There are SO many people, and especially women, who are thinking about having kids, but can’t help but wonder: “What will that mean for my career?”
As participants in our society, one of our biggest assets is human capital. This means how much money we’re making, what our career looks like, and how our family is fitting in with that vision. I have talked to so many women who all have the same thoughts and worries about creating a career for themselves while still carving out plenty of time to be the absolute best mom they can be.
Today, I wanted to walk through my experience, both personal and from working with clients, on how you can make decisions that support both your career and your family life.
The Importance Of Your Career
I absolutely LOVE financial planning. It’s wild to me that I get to do something I love so much on a daily basis — and that love for financial planning is exactly what makes it less painful to leave my daughters in order to go to work.
When I leave them, I get to tell them all about my work and explain what I do, while also showing them how enthused and on purpose I feel with my career.
It is absolutely imperative that you pursue a career that you’re passionate about. I totally understand pursuing a career for money when it’s out of necessity, or when you want to be a stay-at-home mom. And I understand that what I’m saying also comes from a place of privilege not everyone is afforded.
However, if you want to have both a thriving career and a happy family life, and are in the position to make career-centric decisions based on your desires, I think it’s really important that you choose a career that completely lights you up. For me, I wanted a career that was sustainable, that fit my life, and that enhanced my life.
I can honestly say that working enhances my life and my ability to be a good mom. And I believe that when you have a career that brings you fulfillment, instead of just a paycheck, you’ll be a better mom for it.
All About Planning
Okay, I am a financial planner, so you know I had to talk about this somewhere! Having a solid plan in place is going to be your best ally, but it can also be an enemy. To be honest, planning as a working mother is a double-edged blade.
The Risks of Planning
Early in my career, I was very aware of whether or not each job I took would leave room for children. I tried to control each job decision as if I was already a mom, even though I knew I was a few years off from having children.
I would constantly run through exercises to try and figure out how I could construct my life in a way that would make it easy for me to be a mom.
Yes, I definitely had control issues! But I also know I’m not alone in this. So many of us try to build our lives around the future children we want to have, when the truth is, we can’t. We need to take advantage of the now, plan for the present, and THEN plan for the future when it’s time.
What exactly is the danger in this? I’ve talked to so many women who were planning as far ahead as I was… and didn’t take promotions or advance their careers because of it. Rigidly planning for a future that hasn’t happened yet is stressful. You’re working yourself up over a lot of “maybe”s, instead of navigating the changes as they come.
My husband and I had all these plans and put things on hold… only to struggle with infertility. It wasn’t until I started to just say “yes” and make strides in my career that everything fell into place. Did it go to plan? Absolutely not. Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not.
There is a world of possibility that you shut out when you stick to your plans with extreme rigidity — and sometimes, those possibilities become even better than the plans you were dreaming up.
One of the most important things I learned when all my “rigid” plans went to hell in a handbasket… you will never know everything. I remember being so extremely goal-based during my early twenties, around both my family and career. I believed that, in order to value my family, I needed to be a stay-at-home mom.
But the thing is, being so goal-based will leave no room for your actual values. I held this belief that being a stay-at-home mom equaled valuing my family, so I put the goal (stay-at-home mom) before the value (family).
What I’ve since learned is that value-driven planning is actually a much healthier way to approach things! When I took a step back and centered on my family value instead of an outcome, I realized that showing my children how much I valued them actually meant taking on a career I was passionate about.
Because showing my daughters that they are powerful, deserve happiness, and can have careers that they’re completely in love with is the best example of valuing my family I’ve ever seen.
The happiest and most content people are those who make decisions based on their values.
The Power of Planning
A few years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine from church. My husband and I had a fairly non-traditional setup at this time, and I remember telling her how lucky I felt to have the family I did.
And what she said next stopped me in my tracks.
“Hannah, I’ve been hearing you talk about this for 6 years. You’ve been continually making decisions along the way that have gotten you to this point.”
You know what? She was right! I had been! And it was because I had looked at all the possibilities for my life and had conversations with my spouse that brought those possibilities into reality.
So the big picture was that I’d achieved something I’d been talking about for years. But on a smaller scale, it was all because I had continuously made small decisions that aligned with my future plans. And every single decision added up until I’d achieved my goals!
They were career decisions for my husband and I, financial decisions, family decisions… you name it.
All of those decisions combined to set us up in the position we wanted to be in, all because we knew the bigger direction we wanted our life to go in.
I hope that any woman out there who’s thinking about having a family can read this blog and see that your family, your human capital, is so important.
Do you want my insight into planning your finances for your future family, retirement, or another life transition? You can explore my services and book a call with me here!
No matter what, YOU are the right mom for your kids. You can trust yourself to make the right decisions. I’ll see you next week.
Resources mentioned in this episode: