How to be a Great Mom and Have a Great Career

by: Tami Forman

While mothers today are more likely than ever are to be working, some young women still worry that having children will make it difficult for them to fulfill their career aspirations. Unfortunately that idea can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But with a few mindset shifts you can find fulfillment without losing your sanity.

It’s worth noting that no one ever asks if it’s possible to have a great career and be a great dad, because having a great career is considered part of being a great dad. I bring this up not to bash men -- I know many dads who struggle to find balance, too. But I think it’s worth remembering that the cultural frame can be constrained.

The first unhelpful cultural frame involves what a “great career” means. If you think it means working 24/7 then it might be difficult to sustain that and have a great family life (or, I’d suggest, a great life at all). But if you reframe a “great career” as one where you have an impact, do work that matters, focus on results and have fun, that is all achievable while having a rich personal life, too. If you can, try practicing what that might look like before you have kids. What does it feel like to put some boundaries around your work? How much more can you accomplish if you focus on leaving the office at a reasonable hour? What if you reformulated your to-do list to focus on the work that matters, allowing the busy work to happen in the margins or disappear altogether?