USMC Specific

Working Mothers

Working Mothers
By Doris Appelbaum

Working mothers have been told for years,, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." My Dad used to say, "You can’t dance at two weddings at the same time." In other words, you can be there for your children, or you can advance in your career, but you certainly cannot do both. Wrong!!!

Only Clark Kent was Superman, but every working mother is a Superwoman. For success at home and at work, women want and need the right amount of support. Things are beginning to change, and women are slowly finding that they can balance work and family.

At home, strive to have a family dinner as frequently as possible. Get a cookbook that contains easily prepared recipes. Double the recipe and freeze half for another meal. If you make a salad, make twice as much and save half for the next night. Keep casseroles and other one-dish meals in the freezer for nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Designate a hectic night as order-out night (pizza, Chinese, etc). Ask your older children to make dinner one night a week. Plan a family movie night on a regular schedule. Schedule a group outing for the weekend. Take everyone in the family to a child’s theater or sporting event.

Make time for yourself, and take care of yourself. Moms tend to put themselves last on the list. Regenerating your own inner strength and peace will go a long way toward giving you the energy you need to be a mom. Go to the gym or exercise, visit a museum, meet a friend for lunch or coffee, join a volunteer organization, and/or work on you hobby. Negotiate with your spouse for a deal witch will allow each of you one night a week to do your own thing.

Be a couple! Get a babysitter frequently and go out together. It does not have to be a fancy outing. Even a trip to the local bookstore will help the two of you remember what it is like to be adults together.

Here are several employment-related tips to help you:
Be a Valuable Team Member at Work
"Set standards for excellence," said the deputy director of Women Work! - The National Network for Women's Employment. "Distinguish yourself as someone really special." Become valuable to your employer; it then will be much easier to stand up for what you need. Always frame your needs in terms of how your company might benefit (value added) from your proposal.

Get Recognition for the Work You Do as a Telecommuter
Lack of face-to-face time may influence a manager's perception of how hard you are working as a telecommuter. The sight of people hunkered down at their desks sends the "hard worker" message, even if what they're really doing is paying their bills or looking for cruise destinations.

Be Creative
Be sure you get credit for a job well done. Propose initially how you plan to keep in touch, and then stick to your plan, whether it's calling in frequently, sending regular emails, logging your hours or asking for quarterly reviews. Since you've asked for flexibility from your employer, be flexible in return. If some vital meeting arises on a morning you weren't supposed to be in the office, be there anyway.

Does a Prospective Employer Offer Time, Money and Resources?
Some employers are going to be more sympathetic to your situation than others. According to the experts, working mothers need the following: time to deal with family responsibilities, a decent wage, and access to quality care-giving resources, such as an on-site daycare program. Employers who do this have a better bottom line, and the main reason for that is employee loyalty. These practices cut down enormously on turnover.

Research Your Co-Workers
If you've decided to ask your company for a policy change on flextime, brainstorm with other people who feel the way you do. Come up with a plan together. Before you make your pitch to the boss, plan a strategy and answers to difficult questions. Practice, rehearse and be prepared. Make good use of the power in anticipating what you might be asked and in being prepared with answers.

Practice Fortitude
With the ever-growing number of working moms in the workforce, companies are taking another look at how business gets done. But women should also know that changes won't take place overnight. It will be even tougher for working mothers who don't have a well-established track record on the job before they start making demands. Hang in there. Build references for yourself. Notice how the workplace continues to evolve. In the meantime, your best strategy is to be a great employee. Get the job done; show in every way that you're going the extra mile. Don’t ask for breaks, leniency and special treatment; instead, offer solutions and you're much likelier to get what you want and need.

Doris Appelbaum is President of Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc. She is an internationally known career consultant, resume writer, speaker, and trainer. Doris can be reached at (414) 352-5994 - 1-800-619-9777 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - (414) 352-7495 (fax). Visit her website . Fax resume for FREE critique.