Working Mothers: It’s Time to Start Feeling Proud, Not Guilty!
Motherhood is a journey of individual learning. Not a single woman knows beforehand how to be a mother. Our immense love, our values and beliefs guide us. We embrace motherhood as the greatest joy- as well as a huge responsibility.
Mothers have an enormous influence in the development of new generations, of future leaders. We have the power to nurture a childhood where girls and boys grow up to achieve their dreams. Let’s not forget though that we are individuals with our own dreams, passions, hopes, goals: with a mission of our own. We have the capacity to fulfill many roles, to succeed in the different facets of being a woman.
Nowadays, the number of women who continue working after having children is rising, and this trend is changing family life. Working mothers across all professional fields are reshaping maternity and paternity roles. Yet, most mothers, often feel guilty every morning when they leave for work.
Is it really possible to find balance between professional realization and raising children? The answer is yes. Reclaiming one’s right to combine maternity and a career is conceivable. The first step is to stop feeling guilty and get rid of old beliefs and harmful cultural prejudices.
As working mothers, we constantly question ourselves if we are good enough — as moms and as professionals. It is time to acknowledge that we are not bad mothers for working and we are not bad professionals because we are moms. Stop sweating over missing a meeting because your daughter is sick, or outsourcing the organization of your kid’s birthday party. Accept the trade-offs and connect with the power you have within to succeed in all the facets of being a woman.
How to overcome a working mother’s guilt? Here is a piece of advice:
1. Bonding is not about time- it is about love. It is clear that children need to build a warm, nurturing relationship with their moms, to feel safe and know they are loved unconditionally. However, giving your children this certainty does not require that you stay home 24/7.
2. Let your children learn through interaction with the world. Mothers are central in their children’s lives but babies and toddlers learn about the world and themselves, and acquire important skills through interaction with other people.
3. Aim to be present, not perfect. The quest to be a super-mom who does everything flawlessly will only wear you out. Be the best you can be, awaken in your love and share it with your children. Focus on providing significant emotional nourishment, connect with your children, and make sure to spend quality time together.
4. Speak up for your rights. Family-friendly policies within companies should not be a perk but rather a well-deserved right. A best practice is to offer flexible scheduling to the entire staff — mothers and fathers in order to level the share of responsibility. Research shows that when companies offer their workers flexible time arrangements, employees are happier, more productive, and less likely to quit.
5. Set your own rules. Forget about what other people are doing. What works for your family’s particular needs and makes you and them happy is what you should do. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. Enjoy raising your kids, the way you consider it best.
Working mothers should feel proud, not guilty. Remember it is not perfection but dedication what makes children feel loved and protected. Enjoy all the opportunities that life gives you to become a fulfilled human being while you accompany your children in this beautiful learning journey called life.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.