Career Woman

How to cope as a working mother


Working as a career woman for the last 15+ years — of which I’ve been a working mother for over 10 — there are a few things that I’ve come to realize.

When you have ambitions and a job where you need to network and build a personal brand it can be challenging to prioritize and balance. You are needed at home, your job takes 10-12 hours a day, you need to be at the events and foster business development, you have friends, you might want to exercise, you have hobbies…. it really is a lot!

There’s no magic answer and as soon as you find one you realize you have to adjust because the demands change – at home, at work or your own expectations! The kids grow up and need something new or it’s a new season and baseball demands time that differs from hockey. You get a new client and it is across town and the main contact loves early morning meetings. Whatever the case as soon as you get it right, it changes.

These ideas hold true though.

  1. Set priorities.
  2. Prioritize connection and deep relationships. Recognize that they are at the intersection of happiness, health & success.
  3. Let go of the guilt!

Sounds easy right? Let’s explore.

Set priorities

When you know what you value it is easier to set your priorities. Priorities change but keep a running list of your current top 5 priorities. Maybe they line up with values alone. Maybe they are impacted by your goals or your vision of yourself and ‘the perfect mother’ or ‘the dream job’. Put it on paper and revisit it regularly.

Once the priorities are documented refer to them when you are making decisions. Use the priorities you set to help you build a roadmap and to help you balance. It is similar to the values, mission statement and business plan you use at work!

For example, if you prioritize exercising for your health (mental and physical) and you have a goal to exercise 5 days a week than you can use that priority when deciding between a walk with a girlfriend at lunch versus a last-minute invite to a business development networking lunch.

Connection at the intersection

When you set the priorities keep in mind that connection and deep relationships have been proven to have significant impacts on your health and longevity, on your success and on your happiness. Connection is at the intersection of health, success and happiness and deep relationships are really life’s magic ingredient. So, if you want to be happy prioritize connection. If you want to be healthy and live a long, healthy life – prioritize connection. And if you want your career to be successful, prioritize connection.

Even if you are an introvert or you don’t see relationships as key I’d challenge yourself to find a way to prioritize it. The studies are very clear and it is about deep connection not big parties and fancy networking so there is a way to make it work for all personality types.

Once you prioritize connection it gives you the freedom to make decisions with it in mind. When you are faced with a chance to go for a walk with another business women over lunch yet you promised yourself you’d make it to the gym you can use your priorities to help you decide. And maybe the priority of connection gives you permission to help your health (and your success and happiness) with connecting over lunch.

Let go of the guilt!

Don’t be so hard on yourself and go back to your priorities, including connection and start to revisit your time and how you spend it. Are you spending your time in a way that aligns with your priorities? Including connection? Are there things that take your time that are not key to your values and priorities? Find those things! Identify them and outsource them! And let go of the guilt – yes it costs money but if you are a business woman your time is worth more. Be creative with how you outsource – is there a student that might be cost effective? Is there virtual assistant option? Is there an opportunity to crowdsource? Unless you have a love for cleaning you should spend time on your priorities not it. Unless you get satisfaction doing laundry – stop! There is no limit to what is available these days: online groceries, meals delivered with fresh ingredients (or not), mobile tire changing, mobile car detailing, housecleaning, nanny, amazon shopping, etc.

And let’s look at what you do that your husband or spouse could help with? Are you not encouraging him or putting barriers or low expectations in the way? Do you redo things that he does because he didn’t do it right? Do you reclean because his cleaning is not at the level you expect? Do you ‘audit’ the lunch he packed the kids? Do you retain the decision-making power and tell him what to cook on his night? Let go of the guilt that it might not be your way or perfect! Same for your kids if they are old enough to help. Let them and be okay with some imperfection!








Jamie L. Smith, CPA ,CA, MPAcc is a recent entrepreneur working on developing an accounting start-up; mother of 2 boys, wife and career-focused, ambition professional who has worked at two of the “Big 4” professional service firms as well as other organizations.

About Jamie Smith

Jamie L. Smith is a finance leader, business advisor and connector. She is a founder of Amplify Advisors Inc. which supports start-up, small and medium business with contract Chief Financial Officer and Controller services. Amplify Advisors also assists finance and accounting teams of all sizes with their continuous improvement projects and employee placements. Jamie has previously held roles at two ‘Big Four’ accounting and professional services firms, a financial institution and an international public reporting issuer. She has served clients in most industries and is passionate about new technology, finance effectiveness, business partnering and what can be achieved. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA), holds a Masters in Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Administration.

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