When Anna Jarvis created the first Mother’s Day in 1908, she envisioned a day of “sentiment” for mothers. For the first few years, people wore simple white carnations to show their support. By 1920, commercialism had taken over. Jarvis was so enraged she urged people to stop buying gifts for their mothers. She declared florists, card and candy companies – “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites.”
But that happens sometimes, doesn’t it? We start with great intention and then it morphs into something altogether different; almost unrecognizable.
For working mothers, life is a blur of “long days and short years” — the days feel so long yet the years fly by really fast. Often, we put ourselves and our career aspirations on the back burner. Our families are a force in motion (always in motion) and our professional lives can move into auto pilot. We lose sight of our career dreams because we are managing so much more than ourselves.
But, we can’t lose sight of the professional self we want to – and can – be.
The national conversation to help more women in leadership is gaining strength. The fight for pay equity has come center stage. It is an exciting time for businesses to create more channels and choice for millennial women, mid-career women, women in STEM, and women returning to their careers.
As working mothers, we need to be a part of this change. To get started, here are 10 promises each of us can make to ourselves this Mother’s Day.
7. Lobby like a Boss. Women who lobby for a promotion are 54 percent more likely to get one than women who don’t. Women are master planners and shrewd negotiators in their personal lives, why not in their careers? Drive your own destiny, and work to get a bigger paycheck.You deserve it.
8. Share the Load. I will let go of some of the many household chores by looking to my partner for help.There is a direct link between the amount of work people do at home and their leadership ambition. Women in senior management are seven times more likely than men at the same level to say they do more than half of the housework.
9. Circles of Trust. Women and men see the world differently, especially the corporate world. Creating a base of professional women in a similar life situation is a powerful way to share perspectives, challenges and joys. If you don’t have a professional group in place, tap into business women you know from your child’s school or the playground and arrange a monthly lunch or breakfast. This isn’t a business development networking group; it is a group of women just like you, who you can lean on and help support.
10. Ready & Set to Go. As women and mothers, we always try to be ready for anything: medical kit, emergency numbers, back-up clothes, you name it. Unfortunately, we don’t do the same with our careers. We aren’t always ready for anything at any moment —like raising our hands when a work challenge or new opportunity arises. A cob-web covered résumé can signal personal complacency and a willingness to let the professional world happen to you, versus you going out and making it happen for yourself. Keep your confidence stoked, your résumé ready and go get it – whatever “it” is for you.
As we tackle these promises and hit the reset button this Mother’s Day, it’s important to remember that as women, our world is always changing. What we wanted 10 years ago, may no longer be what we want, or what best fits us, now. Our children change. Our families change. We change. The greatest defense over a static career, is a dynamic you. What do you want this year, and how are you going to make it happen? The power to start is with you.
To find out more, visit reacHIRE’s website here.
This article originally ran on workingmother.com