Coping Mechanisms for Career Mothers

Are you torn between your career and home? Or are you one of the few efficiently balancing both? If so, what are (or were) your secrets?

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, offers mothers an advice. She recommends “coping mechanisms.” Watch this video to catch it, and other advices she gave. Married for 30+ years; any wonder that she was able to successfully balance both career and her home?

. . .

Having a successful and rewarding career and a happy home where both parents are happily present for lunch, or at the dinner table, with their children, has become a rarity. Parents attending their children’s PTA’s, sporting, or end-of-year activities has become a luxury because of work and/or due to working late hours. It is not unusual for the parents also not to see each other. As a result of the need to have one parent home with the children, most parents chose alternate work hours where one works the regular 8-5 hours and the other works the night or graveyard shift.

Granted that these scenarios have shifted due to covid19. Covid19 now has “forced” parents to engage more with their children making it one of the good things that came out of it. However, what are parents going to do when it’s over and we return to normalcy?

The biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other.

Indra Nooyi

For most mothers, and according to Nooyi, the biological and career clocks are in conflict with each other. I totally agree with her. Neither does one clock chooses to wait for the other. Each goes the opposite way and the gap widens and never converge.

Some cultures, especially Africans and Asians, have the extended family support system that surround them with love and the necessary pro bono help in times of need such as new births, deaths, surgeries, etc. Others employ the help (maid, driver, chef, etc.) as they are relatively cheaper.

In the Western culture, however, help is scarce or non-existence. Tons of families are therefore torn between fulfilling a rewarding career and or balancing their homes soon after childbirth or during the growing years of their children. I was. With a husband who, at the time was more of a traveling salesman than working his real profession, it was hard to keep both smoothly. I remembered the budget period and crunch times were the times when one or both my kids tended to be ill and their dad was not around or he couldn’t take off.

I couldn’t tell if it was because they missed their dad or just nature (or nurture) telling me that I had to choose. Why couldn’t I have it all?

Summertime was also a challenge. Most summer events or schools ran short for a week or two at a time and drop offs and pick ups ran contrary to corporate hours. I eventually chose and made the decision to be a stay-at-home parent. No more “begging” others to pick my kids up for me or having them stay after-school 3-4 hours till they were picked up or paying the $1/minute charges when they weren’t picked up on time. (Sigh). And being involved in sports, though great for their well-being and a relief to occupy their growing minds, often came with its own challenges.

I’m glad those years are behind us now. Though my career took a dip and turn, I did not regret the decision at all.

If you’re a career mother or parent, how did you cope pre-covid?

Who stays home when the kids are sick?

For us at the time, it was unwritten and assumed that the mother/wife should be the one to take off. One of the cultural pass-downs. I knew a lot of households where the mothers were the chosen ones to take off. But should it really be?

Other things being considered, such as who has more flexibility at work, whose work/career is more accommodating and can work from home, who is the higher-paid parent, tenure on-the-job, etc., must be addressed.

Either way, whoever takes off more will impact his/her career notwithstanding the paid time off (family, personal, or sick) benefits that the work provides.

Opportunity Cost

Yes, we paid for day care. At the time, having a nanny was unpopular and too expensive for us – one of us might as well stay home to do the job.

However, if the benefits of going to work and pursuing a career is greater for you than the cost of employing a nanny, by all means go for it. I’m a believer in benefits and costs. The benefits must always outweigh its costs to be worth pursuing.

. . .

What coping mechanisms did you impose on yourself or home in order to balance your career, especially as a mother, while raising your children?

Thanks for reading and sharing your coping mechanisms.


Housewife: A Case for the Title

Every home not only needs a woman, but every home needs a practical woman. A woman who can juggle her acts, smoothly don the hats of a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Economist, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Strategic Officer, Chief Internal Officer, Chief Public Relations Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, as well as the Chauffeur, Chef, and Chief of the Family Fan Club, and still maintain her poise and sanity.

A married lady who stays home to take care of the needs of her home; is to be cherished because she happily wears all the numerous hats for which she is not compensated nor adequately appreciated. She’s often taken for granted in many homes because “it is her responsibility” to take care of the house/home, right? No! That’s wrong!

The housewife’s job is never done in a day. It’s a steady chore juggling to ensure that:

(1) the physical home is sparkling clean first and foremost, and that the ambiance of the internal decor is strikingly captivating and inviting to anyone especially such that the hubby is compelled to rush home after work and hardly wants to leave the comforts for a weekend getaway;

(2) love and peace fill all its chambers;

(3) the children love it so much they want to show it off while inviting their friends over rather than chasing after sleepovers;

(4) she also loves to call it her sanctuary, and

(5) she constantly provides (or cooks) her family’s favorite meals.

Wow … what a list of chores? Does the housewife ever get a break? She takes care of everyone, but who gets to pamper her? She who refreshes others, must herself be refreshed, right?

. . .

