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A Note to My Younger Self - Things I wish I had known as a career professional with young children.


This year at momiculture has been all about guest bloggers. These women have been generous with their time and reflections to share the lessons they've learned along the way. Moms who have been there, done that. This month we hear from Katie Hickney, mother of two and Vice President, Managing Director at Fidelity Investments. Thank you, Katie!

 

I have been blessed with a very successful career. I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing colleagues, mentored many young women, participated in awesome leadership programs and grown and developed professionally in ways I could not have imagined. More important, I have raised (with my husband) two successful, independent, fierce, loving, funny women who care deeply about the world and their ability to make it better. On balance, I have had a successful run. Now that I am an

empty nester and in a senior position professionally, I look back and wish I had done some things differently. This is a list of some lessons I wish I had learned earlier and really embraced:

  • Perfection is an illusion. You will never be perfect at work and at home and certainly not at the same time! It is ok to work toward high achievement and ideal nurture but accept that some projects/days/chapters will be smoother than others; if you are engaged you are exactly where you need to be.

  • Perfectionism is an attempt at control. Much of your work life and raising your children is simply out of your control, so let go of what you can and relish the beautiful mess that being a working mom includes. (See number 1 above!)

  • You can’t take care of anyone else if you are not taking care of yourself. (Remember the airplane mask?) Exercise, sleep, be intentional with your friendships, journal, nurture your spirituality, take a bath, read a book. Children sense stress and they need you to be happy to feel safe.

  • Learn to say no to protect your yes! You will be asked to do more than is healthy so focus on what gives you joy, say yes to that and no to everything else.

  • There is a difference between important and urgent: identify what is important and don’t get sucked into the frantic trap that everything must be urgent and accomplished immediately.

  • Ask for help! Yes, the laundry needs to get done, the dishes need to be washed, the groceries need to be bought, the trash needs to go out, the dogs need to be fed, the house needs to be cleaned, the bills need to be paid, BUT you don’t have to do all of it. Work/life balance is a real thing and your time with your children trumps all housekeeping.

  • Guilt is totally unproductive and will not help you in anyway. Know that you are doing the best you can. Unless it appeals, don’t feel compelled to search Pinterest for the cutest Halloween costumes, remember that it is perfectly ok to bring store-bought treats to Back-to-School night, nobody ever died from getting dressed out of the dryer!

  • Find a tribe of like-minded women. It really does take a village to raise a child and your people will be there to drive car-pool, dry tears (yours and your kids!) and celebrate wins.

More than any of the above, enjoy the ride. You will hear a zillion iterations of this theme, but it is genuinely true: the days are endless; the years fly fast. It is an incredibly precious journey you are on, so don’t miss a moment of it!

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