Friday, June 19, 2009

The Great Mom Debate

“Should I stay or should I go?” is a question asked by nearly every working mother. In a Forbes article this week, Time Off Debate: Infancy Vs. The Teen Years author Jenna Goudreau discusses the timeless struggle of balancing both professional and personal lives as a mother.

As the daughter of two working parents, I know first hand that there are pros and cons to taking on both a career and a family. Today, some women, like Nancy Shenker, are taking an alternative approach and staying home with their children while they are teens instead of the more traditional approach of staying home with infants. Shenker, founder and CEO of theONswitch, has two children now 21 and 17. While there isn’t much research on the topic, some experts argue that it is more important to be with your children when they are going through the “rocky years of young adulthood.” The article proceeds to go through different age groups, discussing the pros and cons of working during those time periods, as well as the impact it can have on both the mother and child.

Interestingly, many moms such as Shenker, are turning towards entrepreneurship to provide more career flexibility. “Entrepreneurship has afforded me the ability to be more flexible with my schedule and to be around for times in the girls’ lives that truly matter,” Shenker said.

Ultimately, the article poses the following questions: How can I have both a family and a career? How can I be a successful businesswoman and a good mother? What is the perfect balance? In Prendismo’s video collection there are many clips of women discussing how they chose to balance their career and family. The following video clips share the personal struggles some women have had to face in learning to maintain this balance.

"In managing this work/family balance, the other thing I think you need to really recognize is that guilt sits forever on this shoulder." - Christine DeVita, President, Wallace Foundation

"I love my work, and I love my family, so there's a lot of time shifting and blending and integrating the two." - Linda Mason, Chairman, Bright Horizons

"Work is life, life is work." - Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

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