by Paige DeLacey
Is having a second child the straw that breaks the working moms back?
First, the facts -- according to the US Census Bureau: 63% of women with college degrees and infants are in the workforce today. And the average number of children American women have is 2.
These statistics suggest that millions of women face the challenge of
figuring out how to be a working mom AGAIN and AGAIN.
Many women report having just figured out how to juggle being a
working mom about a year or two after having their first child.
You've got your childcare managed pretty well, you're back in your
groove at work, albeit a different groove than before baby, but you're
feeling relatively under control.
Then, according to US Census Bureau statistics, about 60% of first
time moms, have baby #2.
The birth rate for women ages 35-44 is at it's highest level in 30
years. That fact, coupled with the fact that women are more educated
than ever means that we're focused on our careers. Subsequently,
women face the "ticking biological clock" that forces them to compress
their childbearing into a few years that often overlap with critical
career development years.
Many women have said that having the second child is when balancing
work and parenting becomes overwhelming. So what should a working mom think about before baby #2 (or 3 or 4)?
Do A Childcare Check In. Evaluate your current childcare situation and determine if it will work for 2 kids. Besides the increased cost of childcare, many mothers find that getting 2 kids and themselves out of the house to daycare is nearly impossible, and opt for a nanny or other
arrangement. Talk to as many people as possible with 2 children and
find out how they manage (or don't manage).
Is Your Work Schedule Working? For many working moms, flexible and/or alternative work schedules are not an option or are of no interest. But for some, they may be just what it takes to temporarily or permanently keep your tired head above water. If there is ever a time to ask for a longer maternity leave, reduced schedule, flexible work arrangement, or to consider becoming a freelancer, consultant or entrepeneur, this is it. As we know, women's careers sometimes take a detour after having children. Having flexibility and being able to control your time is critical for women at this stage in their lives. Check out the articles in "Work Your Way " for a comprehenisve discussion of the various options and how to make them work.
Negotiating roles with your partner-AGAIN: If you are going it alone, now is certainly the time to call on your village ask for as much help as you have accessible. And if you are partnered, now may be just the time to refresh, restart and recraft your collective expectations. It's an adjustment to go from no kids to one, but it's sometimes an even bigger one to add the second child. There is little time left for either of you to be alone, and the child related workload is intense. Evaluate how well your partnership is working. Read books, observe and talk with your partner about how other couples manage the transition. There are some great books out there that offer practical advice like "Babyproofing your Marriage ."
In the big scheme of life, the time spent as a working parent is
short, intense, extremely challenging and rewarding. Do your best to
prepare for what is ahead, but remember that the best moments are