Working Moms and How to Get Your Guts Back

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Women have a unique struggle in the workforce. From a young age, most of us are raised to be good girls. We are raised to be content, careful, and distanced from conflict and risk. We fall into the role naturally because it’s what we’ve all seen on television and movie screens. Women always see boundaries, stay within them, and do a good job in their career. 

Not anymore. 

This summer, I read Kate White’s The Gutsy Girl Handbook and it has both challenged me and motivated me as a working mom. If you’re a working mom, you need to read this book. It will change the way you perceive yourself and your worth in the workforce. 

White’s book isn’t directed at moms in general; it’s directed at the ambitious working woman.

Most importantly, it’s directed at the working woman who’s used to being the good girl. What’s so darn bad about being good? (This is my favorite chapter!) White explains that good girls don’t get the big promotions because they undersell themselves and are often perfectionists who prefer to be liked. To stop being good, and start being gutsy, you must be a baller.

White describes being a baller as someone who must:

  1. Get moving on what matters

  2. Bring your A game;

  3. Look for openings that may not be readily apparent— if there aren’t any, create them;

  4. Never wait around to be told what to do;

  5. Avoid overthinking things;

  6. Steer clear of tasks that don’t matter. 

As a mom both at home and in the workforce, I am definitely guilty of over-thinking, stressing about things that don’t matter, and being too timid to step up and take risks. I think when mothers enter the workforce, we are often afraid to step up and take risks in our career. White explains that healthy, calculated risks are good. In her book, Kate white explains how to take healthy risks, while learning from failures. Her book details how to pitch risks and ideas to your boss and how to speak professionally when both giving input and asking for feedback. She explains how women sell them selves short with speaking. She quotes Dr. Lillian Glass, an expert on human behavior, body language, and communication.

What bad habits do women have when speaking in the professional world?

  1. Not enunciating enough;

  2. Not having energy in their voice;

  3. Uptalking (ending statements as if they were questions, as in “I’m in advertising?”);

  4. Using fillers (ex: uh, um, you know).

How many of you uptalk without realizing it? In regard to the words women use, White says to toot your own horn. She explains that we start by giving ourselves permission. Really, it’s OK. Guys promote themselves all the time. Women are a force to be reckoned with in the working world, and we need to own that and understand that.

As a teacher, I get a taste of both worlds. In the summer, I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m home with my kids all day with no break, counting every minute until daddy gets home. In August, I transition back to the role of working mom as I drop the baby off and say goodbye through tears. Both roles are hard in their own ways — the struggle is real on both sides. I think every working mom should read this book and take it to heart. Don’t lose your identity in the workforce, especially if you really love your job. 

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I live in La Follette, TN with my husband Luke and our 3 children: Amelia (8), Lincoln (3), and Arthur (newborn). I'm a kindergarten teacher in the public school system and I absolutely love what I do. I'm very passionate about education and the well-being of children all over the world. I like to write about my experiences as both a mother and a teacher. Balancing both is really tricky, and I'm still getting the hang of it. My husband, who I truly believe is the world's best father, is an auctioneer at his family business Longmire Realty & Auction Co. While we love our jobs, we value family time the most. We spend a lot of time outdoors and love to go camping all over the east coast.

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