Paulina Cameron, CEO of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) discusses the importance of a healthy work-life balance and how she maintains this, along with her own experience being a “CEO Mom”.
There has always been a somewhat negative narrative surrounding mothers who choose to have a career, a belief that motherhood and a successful career are two things that are mutually exclusive. Women such as Cameron are gradually breaking this stigma surrounding working moms.
When asked about how motherhood has impacted her career Cameron explained; “I remember before having kids, people would say ‘wait until you have kids, everything will change.’ I would say they were right, and they were wrong. Where they were wrong is I am no less ambitious than before.” Cameron goes on to explain that in conversation with other women in the workplace about motherhood she often finds that women frequently feel as though they have to choose between being a good mother and being successful in their careers, “I’m really interested in the narrative where there is an ‘and’. How can we thrive in both and not in this weird binary of ‘you are one or the other’?”
Inherent biases and outward societal judgment that working moms face, can often manifest themselves in microaggressions that women such as Cameron experience on a frequent basis. She explains that one of the most common is being asked “Who is watching your kids?” when working. Cameron explains how she navigates uncomfortable situations such as this one that unfortunately come with being a “CEO Mom”. “I get that comment all the time – depending on my mood I will either say ‘Yep, my husband is home full time, he’s loving it’ and they will either think that’s phenomenal or they will kind of give me a look like they think I’m an alien. Sometimes if I’m feeling cheeky, I’ll ask, ‘Oh, when’s the last time you asked a man that?’” This situation that Cameron is describing perfectly illustrates the double standard that surrounds working parents.
Feeling overwhelmed is completely normal, especially for someone under as much pressure as a working mom. When asked about navigating this, Cameron had this to say;
“There is very little in this world that we control, but what I do have a choice about is how I perceive my experiences, how I respond to something, that is my choice.” More specifically when talking about how one can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, Cameron shared some of the techniques she uses. “I have lots of tactical tools I like to use, like meditation and being outdoors is really big for me. I have this group of friends, and they are my go to, it’s my backbone.” She goes on to discuss the importance of community in regards to mental health and feeling supported. “Talking about it, you never know who’s going to be able to help you. Asking for help, and then accepting it. Finding a community, online, in person… on Locelle!”
Finding a work-life balance can be hard. Finding a work-life balance for a new mom can be even harder. Women like Paulina Cameron are creating a new normal that allows women to be successful in their careers without facing unjust scrutiny for working and having a family at the same time. After all, this is something men have been able to do, for decades, why should women be expected to do anything differently?