Is Corporate America Interfering with Motherhood?

Kathleen Byars | February 18, 2017

A lot of women tell me they want to leave their job. They feel stuck in a demanding corporate career and want to break free.

They miss their kids…they don’t remember the last time they had a real date with their husband…their newest fashion accessory is a baggy twinset to hide the extra 5 lbs from lack of exercise and one-too-many-late-nights-at-the-office vino and pizza…and the only alone time they get is the commute to the office.

Believe me, I get it.

I used to slink around guilt-laden by the long days I left my daughter in childcare. And fifteen pounds ago, I wore that baggy twinset. And I relished my 45-minute commute to the office, especially when I turned the cell phone ringer off and played Alanis Morissette EXTRA LOUD on the car stereo.

Yet, what if I told you that Corporate America isn’t the problem?

Well, at least not the main problem.

What if I told you that our culturescape is the problem? And that you are unwittingly carrying our culturescape inside of you; allowing society to guide you, direct you, and influence your every move?

Here’s a secret that took me ten years to figure out. Corporations don’t create gilded cages. We do.

Because we’re SCARED…

We’re scared to stop being the #1 employee in the room…because that would mean we are a failure.

We’re scared to be passed over on those big, important projects…because that means we’re less valuable.

We’re scared to lose our lifestyle – or Heavens to Betsy – downgrade our lifestyle…because that means we’re not capable.

We’re scared (and super resentful) of that skinny, little, ambitious new girl who is clawing at our heels … because that means we weren’t smart enough to keep our place at the table.

And we’re scared that if we don’t provide the very best schools, the very best college fund, and the very best vacation for our family every year than we are letting our kids, our spouse, our parents, and ourselves down.

Do you know what I mean?

While RATIONALLY, we know this stuff isn’t supposed to matter, it does. It did for me. And guess what? All of those fears don’t go away if you leave the corporate world.

They follow you. And haunt you. And you’re just as scared as ever, but now you are charting brand-new territory without a compass. The answer isn’t LEAVING the corporate world. Because you’ll drive yourself equally as crazy as an entrepreneur. Or you’ll be miserable at a lower ranking job. Or you’ll burn out being a stay-at-home mom. Until you REDEFINE YOURSELF, you’ll be miserable no matter where you are.

Believe me, I’ve tried it.

So what’s a girl to do? How the heck do you release yourself from the culturescape and start writing your own story? The story you really want:

…where the kids are a BIG PART of each day.

…and your husband is the super-sexy guy you fell in love with rather than the dude who helps you prop up this thing called life

…where you feel strong and fit and healthy because you eat well and exercise every single day

…and you stay up late reading a favorite book and meet your best friend every Saturday for coffee guilt-free

You know what I mean. Whatever your version of a BALANCED, MEANINGFUL life story looks like.

Here’s what you do.

Let go. Seriously, just let go. Stop the madness and write your very own, unique, special and completely audacious life story. It’s scary as hell. And the road map is murky at best. But damn, it feels oh so good!

To do that, you have to change how you DEFINE yourself. Believe it or not, you can stay RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE, working for the same company and change your priorities, change your availability, and establish your boundaries. Or jump to one of the many amazing corporations that have outstanding cultures that embrace your desire for balance and motherhood.

You do not have to abide by the culturescape. It may be inside you, but you’re stronger than that. Just let it go and start creating the life you’ve always dreamed of. Write down what you want and the steps to get there. What boundaries do you need to create? What compromises will you have to make? And best of all, what is the reward? A life surrounded by your littles that’s peaceful, centered and completely authentic.

Geez…that sounds pretty good. Maybe the rest of the world doesn’t value a life of balance, but I sure do. And I bet you might, too…

I believe we all have a bit of trailblazer inside us, don’t you? It’s my passion to help others create change. I believe that we are capable of far more than we allow ourselves to imagine and when we dare to live by our own rules we find a life of true joy, success, and balance.

Do you know anyone who might benefit from this article? If so, please forward and share!

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