Balancing a career with motherhood: perspectives from Citizens working moms.
During hectic days at the office, other priorities – exercise, hobbies, sleep, family – can often take a backseat. This is especially true for working mothers, who face the never-ending challenge of working while managing the responsibilities of motherhood. With more women as the sole or primary “breadwinner” for families than ever before, balancing the act can be a daunting challenge.
We sat down with four working mothers across the organization to talk them about their careers, how they balance all their responsibilities, and how Citizens has supported them over the years. Here’s what they said.
Kim, EVP Sales & Strategy Development
I was fortunate to have an amazing mom who taught me so much about life, purpose and the importance of hard work. Her guidance showed me that life is hard and has many difficult choices. You can’t have it all, but you can love those around you and give 100% effort each day. She stressed living in the moment, and I find doing that helps me balance out all the craziness of life.
A big piece of being able to find balance is having a spouse or partner who supports you as you go through life’s journey. My husband and I are an amazing team and I would not be able to be a great mom or executive without his support and partnership.
I believe actions speak louder than words as a working mom. As a manager, those actions come out in how I treat my team. I want to show them I truly understand the importance of work-life balance and make sure I give them time to attend local events, go to a book fair, volunteer or just get home in time to help the kids with schoolwork.
I always try to make sure that I am managing life and life is not managing me. Otherwise, I feel I am just going through the motions and not taking the time to count my blessings for being a mom and an able-bodied working woman. I try to have gratitude in every aspect of life, be humble and recognize that everyone approaches life from a different perspective.
Lisa, Head of HR Shared Services
My career began 15 years ago in the Consumer Banking technology function. I’m lucky to work for an organization that gives me the flexibility to work inside and outside the office and the ability to still progress my career to meet my personal goals. My family is my top priority, and flexing where needed to a more remote working style has allowed me to still be productive while making sure my family responsibilities are covered. Approximately 80% of my work interactions are now through online tools offering conference call capability.
Something that helped me was also realizing that there would always be more work I could do, but if I continued to work late nights I would compromise my “no regrets” mentality of missing out on key moments in my personal life. Now when I get home in the evening, I shut off work and focus 100% on my family, leaving the work day behind.
I would say to other working mothers to keep in mind that working for a company that values work/life balance is critical to your overall happiness. It doesn’t force you to choose between one and the other. In addition, figuring out your support system in and outside the office is critical to ensure you have someone to lean on in the event you are in a last minute jam.
Jenn, Premier Advisor
One of the biggest factors of success in my career was finding a job that I truly enjoy going to each day. I also find considerable fulfillment in my volunteer work here with the bank. I work with the local YMCA Power Scholars Program, a summer program for at risk middle school students to help them keep up with their studies. Citizens sponsors the program – it means a lot to know my employer is so committed to giving back.
I’ve found over the course of my career that I sometimes struggle with prioritizing. With four kids ranging from 9-18 years of age – all of whom are involved in sporting events and after-school clubs – there is always an activity that I want to be present for. If I’m cramped for time, I pick the most important event to attend, and send others in my stead (such as my mom, father or sister).
I think the best thing I did in the quest for more time was create “Sunday family day,” where my family and I spend time together to make up for the missed time during the week. Sometimes we stay home, but other times we plan activities. I try my hardest to make as many memories with my children as I can during my free time because I know I spend a lot of my time working and volunteering.
MaryAnne, Head of Consumer Banking Recruiting
There’s no doubt about it – it’s a juggling act to keep both your day-to-day professional responsibilities and your family commitments afloat. That said, when you work hard and earn credibility with your peers and leaders, you are given the opportunity to balance both. I’ve been lucky to have leaders in every role that have understood my responsibilities but also my ability to get work done. I like to say, “Your work is a reflection of who you are and what you want your reputation to be.”
I try to use every minute in the day wisely, and think about how I can accomplish being a great colleague and a great mom and wife for my family. I schedule calls along my commute both to and from work, and I am very clear on my priorities for the day and the projects I need to dedicate more time to. I also am very careful about committing to something that takes me away from my kids and does not positively impact my long-term goals. This helps keep me focused on what’s important.
My advice to any new working mothers is to be kind to yourself. You will constantly wonder if you are doing enough for everyone. You don’t need to be perfect. In fact, being human is what makes you great. Time also moves quickly with kids. For me, it’s not the number of hours that I am home but the quality of time I spend with them. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, either. Find 30 minutes of “you time” – read, listen to podcasts, exercise and meditate. I’m fond of binge watching a television series while snuggling and laughing with my kids. There is no better stress reliever than watching your kids have a good old belly laugh!
Learn how we support working parents, more about our benefits, and how you can apply to our organization today.
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