are a good employee; your employer will be good to you.” I remind myself of this when a family priority comes up, such as having a sick kid at home. Sometimes parenting needs to take precedence over a work commitment, and it’s a lot easier to ask for grace when you consistently deliver on your roles and responsibilities. I believe this to be true for any employee, working parent or not.

While I don’t feel working mother guilt ever truly goes away or doesn’t exist, with the right mindset its impact on your career and family can be lessened.