My 11-year old daughter, Naila asked me to help plan her birthday party. I noticed her guest list included certain girls but omitted a few I expected would be on the list. I asked her why she’d chosen those particular 7 girls. Her answer was honest and clear, “Well mom, I like different things about them.” She proceeded to tell me how each girl’s unique personality would contribute to the success of her party. Her list included: a girl who tells jokes, an artsy crafty girl, one who does crazy but fun stuff, 2 girls who like sports (like her), one who’s calm and one that talks a lot.
Naila was clear about who and what she needed in order to have the birthday party she wanted. Each girl was special and important in her own way. It’s the same for working moms. You need a community of women, a “sisterhood” that supports your dreams and goals, that respects your choices and priorities—that get you.
What do you want for yourself? Do you want more “me” time and energy? Maybe you’d like to be more present instead of distracted when you’re with the people you love? Or if you’re like a lot of executive moms, you simply want help managing the daily to-dos.
Having a sisterhood as part of your network is essential for getting the work-life integration you want. It’s there so you can show up powerfully and creatively at work and ensures that you stay connected to what matters most in your personal life. You can’t do it all alone and you’re not supposed to. Here are 3 BFFs every career-driven mom needs in her sisterhood.
Sidekick BFF. The Sidekick BFF in your sisterhood is that woman who’s either right where you are or has been there. She’s a career-driven mom who gets it.
She understands the challenges you face, like succeeding in a masculine-oriented corporate environment, to the heartache you felt having missed your baby’s first steps. She knows about the blessings and celebrations too. Like being a role model for your daughter—showing her that her passions and pursuits matter. Or, like the pride you feel in knowing that you’re raising a son who’ll grow up to be a man who respects the contributions of women in the workplace and champions women leaders.
Sidekick BFF celebrates alongside you when you finally get the recognition and promotion you’ve worked so hard and sacrificed so much for. She’s your confidant and cheerleader—your witness to the highs and lows of a working mom. She’s a fellow traveler on The Working Mom’s Road.
Advocate BFF. The Advocate BFF is that woman you call upon when you need an honest answer. When the people around you are vague, avoiding you, sugarcoating or your subordinates.
You call on her when you’re required to grow. She cares about you even more than she values your friendship. This relationship can be challenging because the truth can be hard to take, even when you’re the one requesting it. It can also be the most rewarding.
Advocate BFF is honest, encouraging, realistic and courageous on your behalf. She helps you to recognize new opportunities in whatever challenge you might be facing. She knows who you want to be and how capable you are (even when you don’t).
Self-Care BFF. Self-Care BFF is all about you giving and caring for you, just as much as you do for everyone and everything else.
Self-Care BFF will ask, “How are you?” and not accept “Fine!” as your final answer. She helps you to stay aware of the fact that, if you’re not at or near the top of your priority list, you’ll never fully reach your goals.
She reminds you that, in order for you to keep rock’n it at work and give your all to the people you love, you have to be kinder to your body, nurture your soul, invest in yourself and ask for help when you need it. She’ll send you articles on the power of meditation encourage you to take-up yoga or suggest a girl’s getaway. You may resist but she’ll persist and you’ll be glad you have her.
Every successful working mom needs a powerful sisterhood. It takes a village to do what you do. As you continue to claim your Shero and positively impact lives out in the world while nurturing the next generation at home, be sure to surround yourself with a sisterhood of champions.
Akanke Adefunmi helps professional women shift from stress to success in their work-family-personal life. You are always invited to attend one of her free work-family-self balance webinars or join her monthly Working Moms Virtual Retreat. Follow her on Twitter, @Akanke_Adefunmi, Like her Facebook page, facebook.com/claimyourshero