I know this is a controversial topic. Work/life balance is always a struggle when you’re a parent. It’s hard to get it right and most of us teeter between a happy balance and out-of-balance. I’ll start this post off by saying that I LOVE to work. I love what I do and it brings me a lot of personal fulfillment in addition to helping to provide for our family. I also love our kids. To pieces! Anyone who has read my blog for awhile now knows that at least half of my blog posts are on parenting. I also write a lot about education, ed reform, advocacy, the importance of voting, school board elections (please don’t stop reading, I promise those posts won’t be boring!) and the power of parent organizing.
Of course, I can’t speak for all working moms, but I can speak for myself and share a little about my own path. I’ve been a driven, ambitious person since I was a little girl. I love sports and competition (though it’s interesting I chose a sport like cross-country which in essence is a competition only with yourself!) I always knew I wanted to combine work and family life. I was a Teach for America corps member and elementary school teacher for several years before joining Larchmont Charter School here in Los Angeles as one of their Founding Teachers in 2005. Soon after having our first daughter, I founded my own executive search and consulting firm, The Firm for Good. I slowly but surely built up a consulting practice, all by word-of-mouth and by posting my skills and resume on LinkedIn. Over the last 8 + years, I’ve consulted and recruited for several non-profits and schools. In addition to my professional work, I also Co-Founded a new charter school in Los Angeles called The City School in 2012. We are nearing the end of our third school year and currently have 315 students in grades 6th-8th and will expand to 9th grade this fall. I truly thrive when I’m working and recruiting for an organization I’m passionate about that is making a positive difference in the world!
At the same time, my husband, Chris, and I are raising a family. We now have two daughters who are both in elementary school. Our youngest is in kindergarten and this is the first year in many that I’ve had one drop off and one pick up and it is glorious! Makes my life so much easier. I love that working for myself means that I can make myself available for field trips, volunteering in the classroom and serving on our school’s site council and leadership boards. I love being able to pick up our daughters from school. It’s a luxury a lot of working parents don’t have and it’s the reason I continue to work for myself instead of joining larger recruiting/executive search firm. Having flexibility in my workday is key! I often work at night reading resumes, cover letters and scheduling interviews once the girls are asleep but this arrangement works for me.
I work because I want to show our daughters that combining work and motherhood is a possibility. It’s not the only choice and I would support their decision to stay-at-home or to work (full-time or part-time) 100%. It’s such a personal decision and each family’s situation is different. I know stay-at-home moms who thrive at home and feel fulfilled and passionate about their role in their family’s life. It is truly hard work and anyone who tells you differently has never stayed at home with their children full-time! Many stay-at-home moms I’m friends with volunteer countless hours at their kids’ schools and our schools and communities are better for it. Working is also hard. I often grocery shop late at night after the girls are asleep. I did last night because we were in charge of bringing snack to the 23 kids in our kindergarten class today! I make it work and Chris supports me by helping a lot at home. He’s a great dad and fully invested in his career and in being an involved father. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
So, I’ll end this post by saying that if you’re reading this and you’re not a parent yet, please know that working and parenthood can mix! It’s not easy and you will have to make a lot of adjustments to make everything work and tweaks are often necessary on a daily basis. But, I’ve finally found a good work/life balance and I know you can, too! If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you’re considering going back to work in a part-time or full-time capacity, have faith that you can be a good mom and also work. If you work part-time or full-time and you simply need some encouragement, then I’m here for you, too! If you work and you’ve always longed to stay-at-home, I’d love to be able to be a support to you (even here in blog-space!). I’m in this awesome parenthood boat with you and we can support each other by sharing tips, advice, and encouragement.