I have owned my own PR agency and worked from home since before my children were born. They’ve seen me locked into bathrooms during conference calls, thrown up on me during presentations as babies, and received thousands of “swag” items from conferences across the United States. And like the dutiful, guilt-ridden Gen X working mom I am, I have worried their entire lives that they are somehow lacking due to my career.
Questions like, “Are they getting enough attention?” and “Am I attending to their needs while enjoying my career?” are the ones that have me grabbing for the bottle of Melatonin during my nightly 3 am wake-up call. If you’re like me, you are probably asking yourself the same questions.
The answer? A resounding YES!
Below are four powerful gifts you are giving your kids as they watch you rock your career:
The Gift of Being Your Own Boss
I’ll never forget attending a tea party when my son was in second grade. He dressed up in his best attire to serve me a proper English tea, and afterward presented a poem about the things he liked best about having me as his mom. Smack dab in the middle of my son’s sweet poem were the words, “I see you working. I hear you typing at your computer. I want to be just like you.” Think of what a powerful gift we give our children when they watch us do something that fills our cup each day. They are learning the next, important lesson.
The Gift of Controlling Your Own Destiny
I survived thirteen rounds of layoffs at my high-tech job before beginning my own agency – thirteen! I remember walking out of the office on the day I gave my notice and realizing that starting my business meant I alone had the power to sink or sail my ship. No one would be able to lay me off without my permission. Can you imagine the powerful message we give children when we prove to them that we have the power to control our own destiny? As working moms we’re showing them that there is nothing they can’t accomplish.
The Gift of Growing Something (Other than Them)
Let’s be honest. Teens can be downright self-absorbed and they are doing their job when they act in a way that puts them at the center of the universe. So it’s fantastic when they learn that they will need to wait patiently until the end of our important conference call to ask us to drive them somewhere, or that we cannot fulfill their McDonalds lunch request for the fifth day in a row due to a deadline. Being a working mom helps our teens see that there is so much more to us than the embodiment of their own personal needs.
The Gift of Working Toward a Goal and Accomplishing It
And finally, perhaps the most important lesson of all, striving for a goal. I began hosting a podcast at the beginning of last year and at the start, I had zero idea of how to go about it. My teens watched me research podcasts, figure out the equipment, go after the guests I wanted, and debut my show and grow my audience. Not long after I launched it, my 15 year old asked me if he could interview me on the podcast. “Your show is about leading women and you’re a leading woman,” he explained. “I thought I could interview you.” It was one of my proudest moments. Not long afterward I learned my son had begun a podcast of his own with some friends. He set a goal, went after it, and made it a reality. Is there anything more gratifying than showing your children that they can reach any goal they set out to achieve and then watching them do it?
Next time you find yourself awake at 3 am fretting over whether your kids are getting the things they need to be healthy, whole, and happy, think of this list. Then congratulate yourself for all of the ways you’re unknowingly encouraging them to follow their dreams, solely by being their shining example. You got this, mama!
About Laurie Halter
Laurie Halter is the owner of Charisma! Communications, a successful auto tech-based PR firm and host of the Carearing podcast, featuring women who are “rearing” families and careers at the same time. You can find her on LinkedIn under @LaurieHalter.