I’m fortunate to spend time with executives from my company on a regular basis. Although I experience the typical ups and downs of (being a mom in) the corporate world, I work for a great company and we have some very strong leaders. There’s one in particular, who I really connect with and see as a mentor. Last week, I sat down with her for our monthly touch-base and decided to be candid with her. I shared that I was feeling like a doormat. I want people to get along and I’ve let myself take the blame for things that were in no way my fault. She responded with a comment about how she feels that I’ve lost my spark.
Then she told me that she empathized. Things have been difficult within our team and as a woman, it’s easy to focus your energy on other things outside of the office. She guessed that because of work frustration, I’ve been focusing my energy on my daughter.
Even bigger ouch.
It’s one thing to assume that I’ve lost my professional spark. I understand that and can see where she’s coming from. It’s another to assume that my focus is torn between work and family. I hate that this topic even comes up. I’m mad at myself for being upset that there’s a perception that I’m not completely focused on work. Most of all, I’m really disappointed in myself because I care.
I’m a good mom. I should be happy that she assumed that I’m focusing on my child. I just don’t want her or anyone else in the workplace to think that. I want her to think that I can take everything in stride and excel in all my roles. I appreciate her persepctive as a strong female. I appreciated the honesty of her comments, but they cut me to the core.
I came home from work and snuggled with my child. Then, in typical three year old fashion, she started acting up. Secretly, I wished that I could go back to work and focus on something I could control. Spark or not, in the office, I have control over my world. If I ask someone to send a contract out or call an employee or whatever, it gets done. I don’t have to ask twice. I don’t have someone saying, “Mommy, say it as a sentence” or "no, I don't want to do that."
I want to be and think I am a good mom. I’m proud of my daughter and love showing her off. I also want to do well at work. I want my child to see me do well at work so that I can be a good role model. I want the women on my team to see me as a strong leader who achieves balance. At the same time, I fight the perception that I’m working to find that balance. It's a tough emotional struggle and I'm not sure why I do this to myself.
I'm working to reignite my spark and I know I'll be successful. Just in the last few days, there have been some good changes in the office. Things are feeling positive and the kindling is ready to help make a flame. I am going to focus on nurturing that spark instead of trying to change the perception that I'm focused on my child. A good mother can do both, and that's what I am.