April 20; Every Mom Is a Working Mom;
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Four: Relationships; 20 April

She considers a field and buys it;

out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:16

Every Mom Is a Working Mom

Balance

“How do you do it all?” Accomplished women with kids constantly get this question.

Helen, married and mother of three, from Raleigh, NC, has the answer.

Your Business Professor sat down with Helen and her husband David to learn the secret.

She’s a former corporate Vice President. She’s run a number of start-ups. But Helen says she’s now “followed her passion to gardening.” Her consulting and writing is what gives her what she needs most:

Flexibility.

She was well-prepared for her work. Helen has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Science, studied Garden Design in London, and completed a series of international consulting assignments. In a male-dominated business. Where she learned:

Negotiation.

The greatest challenge women face in business is learning to negotiate. “I first learned to negotiate with myself,” she says. “I made a decision to balance and to do what was really important for me: marriage and children.”

But she also negotiates with her clients. Hard. She establishes upfront contracts with the explicit understanding that her family demands will come first.

Family.

The tipping point was an 11-day business trip. She left her then-only child with David, who arranged his schedule to be home. Everything went well. (David is that kind of guy — with his own story.) Nothing went wrong. . . she just missed her daughter too much.

She was attempting the conventional time balance that she describes as, “Thirds, 1/3 husband, 1/3 children, 1/3 work. But something had to give.” There weren’t enough hours.

And Helen felt that, “Anything can happen with kids.”

She now has a new view of the family dynamic. As a total household enterprise.

She says, “A family cannot have two corporate climbing spouses with children.” So she re-calculated the ‘Thirds Formula’ to following Pareto’s Principle of 80/20.

“One spouse has to give 80% to supporting spouse and children, leaving 20%, if that, for work with heavy travel demands,” she says. Kids take time.

Children.

She is an advocate of “sequencing” for women — marriage, children, work. Helen says a woman can always have an “ambitious career.” After the kids are in school. She knows she will anger feminists.

Helen says about husband and wife as an economic unit that, “Somebody has to take the minimum wage-like bank-teller job,” with low off-work requirements. Because kids change everything.

Looking for flexibility for her family, she used her negotiation skills and started another business to fit her own needs. It happens to generate a bit more than minimum wage, but money was not the goal.

She put her family first and income followed.

Helen’s path to workplace independence with flexibility, was not smooth. Twenty-something women could learn from her.

She has advice to young women starting out. Where the fear is that they will get behind the power curve. “Not so.”

Helen says, “Your career is still waiting for you.”

After your children.

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16

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