Can you have a career and be a successful parent?
The answer is an unequivocal YES, but I don't know that it can be done alone. I believe that you'll need:
- Not to do it all. If you are with a partner, you really have to share the workload. I don't quite understand how many times I see some two career family dysfunctionality when one partner has to come home and own all the chores. Share!
- Childcare that works for you. Day care, coverage before and/or after school, someone at home - - baby sitter, nanny or someone from your support network. Just have the plan for getting kids up, out of the house (as appropriate) and any needed coverage at home. Communication and agreement!
- A support network. Family, friends, neighbors because stuff happens and no matter how well you plan things out, you are going to need some help. Pretty basic, but you might have to get some coverage at home with a sick child. Thanking them in advance!
- An employer allowing flexibility with your work location and/or work hours. Manage to your childcare plan, but recognize you'll need flexibility for the unexpected. I know of people who have been very successful working at home or working non-traditional hours. How about that 5am-2pm work day for someone on the West Coast with much of the team on the East Coast. All afternoon for doing kid stuff. (And going to bed early). Flexibility!
You might not get that much flexibility with managing your career. That is why it is your career, not a job. So all that is left on your plate is the life stuff, of which parenting is large focus. What does it take to pull it all off? Planning, thoughtful, open conversations with many, and making it happen.
If it is the right answer for you, go for it!