Want to Win? Pick an Ambitious Mom to be on Your Team.

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#embraceyourambition

If you’re not a stay-at-home mom, you may not know this about stay-at-home moms: They aren’t all perfectly styled, ombrés, lashes, flawless asses in $115 yoga pants. They don’t obsess about the PTA, Pinterest birthday parties, and Instagram-worthy vacations. Well, maybe they do, and perhaps some are, but more are messy buns, no makeup, yesterday’s yoga pants, who haven’t yet looked in the mirror today.

Maybe they worked out before the kids woke up. Perhaps they are waiting until nap time. Maybe they are waiting until the baby turns three. That’s so not the point.

What they have in common is law degrees, Ph.D.’s, and experience formerly running teams, departments, and corporations. They know how to manage their household because they used to direct a $5 million annual budget and 15-person team.

They write books, blog posts, and marketing copy from their phones, for their websites and podcasts, and they respond to requests from their clients, the media, and their children’s schools before, after, and during pickup. They aren’t stay-at-home moms so much as they are empire builders who prioritize family first.

And, they are crazy about their hubbies, have great kids, and stress about all the same stuff that working moms do, but they’ve left Corporate America because Corporate America failed them.

Corporate America seduced them when they were young and aspiring. It promised money, benefits, and promotions, and it delivered…for a while, but when they said, “I’m also going to become a mother,” Corporate America said “great,” but they didn’t mean it.

They stopped promoting them, they stopped hiring them, they took away opportunities and undermined them, and maybe even fired them. They said it wasn’t related but look at the stats. Look at the stats.

They said it’s too complicated to figure out a coverage plan while you’re on maternity leave, so we will just work around your position, and that’s how we’ll discover we can do without you. You are welcome to pump anywhere you want; oh, wait, your office doesn’t have a lock? The bathroom stalls aren’t food-safe sanitary? And you can’t do it between meetings? No big, we’ll just take the meeting without you while you find your perfect pumping spot and make assumptions about your level of commitment.

Oh and sorry, we can’t offer flexible hours because that would mean acknowledging that you are a person and we need you to be expendable, so we’ll choose someone younger, more aspirational, less likely to want kids. If that’s a male, so be it. Your choices have consequences after all.

They say the pay gap is a result of women opting out, but are they opting out or are they being forced out? And if an ambitious mom takes a look at the promises of entrepreneurship and says that might be better for my family, is that opting out or is it making better choices?

All that lost wisdom.

All that lost balance.

All that lost perspective.

To preserve something that isn’t working that great anyway.

WTF?

And, if you’re not an executive mom, you may not know this about executive moms: They aren’t all perfectly styled, blowouts, manis, flawless asses in $350 suits. They don’t obsess about stock options, premieres, and Instagram-worthy vacations. Well, maybe they do, and perhaps some are, but more are messy buns, mascara only, yesterday’s goldfish in the bottom of their designer handbag, who haven’t had time to eat today.

Maybe they worked out before the kids woke up. Perhaps they are waiting until their husband gets home. Maybe they are waiting until their next biz trip with a hotel gym. That’s so not the point.

What they have in common is law degrees and Ph.D.’s; they currently run teams and departments and corporations. They know how to manage their household because they are comfortable directing a $50 million annual budget and 65-person team.

They write memos, status reports, and employee reviews from their iPads on the road, for their colleagues and clients, and they respond to requests from their staff, their leadership team, and their children’s schools while the nanny or their stay-at-home husband drop-offs and picks up their children. They aren’t executive moms so much as they are world-class leaders driving results and raising children.

And, they are crazy about their hubbies, have great kids, and stress about all the same stuff that stay-at-home moms do, but they’ve committed to Corporate America even though Corporate America consistently fails them.

Corporate America seduced them when they were young and aspiring. It promised money, benefits, and promotions and it delivered…for a while, but when they said, “I’m also going to become a mother,” Corporate America said “great,” but they didn’t mean it.

They stopped promoting them, or maybe they promoted them, but it came with conditions, unwritten rules forcing impossible choices, like working more hours or showing up to required-not-required after-hours events, and even though they know they are the best woman for the job, they feel torn, regret, and guilt.

They stopped leaning in and volunteering because they want to hold their infant before bedtime, and if they can just survive this stage, this very fleeting stage, maybe they can pick up the pace later. Except it isn’t that easy.

They said it’s too complicated to figure out a generous maternity leave, your role is too essential, but we won’t email or call unless it’s important, so even though you’re bonding with your infant and not sleeping, could you please keep one eye on your phone and respond if it’s critical? There will only be one or two or 27 critical emails each day. And can you just call in for this one little, ok weekly, call?

I mean, you’re ambitious, surely you’re bored at home, even with a newborn, right? And sorry, even though we trust you, and you’ve been a model employee, we can’t offer flexible hours when you’re back because that would mean acknowledging that you are a person and we need you to be expendable, even though you’ve given us so very much, so we’ll choose someone younger, more aspirational, less likely to want more kids. If that’s a male, so be it. Your choices have consequences after all.

They say the pay gap is a result of women opting out, but are they opting out or are just putting their heads down and working even harder, in survival mode until something has to give? Too grateful to complain, even though they deserve better? Even though they’ve earned it? And if an ambitious mom presses pause on her corporate career in service of her family and then can’t find a company willing to let her un-pause, is that opting out or is it naively believing in options that don’t exist?

All that lost wisdom.

All that lost balance.

All that lost perspective.

To preserve something that isn’t working that great anyway.

WTF?

Let’s change this. Your choices have consequences after all.

Let’s fix this. Your choices have consequences after all.

It’s past time.

Women are the most potent and underutilized resource in the world today.

Let us contribute.

On our terms.

Let us nurture.

On our terms.

Yes, we are doing it anyway.

Why not make it easier for moms and better for families?

We are on the same team.

Team Mom

Team Ambitious Mom

And everybody wins.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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