"It seems to me that it is always the appointment or call that I force myself to attend to at the end of hectic week or day that often ends in the most powerful leaps in professional advancements"
I was offered a senior communications job on a presidential election campaign. I would have been a fool to take a pass on such an opportunity. I knew that taking the job would lead to better career opportunities in the coming years, that would in turn lead to better life opportunities for my children.
The harder choices in my career have had little to do with my being a working mom or even a woman. Rather they have to do with a relentless and abiding commitment to the constant everyday tasks and appointments that led me to ever be in a position to receive a senior job offer on a presidential campaign in the first place. It seems to me that it is always the appointment or call that I force myself to attend to at the end of hectic week or day that often ends in the most powerful leaps in professional advancements; as well as growing the best business opportunities and stronger relationships that help me do my job. In other words, it's the choices to deliver on that extra effort to extend oneself just a little bit further beyond a comfort zone each day, week and year that are the hardest to make.
Make that last call even though you think they will likely say "no" and be buoyantly surprised and professionally rewarded. Go to that meeting or conference when you have too much to do and find yourself seated next a new acquaintance who finds your idea to fix their problem so compelling they are glad to retain you. Read that dry scholarly article on a matter relevant to your career prospects at 11 pm even though you would rather thumb through a popular magazine—when the topic comes up, you will be the best informed in a room populated with others who should know more. It is the incremental choices to engage and lean in every day in one's life that build the foundation for making the larger episodic choices in life easier.
All this, of course, means that I sometimes lose out on precious hours with my children, but both they and I know our whole family is happier and more secure when my career flourishes. I'm a better mom when I am ease with my performance in the workplace. This has to do not only with financial security, but the obvious feelings of pride of accomplishment and success that lead to an overall stronger capability to cope with all life's challenges. It makes me happy to do a good job and it seems obvious a happy mom is a better mom.