New Rule: Expect the discomfort of others and communicate it.
If you decide to change lanes at some point in the future, you should anticipate some unrest at home. Even though women are supposed to be the “super-communicators,” we frequently make big changes and expect everyone at home to jump on board without discussion or push-back. We make our move this way partially because we don’t want the discomfort of our loved ones to make us change our minds. Not only that, but we also feel that our families owe us unquestioned cooperation because we have done so much for them already (can I get an amen?).
I once coached a mother of three who was desperate to go back to work. The economic downturn had hit her family hard and her husband was now working part-time, and their benefits were running out. She had several options she was really excited to explore, but every time she even tried to go on an interview something unforeseen and dramatic would happen at home. Upon further review of the dynamics in her home, it became clear her husband was subtly undermining her efforts to go back to work. Once she realized this, she began to understand that her husband felt emasculated by her decision to go back to work because she had not even discussed it with him. She just figured it was time and that she would get out there and “handle it.” Once she realized what was going on, she made time for them to discuss expectations and come to some agreements regarding the upcoming changes before scheduling any more interviews. Things went much smoother after that.
Changing lanes might be the best thing for you and your family, but you will all be better off in the long run if you can anticipate some of the discomfort they may experience and prepare them for the changes. You may not be willing or able to overcome their objections, but at least you will know what they are and will be less likely to change your lane again because everyone is freaking out over fact that mom went back to work, stopped working, went part-time or is taking photos of elephants in Africa and not here next month.
This blog post is an excerpt from the book: What’s Your Lane: Career clarity for moms who want to work a little, a lot…or not at all.