It’s More than Survival

My daughter, Kara, and I

Me and my daughter, Kara.

I know that this is not a new thought, but women still struggle to balance their professional lives with caring for their families. I thought that after 20-plus years of working this would not be a topic that I would be discussing, but it is.  I always believed that gender didn’t matter. If you just worked hard, things would all work out.  Unfortunately, I have found that things aren’t that simple. Women are still juggling their careers and family life and living with the resulting stress.

Seriously, women have been doing this for a very long time, often without help from anyone. We juggle childcare and work responsibilities, organize the home and make sure that things run smoothly everywhere. For the longest time, I called it survival but I think it is a pure form of innovation.

I looked for research to see if working moms are more innovative then working dads but I couldn’t find any. I did find research that said we were more collaborative, adaptive, inclusive and intuitive. Doesn’t that sound like we are innovative and creative?

My mother worked most of my childhood. She didn’t have the resources that I now have but somehow she got it all done and was very good at her career. She was a role model for how to get things done with grace, without even realizing that she was creative. In fact, she would be the last person to call herself that. She is no different from the millions of women around the world that use their sheer will power to take care of their families while leading successful, professional lives. It isn’t an option to be bad at one or the other. Women use their adaptive behavior to their benefit.

As I think about why women are so good at multi-tasking, I am convinced that we are able to do it because we are great innovators and we have an innate entrepreneurial spirit. Everyday, all over the world, you find women devising ingenious ways to succeed at their many jobs. It’s in our DNA to make things work. We follow our intuition, which makes us natural leaders. We think outside the proverbial box without even knowing there is a box.  It’s just how we are wired. We don’t see barriers. We see a problem that needs resolution and we get it done.

I don’t think this topic ever gets old. We need to recognize that working women have a true entrepreneurial spirt, are great collaborators and have wonderful creative minds. I want my daughter to work in a world that understands this.


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