If you decide to go to work and/or continue to work after you've had a kid, you'll inevitably be asked, "How do you do it?" While gender stereotypes are bending if not (finally and officially) breaking, the idea that a woman can have a successful career and be a successful, loving and attentive parent is still somewhat of a myth, at least according to a patriarchal culture that demands women lose all sense of self the moment they procreate. Every grown-ass woman knows this, which means there are certain ways a grown-ass woman handles her career after kids. Call them productive necessities, if you will.
Honestly, choosing to work after I had my son wasn't that difficult of a decision. I knew I wanted more than just motherhood, and needed more if I was going to feel good about myself and my life and my potential future. It was also a decision that toted a rather unhealthy amount guilt and shame and a steady stream of judgement from others (mostly mothers, unfortunately) who didn't return to work after having a baby. Some days it was difficult to put on my big girl pants and move forward with my career, but when I was offered my dream job in a new city and moved my family across the country, I was able to see just how beneficial working and parenting was going to be; not just for myself, but for my almost-two-year-old son. He is happy and thriving and is growing up in a wonderful environment that consists of two parents who are working hard to provide him with everything he needs. Honestly, it's a little difficult to feel guilty about that.
And of course, thankfully, I'm not alone in my decision to work and parent. An estimated 5.1 million married mothers make more than their significant other, and approximately 40% of households with children boast mom as the primary income provider. Being a working mother is no longer a "taboo" life-choice (or, at the very least, no longer completely unheard of) regardless of the relentless judgement and shame many working mothers face on a daily basis. In fact, choosing to work and parent has proved beneficial for children, as daughters of working mothers make an estimated 25 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers. Which is why any grown-ass woman is going to handle the, "How do you do it?" question with as much ease as she handles any other intrusive, slightly condescending question that she's undoubtably (and unfortunately) grown accustomed to.
So, with that in mind, here are nine ways a grown-ass woman handles her career after having kids, because there are multiple ways a woman can be a #boss.
She Won't Apologize For Working
Unfortunately, and even though outdated gender roles are being combated one feminist at a time, women are still being made to feel guilty for choosing motherhood and a career. Like many other human beings that just so happen to identify as male but frustratingly aren't made to explain why they want parenthood and a profession, a woman can be a mother and a worker simultaneously. It's really a thing that happens, people. So, a grown-ass woman isn't going to waist her breath apologizing to people for something she knows she doesn't need to apologize for.
She'll Communicate Her Needs
Whether it's being constantly communicative with a supervisor so they can manage expectations, or it's consistently talking with a partner about deadlines and timelines so the home is taken care of; a grown-ass woman is going to keep the channels clear so that everyone is on the same page. No one can do absolutely everything alone, and even if you don't have access to a parenting partner or a babysitter or a nanny or a helpful family member, you'll often find yourself in situations where you need help. When you're transparent in your working and parenting processes, you'll be more successful at both.
She'll Discuss Options With Her Co-Parent
A grown-ass woman is going to involve her partner in the decision making process, even and especially when it deals with her career. If she's being considered for a promotion, she'll discuss it with her partner and if she is considering a career move that would require relocation, she definitely discusses it with her partner. She'll refuse to make decisions alone when they directly impact others.
She's All About Schedules
A grown-ass woman is going to schedule her days, weeks and even months, so that her work life and personal life can peacefully coexist. Of course, not every plan will be executed accordingly and, yes, schedules will inevitably conflict (and, pro tip, usually at the most frustrating of times) but a grown-ass woman who works and parents, will set herself up for stress-free success as best she can by writing things out, making a plan, setting a schedule and adhering to her process as often as she possibly can.
She Won't Sugarcoat How Difficult It Can Be
A grown-ass woman who works and parents isn't going to pretend that it's super easy and it just comes naturally and she never experiences moments of extreme self-doubt and fatigue. Because, if we're all being honest, working is hard and parenting is hard and doing both simultaneously is damn-near impossible some days. It can be so wonderful and so rewarding, but it can always be draining and frustrating. The bad parts of working and parenting need to be discussed just as much, if not more, as the good parts of working and parenting.
She Refuses To Feel Guilty
Because a grown-ass woman isn't going to apologize for working and parenting, she definitely isn'g going to feel guilty about it. Or, well, she's going to try really hard not to. Guilt and parenthood go hand-in-hand, and even the most confident of mothers is going to feel guilty for the decisions she has or has not made. It's difficult not to look inward and second guess yourself on the regular, especially when you're experiencing one of your tougher days when work is difficult and your kid is unhappy and everything feels like it's ripping at the seams. But, a grown-ass woman is going to work to put everything into perspective and realize that those feeling of guilt (while valid and often self-perpetuated) are also created by a culture that insists women continuously feel guilty for being, well, women.
She Includes Her Family In Future Decisions...
Even the perfect dream job opportunity will be one that requires a thoughtful pause and a lengthy discussion. A grown-ass mother who also works, is acutely aware that every decision she makes affects more people than just herself. A new job may require a change in her partner's work schedule; a raise might require more time at work, which means less time at home; a career change may require going back to or attending school, which means late nights of studying. How her choices impact her family will always be at the forefront of her mind.
...While Also Keeping Her Personal Happiness In Mind
Simultaneously, a grown-ass woman will see the value in putting herself first. She won't go rogue and do whatever she wants with reckless abandon and little thought of potential consequences, but she will make sure that her happiness is also highly considered. There's no point in living life if you're miserable, and while martyrdom and motherhood are notoriously considered synonymous, a grown-ass woman knows better.
She Sets Aside Time For Self-Care
Striking a balance between work and parenthood can be difficult and, well, unbelievably taxing. A grown-ass woman is going see not only the value but the necessity, of self-care. You can't take care of other people (whether it's coworkers or a boss or employees or your kid) if you don't first and foremost, take care of yourself.