Before I continue, I applaud the men/husbands who not only cherish their wives, but help with the household chores, and should their wives be a stay-at-homer, compensate them by giving them allowances (sounds so archaic though) or freedom in the joint bank accounts realizing that two have become one. 

. . .

Men/Husbands, please know that your wives are reasonable and sensible human beings. Once women are convinced that both are on the same page, they will handle the joint financials at a profit! (This statement can further be blogged another day). Will be interesting to hear the viewpoints of men/husbands on this too. 

“A thrifty woman is better than a great income. A good wife and health are a man’s best wealth”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Men, please share your thoughts on this point (i.e., that women are reasonable and can profitably manage the joint account) by commenting below.

History to Present Day of Housewifing:

Traditionally, married women stayed at home, not for economic reasons but, as an honor and in submission to the man/husband as the head of the household. My grandma often told us that it was taboo in their days for a married woman to have a 9-to-5 job. The few women who did had “the female” professions such as nurses or teachers; not the CEO types nor were they ever seen in the boardroom. These women were seen as women who wanted to “wear-the-pants,” aka domineering.and in church-ish language could be termed, Jezebels.

Please read this article for more on historical housewifing:

Modern-day reasons for staying at home however are more for economic reasons. For example, child/daycare costs are astronomical, especially in a state like California where the 2019 GDP is $3.1 trillion ( According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average daycare monthly cost in California is almost a $1,000 ( compared to $500 in Alabama whose 2019 GDP was $203.97 million. Understandably, daycare cost, like every other cost, is relative. However, $500 in Alabama is a huge expense for young families with infants and toddlers, coupled with the stress of wondering whether the daycare will provide the best care. It, therefore, makes good economic sense to have one parent stay home to care for the children.

Benefits of Stay-at-homers:

  • The truism of the adage “there’s no mom like one’s mother” becomes inevitable;
  • It’s cheaper as the money that could have been paid to the daycare provider can now be channeled to other use;
  • Children are in safer environments at home than with strangers;
  • Children are healthier as there’s no ping-ponging of sicknesses that stems from having the kids together particularly during the COVID-19 period;
  • The children are well-rested as the wife/mother doesn’t have to wake them up early for daycare so that she can be prompt for work; 
  • As the children grow and begin school and/or sports, they have Mom to always drop off/pick up on time instead of looking for help or leaving them till late before picking up;
  • Family time is valued as the husband can return to home-cooked meals, which can be eaten together as a family;
  • There’s overall peace of mind.

Disadvantages of being a housewife:

  • The man-husband becomes the sole provider;
  • As a result of #1 above, there’s a higher financial burden on the man-husband;
  • This in turn causes stress in the home;
  • In today’s living standards where two wage-earners have become essential, the opportunity-cost living on one income means some things would have to be forgone and must-haves now become luxuries;
  • The woman/wife does not have a “she” money and has to rely on the bacon brought home by her hubby;
  • There’s a stigma of inadequacy that the woman/wife suffers in her circle of family and friends;
  • “If their husbands are rich, they are frequently berated for being lazy; if they are immigrants, for keeping children from learning the language and ways of their host country.”
  • It can be boring as the woman/wife is alone at home.

It’s a Choice!

Most housewives are educated and have chosen this path for several and varied reasons that range from personal, economic, religion, to class status. Some are because the woman/wife wanted to, or the man/husband requested that the woman stay home, or both agreed that it was the best decision for them as a family.

Whatever any family’s decision is, it is time for society to acknowledge this sector of people as essential hard workers and treat them as respectable as any working woman. Interestingly though, one article noted that “… the economic value housewives create remains within their home …” This is a sad statement to make as I believe that there is a spillover benefit that is derived from the contributions of the housewife towards her husband and children.

A 2017 New York Post article stated that millennials are forgoing the career/professional path for the comfort of the home/kitchen. Read the article here:

I have personally been on both sides of the coin – as a professional lady as well as a housewife. If I have to choose another life, I will choose to stay at home. The housewife does a lot more with her time being home than manicure and pedicure. She needs to be compensated for the many hats that she wears or be openly appreciated.

"Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." 
- Proverbs 31:31 (NIV)

Please share your thoughts by commenting below. Thanks for reading.

Mental Health: Women and Home Management

The awareness of mental health issues keep growing. Now we recognize a lot of health issues (that lead to diseases) that previously had been ignored.

I came across this article via a Twitter feed. Informative and worth reading.

Women have been pitched into “holding the home forth.” Little do the men/husband/significant others realize that the home forth involves a lot – being the CEO, CIO, CSO (Chief Strategic Officer), CAO (Chief Administrative Officer), CFO, CIO (Chief Internal Officer), CPRO (Chief Public Relations Officer), and Chief chauffeur. Ladies, let me know if I omitted any title. At the end of the day, the woman is exhausted and has no gas left for other important tasks. Yes, women can delegate the chores if they can afford it. But for those who can’t, this article will help on how to manage yourself and your home. Enjoy and share your thoughts by commenting below.