Working moms get all kinds of unsolicited advice, like how to raise their kids, manage their careers and be a good wife. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores one popular list geared to working moms, and how it so clearly demonstrates that sometimes, the best place to go for advice on what works for you and your family is within.
ForbesWoman recently reported on the best cities for working moms to live. The list took a variety of factors into account, like job growth and opportunities for women, safety, child care, affordability and commute times. Having reviewed it, I’m more convinced than ever that when it comes to being a stay-at-home working mom, no one can decide what will work for your career and family, better than you. Here’s why:
As a stay-at-home working mom, the best part of my day is easily the time spent outside with my son, especially considering that as a former full-time working mom, I once struggled to see the light of day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. On days when work and life stress is mounting, as both a career woman and a mom, our time at the playground is a sanctuary of sorts. Simply taking a walk through the park and appreciating the things he notices (like the turning colors of leaves, squirrels, sticks and airplanes overhead) are free and true reminders that I have a good life and plenty to celebrate, regardless of what is waiting on my to-do list as a stay-at-home working mom. So from December to March, when the temperatures turn frigid, we both miss this luxury greatly!
I live in Columbus, Ohio, which is ranked the No. 2 city on the list of best places for working moms to live. The No. 1 pick on the list is Buffalo, New York. The third and fourth cities, respectively, are Hartford, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’m not here to bash anyone’s city, including my own, but any working mom knows that a nice sunny day can be a lifesaver (for you and the kids). Trite as it may seem, I’m shocked that the weather was seemingly not a factor in compiling the list. I suspect that any working mom who has had the honor of stuffing a screaming child into winter gear on a frosty morning would agree that weather matters.
Thanks to my disagreement with the list, I’ve realized how varied our definitions of a “best life” are as working moms, and how important it is to find what works for your family. People and publications will always be there to dish out “tips” on how you can improve your life and point out where you’re falling short. Whether your career is based in the office, from home, on the beach or a mountain, in a city or suburbs, every family and working mom who leads it is unique. Define the place that delivers the quality of life you value, whether it’s a geographic location or a lifestyle, and make a point to appreciate it each day.
The complete list is here if you’re curious. And If you’re living in one of the frigid front-runners, get outside while you can!