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  • Balance and the Working Mom

    I have a free subscription to a wonderful magazine called Working Mother,which, as you might guess, is aimed at working mothers. The current issue has actress Amy Brenneman on the cover, and there’s an interview with her featured inside. The interview ends with Brenneman talking about her need to act and work, saying:

    I can’t pretend that I don’t exist. I need to try to find some sort of balance for all of these needs. Knowing, of course, that it’s not going to be a perfect balance.

    The end of her quote really struck me, probably because I tend to strive for perfection and then feel badly when I don’t achieve it. Balance, though, was always the key for me when I was worked at an office, and I’m finding that it’s still the key for me now that I’m working at home.

    Because I’m realizing that even working at home, there simply isn’t time to do everything. I’ve been home for several weeks now, and I’ve barely scratched the surface on my list of things I’ve been wanting to get done for months.

    I’m learning to prioritize my days, and especially to set realistic expectations of what can get done, and when. As I mentioned before, I’ve concluded that the stress of chasing every deal simply isn’t worth the savings, so I’m not shopping much more than I used to. And I’m learning to how to set aside time to blog, so that I can do my “job” here better for you. Because it’s all about balance :)

    On Being A Working Mom

    I know some readers who love CFO precisely because I’ve been a working mom talking about the constant juggling and balancing that moms who work full-time outside of the home really have to master. It’s hard. There were times when it was truly overwhelming, and for me, I reached the point where something had to give.

    If I’d truly loved my job, this blog would have been the thing to go. But since I wasn’t enjoying work very much, and I do still love blogging, I decided to keep the blog and ditch the full-time job. This blog, in many ways, will be my job since it’s now my primary source of income.

    I read sometimes about pressure among stay-at-home moms to be a working mom, but among working moms, there’s often pressure to be a stay-at-home mom. Some (many? most?) of us feel guilty about working and not spending more time with our kids, some of us feel that the stay-at-home moms we know think we’re odd for working, and some of us put the pressure on ourselves because we’d rather be home with the kids. In fact, all of the moms at my job told me they were jealous.

    But there are those of us who love working. In fact, I have some friends who could afford to quit but don’t want to. It’s not that their family isn’t a priority, and they’d quit in a heartbeat if it was better for their family – say, if their child became ill. But if they can work, they’d rather do so.

    In the meantime, I am mentally preparing myself for an identity crisis as I meet new people and can no longer say that I’m an attorney. That’s just going to be weird.

    A new wrinkle to the public vs. private school dilemma: Should I stay home?

    Not surprisingly, the issue of whether to work outside the home has been an ongoing one for me since my oldest was born. Before that – say, five years ago – I would have told you that I would always work outside the home. I’d gone to an excellent law school, worked hard, and gotten my first choice job upon graduation. I enjoyed my work and I was good at it.

    And then, my husband and I decided to have a baby. I suffered my first miscarriage five years ago last month. That, followed by a second miscarriage four months later, changed everything for me. I became so focused on having a baby that work became secondary. And to be honest, it’s never regained its previous status as a major priority in my life.

    My long-term goals are no longer career oriented. So as my firstborn approaches kindergarten age, I find myself pondering my own options.

    I finally ran the numbers and concluded that yes, we can afford for me to quit my job if our son attends public school. I’m not saying that I would definitely want to quit my job if I had the option, but at least it is now an option. However, if we decide that private school is right for him, then I’ll have to keep working in order to pay his tuition.

    I could, of course, work at home. And I have no doubt that I would, regardless of whether the boys go to public or private school. But I have doubts about whether I could guarantee enough income working from home to cover two private school tuitions (since our younger son would be joining our older one in just two years).

    Needless to say, my research into our local public schools has become a greater priority than my research into the private schools. While I’ll still compile a short list of schools in the next year, my focus is now going to be on whether there’s a good reason not to send the boys to the local elementary school.

    The public school is holding an open house for prospective families next month. Stay tuned!

    Working mom’s dilemma: Traveling for work

    I’ve been fortunate so far in being able to avoid traveling for work since my oldest was born. But that will likely change next week, when I will probably have to go out of town for a night. My husband and I generally handle bath time, book time and bed time together. So I have no worries about leaving him to be responsible for the kids while I’m gone. Heck, he’s better at all of those things than I am.

    And although I’ll miss my family while I’m gone, I’ll be gone for such a short time that I can’t help but think how refreshing it will be to get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep.

    What I find myself dwelling on is the disruption to our daily routine, especially my daily routine. So my question to all of you seasoned travelers (and wives and husbands of seasoned travelers) is this: How do you handle the disruption?

    More on becoming a Chief Mom Officer: an interview with James Rivera of Babyspot.com

    When I interviewed Jessica Smith about her job as a Chief Mom Officer, she mentioned that a company called Babyspot.com is currently looking for a Chief Mom Officer of their own. Babyspot’s founder, James Rivera, left a comment on that post that to this interview:

    Please tell us a little bit about Babyspot.com.

    James: Founded in 2008 by James Rivera and Zameer Upadhya, BabySpot.com is a new social networking site for parents and their families which provides a free, safe and secure environment to connect and interact virtually to share baby’s precious moments as their child grows. With a safe and secure platform, parents can comfortably and easily share their profiles privately or publicly, upload pictures and videos, blog and chat live. While experiencing the joy of forming lasting connections and creating new memories, parents and their loved ones are exposed to rich educational content, various nonprofit organizations, fun contests and social and financial opportunities.

    How did you learn about Chief Mom Officers?

    James: The first time I learned that there was an executive position within a company called Chief Mom Officer was through Jessica Smith, the founder of ChiefMomOfficer.org). I was like, “I want a Chief Mom Officer!” I love the title!!

    What is your vision of your new Chief Mom Officer within Babyspot?

    James: We envision our Chief Mom Officer to be fully part of our executive team! We want to empower her to be creative within our BabySpot platform and really connect with the moms and dads on a daily basis. The position is a very important onefor us as she would be one of the faces of BabySpot.com – she would become a BabySpot Mom! We also want to set the standard in our industry as 90% of the companies all need a Chief Mom Officer. It just makes sense!

    What are you looking for in your new Chief Mom Officer?

    James: As we go through the interview process, we thought it would be easier choosing a Chief Mom Officer but as Jessica Smith from ChiefMomOfficer.org has provided us an excellent array of talent, our decision is not easy! I wish we could hire all of them! The candidates are that good!!!

    Note: If you’d like to learn more about the Chief Mom Officer position at Babyspot.com, click here. Thanks for your time, James, and good luck!

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