Donna. Working Mothers, Male and Female Careers

posted February 12th, 2010 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Donna whether she had any regrets about being a working mother, how she balanced all of the competing demands on her time and whether she had any advice or secrets she could share with a young woman who is attempting to do the same thing.  She says she was asked that question once when she spoke to a group of women in business school at university. One of them asked her if she regretted not being home when her kids were young.  Her oldest daughter was in the audience because she was attending the same university. Donna said she had tried to make it all work and her daughter stood up and said she thought she should answer the question.   She said she always felt her mum was there when she needed her and her working wasn’t a big deal and for Donna that was huge. So she doesn’t have regrets about having worked when her kids were younger but she says she did take time off and was at home when they were in the pre-teen years and then came back into the industry.  

 

She says: “The best way to make it work is to have a supportive spouse and never scrimp on child care.  Pay what you need to pay to get the best child care that you can afford to get and then understand that there will be times you cannot be there for every single thing in either the office or with the kids.  You make choices and it works out.  If you’re paying attention to your kids, you can tell when there’s something wrong, in which case you may have to make different choices, but life is full of choices and compromises and kids understand that and can thrive in it.  So no, I don’t have regrets about working.”

 

I asked Donna to describe her impression of the difference between her experience and the experience of a male peer or colleague. She said: “Oh they usually have stay-at-home wives.  It’s still different for the men.  The men by and large are not dealing with things at home.  In our industry, very few men have wives that are working full time.  The men still do go out for drinks mostly with other men as opposed to men and women.  There’s still that, I don’t know how to describe it, informal networking, that women are not naturally a part of.  You can be accepted by them, they can work well with you, they will invite you out when there’s a big group going but there are some networking events where there’s still a difference between men and between men and women.  It’s getting better as there are more women but we still don’t have that many women in the finance industry.  I mean still, after over 20 years there aren’t that many more women in senior positions.”

 

Donna said woman can’t go out and act like one of the boys but most wouldn’t want to in any case.  But she says: “It doesn’t mean you can’t be highly successful; it’s just different for women.  Maybe on the positive side we have more flexibility or leeway in choosing when we participate in after hours networking or client entertainment.”  

 

What Strikes Me?

 

The best way to make it all work is to have a supportive spouse

 

Never scrimp on child care, pay what you need to pay to get the best that you can afford to get

 

There will be times you cannot be there for every single thing in the office or with the kids

 

You make choices and it works out

 

 If you’re paying attention to your kids, you can tell when there’s something wrong, in which case you may have to make different choices

 

Life is full of choices and compromises and kids understand that and can thrive in it 

 

In our industry, very few men have wives that are working full time. In fact, men in the business usually have stay-at-home wives; it’s still different for men

 

Men by and large are not dealing with things at home

 

Men still do go out for drinks by and large with other men as opposed to women; women are not naturally part of this type of informal networking

 

Women can be accepted by men and work well with them and be invited out to play when there’s a big group going but there are certain of the networking events where it’s still a little different between men and between men and women

 

We still don’t have that many women in the finance industry

 

What Strikes You?

 

Please add your comments

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in working mothers

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!