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Notes from the MaB Kickoff Panel

March 3, 2009

Today was our grand debut and our lunch panel exceeded expectations. Not only did our five very experienced and accomplished panelists represent a variety of career tracks but also a wide variety of parenting experiences including infertility, adoption, self-employment, time-intensive corporate careers, work sabbaticals, single-motherhood, live-in nannies and stay-at-home dads. The stories and insights were much appreciated by all.

Here is a smattering of some of the insights from today’s lunch:

  • Be very careful about? setting aside your personal life for your career, especially given how unpredictable pregnancy and childbirth can be. You have the right to pursue your personal ambitions in addition to your professional ambitions.
  • There is some inevitable tension between career and family. It can be helpful to be open with your employer and to find the right group of people. If you don’t like working somewhere before you have children – you’re probably not going to like it any more after you have children. The ideal workplace differs for everyone.
  • We are modelling values and priorities for our children. There is joy and satisfaction from raising self-sufficient young people who see their parents balancing work and personal life.
  • Motherhood forces prioritization. Many of our commitments and time expenditures which seemed important before children can be reduced, leaving us to focus on the most critical needs/wants without sacrificing overall satisfaction.
  • Getting the right support systems is critical! Accept help where ever you find it: grandparents, partners, friends, paid help. Additionally, the children of working moms receive the gift of relationships and time with family members and care providers which can be very fulfilling and that they might not otherwise have.
  • You might feel guilt or? regret about allocating time towards career and away from time for your children during periods of your life. Similarly you might feel guilt or regret about not allocating enough time to your career. It is very important to? listen to your own heart? rather than? the opinions of others – every woman will have her own best solution.
  • Balancing work and family changes as your children grow older – often feels more manageable as children are able to take more responsibility for themselves. Remember that your working motherhood experience will evolve.
  • The adjustments and changes that you make in your career upon the arrival of children more often than not are steps in a more satisfying direction rather than a compromise. What satisfies you before children might not feel satisfactory after children.
  • The finance industry can be especially challenging for working mothers – seek out the right employer and right role for yourself and you can hopefully find a more supportive niche.
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