Professional moms know that the way to keep our sanity is by not being perfect at everything. What are some things you are not perfect about?
Um, how much time do you have?
My house isn't as clean as I'd like. I'm awful about responding to non-essential emails even though it's one of my pet peeves when people don't get back to me. I do laundry but I rarely put it away until it's time to do laundry again and I need the baskets. I sometimes do the "Mmmm hmmmm, yep, wow, that's great" thing to my kids when I'm not really paying attention (only they bust me on it constantly, so I'm getting better!"). Shall I go on?
We've all had them –- describe your most trying/embarrassing/don't-want-to-remember-this moment as a professional mom so far:
I once had an essential conference call I just felt that I could not miss, and school called to ask me to pick up a sick child. I attempted to participate in the call from the car while shushing my (sick!) daughter and driving home. Not my finest moment. I was being a lousy consultant AND a lousy mom and probably a lousy driver, to boot.
How do you de-stress and relax?
I spend time with my husband and let him tell me I'm pretty. If he's not available, I can be soothed by a quiet house and a good book. Or -- if I must -- a really good deal on shoes.
One thing that you have or do that makes your busy life easier:
This is going to sound stupid, but email. How did people live before email? If I had to conduct my entire day's worth of communication over the phone I would need another twelve hours in each day, and then something very pointy with which to stab myself repeatedly.
One thing that would make your life easier would be:
A maid. Well, that or winning the lottery (after which I could hire a maid).
If you could afford to stay at home, would you still choose to work? Why?
I would continue writing even if I didn't need the income, I think, but I would be more discriminatory about which jobs I choose. Although I would never take a job that I felt conflicted with my principles or whatever, there are some jobs I take more or less because they pay well. (They're not horrible; maybe they're boring or just don't speak to me.)
Many professional moms with very young kids as well as soon-to-be moms visit our site and would benefit from your experience. What advice would you share with them about managing their careers while growing their families?
I think it's important to stop and think about what you really WANT. I knew too many moms (when I was still a cube-dweller) who felt they "had" to work or felt like they "should" stay home. It's 2007; there are as many "right" ways to parent as there are kids. And I'm a firm believer in happy moms being better moms. If you hate your job, figure out an alternative. If you love your job, figure out how you can continue your dream career and be the kind of parent you want to be. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying find what works for you.