On paper I have it all: I’m married to a supportive man, I'm mum to two children, and in the past six years I’ve managed to double my income. And while I’ve spent the past 15 years working as a financial expert, the top question I’ve been receiving lately from the many driven young women in my community has nothing to do with money. Instead, they want to know: “How do you manage the demands of a full-time career and be a good mum?”
They aren’t convinced that they, too, can have a partner and a career and kids. They read Lean In and all the modern career bibles, and yet they’re still left with doubts about how to happily and successfully grow a career and family at the same time.
How do you have time to do everything? How do you afford it? When do you sleep?
My answers are: I outsource a lot. I try to earn a lot of money. I take naps when I can.
But that’s not the whole of it.
My ability (most days) to support and show up for my career and family is thanks to a set of beliefs I established years ago, well before I became a mother, or even before I met my husband. Some of these beliefs — about the need for independence and self-protection — date back to the days of my mum’s stern warnings and the threats about strange men in our neighbourhood who would steal me if I got too close. (I was five and she was probably right.) But I started making professional and financial moves long before I decided to have kids, and it set me up for success during this busy, sometimes challenging, always rewarding phase of my life.
When I hear from these young women who want to know how to do it all, I offer them the following advice. While every woman will have different solutions, these are ten principles that guide and empower me to be a fulfilled, working mum.