No, we are not going to talk about the movie “10” or Bo Derek.
My “Perfect 10” is the last 10 years as a working mom with the most flexible schedule of anyone I know. You see, my son and my company both recently turned 10 years old. I did take three months off after he was born so technically my company is slightly younger than my son and this certainly was not pure coincidence. It was planned coincidence in the name of motherhood.
I’ve been a mother for almost 20 years and if I could do the first 10 years of motherhood over again, I would. If I did the first 10 like I did the last 10, I might be a little closer to my 19 year old daughter. She and I both missed out on so much due to my long, late hours, cross country travel, stress, and inflexible schedule (not to mention the affect it had on my marriage). You can never get back what you give away and, in the first 10 years, I gave away time I could have spent with my daughter and husband.
Let me tell you about us.
My daughter was born three months prior to me starting my career in HR and I worked in HR for about 10 years in corporate America before becoming pregnant with my son. It was a long road to getting pregnant the second time and he came as a big surprise. I found out I was pregnant on April Fool’s Day, just a few months after starting a new job. I somewhat blame the stress of my work for not being able to get pregnant. After several trips to the infertility office, there was no other explanation. My daughter was 5 years old and we gave up trying. We sold all of our baby supplies and bought her a dog. She always wanted a baby sister named Sarah, so that became the dog’s name.
After working 55-60 hours a week for years, I took a job working only 40-45 hours a week and after two months, I was pregnant. My daughter was 9 years old when my son came into the world. While pregnant, I decided to start my own consulting business and stay home with my son for as long as I could.
While the first few years were tough (the business began the same year as the terrorist attacks), it was worth losing half our salary to spend time with my son. Believe me, I now work over 55 hours a week again but this time around it is different. Half of it’s from home and I have time to do all the things a stay at home mother does with their children.
The number one thing a working mother needs is flexibility when it comes to child rearing. Children, even the big ones, like when you’re around. They enjoy having you as room mom, field trip chaperone, and when you have kids in a private school there is not the option of busing, so you have to be the one to take them and pick them up when your spouse has a more demanding schedule.
Looking forward to the next perfect 10!
Photo credit iStock Photo
This is a guest post by Donna Rogers, SPHR aka @HRWarrior. Donna is a full time Instructor at University of Illinois at Springfield, owner of Rogers HR Consulting and the Director of the Illinois State Council of SHRM. She teaches Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior and Organizational Development and she practices what she teaches for almost 100 clients in the central Illinois Area.