In the first instalment of our two-part professional vision series for working mamas (or those thinking about going back to work), Grace Papers founder Prue Gilbert explains what we can learn from our kids when it comes to knowing our professional vision.
by Prue Gilbert
“We can tell stories all night and we can talk about the women who have inspired us. But what inspires me is not just who they are, but what they do. They roll their sleeves up and they get to work.” – Hilary Clinton
The work we do at Grace Papers is building on the shoulders of giants; continuing the legacy of those before us who have championed women’s rights, equality, freedom and justice.
But every now and again – I pause. I collect my thoughts. I ask myself, “at what cost am I prepared to take up this battle?”. My yardstick is always my vision, which includes being a ‘good mum’ and having a career I love.
But how do I know I’m a ‘good mum’? The familiar sense of mother’s guilt kicks in.
What makes a good mum?
It’s one of those questions you need to consider through a child’s eyes. But I wonder how often we really do.
So, I recently sat down and interviewed 16 children under the age of 10 and asked them about their mums and why they go to work.
Professionally, their mums are a diverse group – from partners in law firms to small business owners, to construction managers. What united them, though, was that they were each deeply connected to their purpose – professionally and personally. Yes, they juggle, and yes, they understand full well the struggle. Each has certainly questioned the impact of their commitment to work on their children’s wellbeing. Because isn’t a good mum one who is with her kids?
But the kids?
They saw their mums as the complete package: they were women who loved them, who made them feel safe, but they were also their role models.
And a quarter of the way through the interviews, we had already identified a theme – happiness.
To their kids, the mums were living, breathing examples of big dreams and hard work; of the fulfilment work can bring, and of the importance of doing something you enjoy, which aligns with your passions and values. Their children could see the way work connected their mothers to broader purpose, and the joy that brought them.
So what can we learn from our kids?
We know there is no silver bullet when it comes to levelling the playing field for women in the workforce. But when women are provided with the tools to build their professional vision and participate in work with aligns with their purpose, we shift the professional goal posts.
And personally? We can replace the sense of ‘mother’s guilt’ with a sense of achievement that in our children’s eyes, we are not only great mothers, but we are also aspirational role models.
So watch the awesome answers from little people I interviewed, then click on the link to create your own professional vision.
You might also like: The Beach People reveal their secrets to launching a successful #mama business, 5 inspiring mamas to help you kickstart the week, and We’re throwing in the 9-to-5 for life on the road with a 1-year-old.