You get a call from your child’s daycare telling you your child woke up from her nap with a red rash, and she is slightly feverish.
- Leave work immediately to pick up your child.
- Call your husband because you have a directors’ meeting in an hour, and you’re still preparing for the meeting.
- Ask your childcare provider if they can isolate your daughter until you pick her up at your regular time this evening.
As you think about your answer, do you immediately feel a sense of stress?
If you select the first option, your colleagues may see you as an unable to make the cut as a hard-charging corporate woman. It’s not true, because you’ve probably selected the second and third choices during other occasions since your daughter was born.
Let’s play out this scenario even further; you select option two, because your husband has the kind of job that allows him to leave when necessary. But, perhaps he’s a macho kind of husband, and resents the fact that you have the kind of career that does not allow you to leave whenever you need to take care of family issues. So, your daughter is taken care of, but you must have several conversations with him until he understands (and agrees with) your career goals.
But maybe, you absolutely could not leave work, nor could your husband, or better yet, you’re divorced and the option of having your ex pick up your daughter does not exist. As a matter of fact, you two are so far apart when it comes to negotiation and parenting, that the thought of asking him to pick up your daughter never even crossed your mind. In this instance, you decide that the third choice is your best selection, since you have a great relationship with your child care provider. Likewise, they agree to take care of your daughter until you are able to pick her up at the normal time—which is less stressful!
Either of those scenarios creates stress for a working mother like you, because no matter which answer you’ve selected, you feel like one of you have lost—you, your daughter, or your job/career.
I’ve been there and experienced each one of those choices, and what I can tell you is that you create the stress based on how you decide to feel, no matter what you’ve decided. Does that make sense? In other words, what’s your top priority? If you can’t imagine your daughter being sick at daycare for the rest of the afternoon, then going to pick her up is your best decision. And, you will want to work for a company that values family and understands when you have to take time away from work.
If becoming partner or the next VP is most important, you will want a very stable child care situation—most likely, someone who comes into your home (parents, neighbor, or nanny). Then, if your child is sick, she’s already in a nurturing environment—your home—and you can see her once you leave the office.
When I coach my clients about finding their superwoman, I encourage them to determine what is most important in each area of their life: work, family, and relationships. Once they’ve sorted out what’s most important, we go to work determining how to remove stress and those feelings of being overwhelmed by what our family members and work associates think about the decisions we’ve made.
You can have a wonderful relationship with your partner and your children, as well as a promising career.
This article was written by The BOSS Network Influencer, C. Lynn Williams.
C. Lynn Williams is a motivational speaker, family dynamics coach, and bestselling author, who provides parent solutions, builds solid foundations and secures promising futures. She focuses on communications, discipline, and self-improvement.
Learn more about C. Lynn by visiting her website at www.clynnwilliams.com.
Follow C. Lynn on social media at @MsParentguru on Twitter and Instagram and CGWWBooks on Facebook.