"So, let's be real."
It all changed when I became a mom. Certainly not my ambition, nor my desire to continue learning, nor my hopes/dreams, but what my resume would say and how (or if) it would even matter that my most recent "resume" job would have a seemingly finite end date. On paper, I veered off my career path. I abruptly jumped out of an “always-on-an-airplane-travel-centric-work-lifestyle” kind of career in order to try to be the best mother that I could be. Opt-in/Opt-out, Lean-in/Lean-out are all semantics that we could spend hours debating. For me, it was a simple choice at the time. I couldn’t do/be both. It was very black and white.
But, its really not so simple. Its not so black and white. Its grey, yes, but its also mauve and turquoise, burnt orange and tangerine.
Being a mother, a parent, changes our dynamic with work. But, should becoming a mother set us back? No. Instead, it should propel us forward. We become more efficient, we become better at multi-tasking, we become more patient and more grateful and better at delegating and leading. We become humble and more human, we become a better worker, better listener, and a better leader. We shouldn't have to choose between being a mother and pursuing career goals. Period.
Yes, I am a mother who has volunteered in classrooms, caught her child’s vomit in her bare hands when a trash can wasn’t nearby (gross yes), proselytized the reduction in homework for elementary aged children, managed appointments, activities and emotions not just my own, but those of my family and children.
Yet, I am also so much more than a mother. I spent nearly two decades building an international marketing career that required a focus on the unique dynamics of growing business in markets where culture, language, demographics and local/global economics played a leading role in decision making. I lived in Africa and Latin America and led cross-cultural teams in those regions as well as within Europe and Asia for both public, and start-up ventures.
All of this, is the full and complete fabric of me. I cannot compartmentalize my life into the "mother" or "other" bucket. I am a mother who puts every ounce of herself into whatever is in front, a woman who has "opted" and who has "leaned" both in and out and around. LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, Instagram profile, twitter profile; it’s all the same me.
So, let’s be real and not penalize the mothers, nor the fathers, who are raising our next generation of leaders. The next generation will demand that they have flexible work schedules to accommodate critical times in their child’s life, they will demand proper maternity leave, they will demand equal pay and equal workplace rights.
THIS is what our generation can do now ... pave the way for our children so that they don’t have to make a career decision based on motherhood or a motherhood decision based on their career.
Kristi Rible Scobie is the co-founder of MomWarrior, heading up Growth and Strategy. She lives in the outskirts of San Francisco and is the mother of two girls. Following a nearly two decade career as a global leader in international marketing and growth strategy for both public and startup ventures, she opted out from the constraints of the corporate world and opted in for more flexible work while raising her two small children. Her current mission is to shift the paradigm around working mothers and the culture of corporations who understand the importance of the goal but need help finding the path.