Published On Oct 09, 2017  
in  Leadership & Development and PECO Culture

As a new empty nester with my freshman daughter away at college, I often find myself reflecting back on the 18 years that I spent as a working mom. I am grateful for my family’s support, amazing employers and fellow moms that have provided valuable advice as I raised my daughter. Through it all, I learned many lessons.  Here are my top 5:

 1 – Find Your Passion.  A good friend once told me that if she had to leave her kids to go to work, she better have a job that she loved.  Don’t settle for a boring job - pursue a career that you are passionate about and make sure that your time away from your kids is spent doing something that keeps you engaged and motivated.  Also, seek out a company that has a family-friendly culture. It’s good to know that if you need to leave early for a sick child or to attend a soccer game – it won’t be frowned upon.

2 – Learn to say “no”. Don’t volunteer just because you think that you should. You don’t have to overcompensate for a being a working mom.  Help out when you can to but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.  I don’t even want to think about the number of hours that I spent making the best class treat bags just because I wanted to impress the other moms or the stress I unnecessarily put on myself being the team manager for my daughter’s soccer team to prove that I could do it all. 

3 – Define the work life balance that works for you. I have read numerous books and articles about finding work life balance. What I have learned is that my balance is unique to me and how it works for my family.  The perfect balance is not something prescribed by another working mom or an “expert” who wrote a book. And remember, if you manage a team, working moms are often your best workers because they work smart. While they may leave early for one of their children’s events, they are the first person responding to an e-mail later because they are catching up after their child goes to sleep.

4 – Don’t be a Helicopter Parent or Tiger Mom. At some point, you need to let your child make their own mistakes. During my daughter’s first couple of high school years, I literally checked her grades on-line daily and was constantly reminding her if she had an assignment due.  If you have a teenager, you know how well that went. She knew what she needed to get done and I needed to let her do it (or not!).  It’s challenging to let go of that control but it’s something that must happen in order for your child to grow.

5 – Be proud of being a working mom. In my neighborhood, I was often one of the few working moms and I always felt like I had to justify why I worked. Don’t apologize.  Recognize the value that you are providing to your child as a positive working mom role model.

I recently posted on social media that I was a bit sad and that my house was too quiet without my daughter.  A Facebook friend reminded me that this is what I had worked my whole life for – to raise a confident and successful daughter who was ready to embark on her next chapter in college. Enjoy every moment because before you know it, your child will be off on their own.  To the other working moms out there – what is your best piece of advice?

Cherilyn Megill
Cherilyn Megill
Chief Marketing Officer
Decision Making
Women in Real Estate