Wednesday, June 6, 2007

An Ideal Career Path for Working Mothers?

When I was pregnant and grappling with the idea of being a working mom, I had millions of people tell me, "My mom worked and I was just fine." After considering a few examples I realized that our mothers, the women who experienced the Women's Movement first hand, did do it all, just not always all at once.

Women today need to have it all, right now. We need prestige, a perfect body, a perfect family, and that piece of! I came up with a career trajectory with women in mind who want a healthy family and a healthy career. Is this the only way? By no means. This is not even the way I chose to handle my career. But, could this be the "ideal" career path for women who want it all? You be the judge.
  1. Graduate from high school and get a job...any job. This is a time of exploration, not a time to worry about long term. Just work, job hop if you must until you find out what you love. Make sure you pay your bills and avoid debt. This experience will help shape the rest of your career.
  2. Get married, have babies, raise and nurture a healthy family.
  3. Get a college degree. While your kids are young, go to school and take classes you truly enjoy. Enjoy the flexibility afforded by the college schedule allowing you to be home with your kids while working to better yourself in the long run.
  4. Start your career. Consider those aspects of your work experience and education that you loved. These are the clues that will point you toward a truly satisfying career. Hopefully at this point in your life, you have had the opportunity to work with many people in your field, through part time jobs, internships, research projects, or volunteer opportunities.
I speak from experience when I say this does not always seem the practical way to live and make money, but the benefits are far reaching. This path through education and work ensures that you can spend time at home when your kids are young, that you can find a career you are truly passionate about, and one that does not interfere with your values and home life. This is also not the shortest path to your dream career, but hopefully it is a sure one.

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