Good Mom, Meet Successful Career Woman

Blog June 28, 2011

Recently I attended a  workshop led by Lissa Rankin, M.D. ( where the topic was “Get Out of Your Own Way”.  Dr. Rankin went around the circle and asked each of us – what is our “Limiting Belief” – in other words, what is that self-talk that gets in the way of us accomplishing what we want to accomplish.

I had to think really hard about this one – because if you asked me this question twelve months ago, I would have had a slew of things to say.  I would have said I have this inner critic who asks questions like, Why do you think you’re qualified to do this?  You’re a lawyer, you should be practicing law.  You’ve been out of the professional workforce for too long to be taken seriously doing anything.  You’re not a licensed psychologist so why will anyone take you seriously as a coach…

Fortunately I’ve worked through all of those.  I know I’m good at what I do.  And I’m able to honor and respect all of those life experiences that have given me so many of the tools that make me good at what I do.  How silly when I think back now about the lawyer thing.  As an attorney, I advised and counseled numerous clients, both individuals and organizations, and helped them to achieve their desired results.  So what the hell was that inner critic talking about?!?  I have come a long way when it comes to my self-talk.

So, what is it now?  What is the belief I have at this moment in time that is holding me back?  When I forced myself to really be honest about what it is that stands between me and me accomplishing my biggest goal  – I realized it’s the tug of war of time.  For me to really succeed in what I’m doing – i.e., attract more of  the types of clients I’m really going after, write content for my blog, create workshops and seminars that are truly where my heart is, I’ll have to spend less time with the little man, and more time on me.  So I suppose my limiting belief was that the little man would suffer from less time with me.

What does this mean for me?  Do I believe that I am incapable of being a good mom and having a successful career at the same time?  Dr. Rankin suggested that may be my limiting belief.  I quickly dismissed the suggestion, as I couldn’t possibly think that.  I mean, that goes against everything I believe on an intellectual and an emotional level about being a woman.  Of course I can be a good mom and have a successful career at the same time.  My mom is living proof!  The key, I’ve discovered, was going to be defining what “good mom” and “successful career” mean for me.

When I really took a close look at my newly uncovered limiting belief, it melted under the spotlight. Do I really think little man would suffer from less mommy time?  No, I don’t.  I mean, I can design my schedule to be home at a reasonably early time each day so I get quality time with him in the afternoons.  And I have a wonderful babysitter who is kind and calm and playful and who Jay really enjoys.  Does it really have to be me picking him up from school or camp each and every day in order to be sure I know he’s thriving there?  Not really, when I think about it.  Most days, the teachers aren’t interested in having individual discussions with the parents anyway.

I began to realize that I was using “time with Jay” as an excuse to put my personal goals on hold.  But why?  If my personal goals are on hold, then I don’t move forward in achieving them.  Once I put meaningful time, energy, and sharp focus on my goals, well, then I’m really going for it.  And once I’m really going for it, I just might succeed!  And that’s a little SCARY!

But when success means being a “good mom” and having a “successful career” – as defined by ME – well, what could be more exhilarating than that?!?

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  • Rachel says:

    Well said, Stace. I think it’s very difficult to strike a balance between work, family, and “me time” that I’m happy with, even if my co-workers, husband, and kids would never question my level of commitment, time, and energy. It’s all about adjusting my own expectations – not only about what is “good enough”, but also about what is “great.”

    You’re a great writer, and I enjoy reading your posts!


    • Stacy says:

      Thank you so much, Rachel! I think it’s an always-evolving balancing act, and as our families change and our careers change, it’s a balancing act that has to be constantly calibrated to continue to serve us well. It’s all about being true to ourselves!

  • Brynne says:

    Well said, Stacy! As a babysitter, I see many women working to find the balance between professional endeavors and motherhood. You’re absolutely right–the key to finding that balance is to define your own terms! It seems to be the clearest excercise to empowering your personal choices as a working parent. Looking forward to more observations!


    • Stacy says:

      Thanks so much, Brynne! You have quite an interesting vantage point getting to see the inner workings of different families up close and personal!

  • adventuresofrileyandmayaMargo says:

    Stacy – this is a really thought-provoking piece on one of the most challenging issues for moms. Mommy guilt can be a real wall – I say let’s tear it down 😉 I am so proud of you for moving forward and have 100% confidence that your professional life will continue to grow rapidly. Little man has a very talented mommy.

  • Harvey says:

    I really love that last line …………. “as defined by ME”. All too often we worry about how we live our lives as defined by others when we answer to ourselves and define our own success on our own terms.

    • Stacy says:

      Thanks for your comment, Harvey! You’re right, that piece is such a critical piece of finding one’s happiness – realizing that it’s YOU you have to answer to!

  • Sacha says:

    Your Twitter feed is not showing up for me on this page for some reason. Keeps saying “Twitter did not respond.” Not sure if there is anything you can do or if it’s a problem on Twitter’s end.

    Anyway, great post my love! Really interesting and insightful. You are a fabulous writer.

  • Very exhilarating! And the type of (new) career that you’ve chosen is perfect for balancing time with Jay and time for yourself and your aspirations. Your the new modern mom! Congratulations. I can’t wait to watch your new career blossom.

    • Stacy says:

      Thanks so much, Heather! Your support means a lot to me. I love your blog!! What a terrific resource for all those gluten-free eaters – way to go, Sister!

  • Sometimes the guilt can be overwhelming. As the mother of a 2 year old and one on the way, I feel a lot of self imposed pressure to be perfect at all of my many roles. This is a common problem that I think many of us can identify with. Thanks for addressing it!

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