I am typically too busy to read blogs, but I stumbled upon one the other day and couldn’t resist participating. I am a huge advocate for equal rights in the workplace and believe women are still facing challenges with the demands of a new society – a society in which people assume most women are capable of working full time jobs, raising a family, tending to a home, and trying to uphold your rank as soccer mom! Yes, we can do it, but what are the challenges we deal with in the workplace which prevents us from maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

An article in Fortune 500 magazine (2009), referencing women and the decisions to have children, sparked a conversation of several generations of women from business owners to new graduates and corporate executives. I felt this topic really hit home because as things are becoming more stable in my life, my husband and I have discussed having another baby (my youngest is 7). The one thing, which always weighs on my mind more than anything is the effect it might have on my career. Possibly thought to be selfish for a woman in the 1950’s, it is a very real scenario in this era of time; will having a baby be a detriment to my career? How do I tell my boss I am pregnant? Will this hold me back from a promotion?

And then, what happens after you have the baby and you have doctors appointments and dance recitals? How are you to be at those important events while running a company behind it all? I think the answer leads to flexibility. If you think about most people in the workforce, aside from retail, they work a 9-5 schedule, but that may not be the norm for much longer. I have been fortunate to find flexibility in my career with various employers, but it hasn’t always been an easy thing to do, and I won’t say that flexibility doesn’t come with some sacrifice.

Over the years I’ve found that if flexibility is what you need, that is what you should seek. As unemployed or miserably employed people, we tend to let the companies interview us and forget that this is our chance to interview them as well. I recently landed a new job because I felt my time had been served with my previous employer, but let me tell you I took my time and did my research. Rather than searching for employment ads in the typical classifieds and job websites, I searched local companies. I came across a company that offered a casual environment with flexibility and a chance to climb the company latter; the three things I defined as necessary for a healthy work-life balance.

I immediately reached out to them in search of an open position for which I was qualified. It took multiple emails back and forth, three interviews and almost six months for me to land the position. During my interview, I asked questions about scheduling, benefits, paid leave, sick leave, community involvement and office functions (i.e. holiday parties). I have found that companies involved in the community realize a balance needs to exist between work and life. Another important question for me is what does the company do for office functions? Do the events usually involve families; do they take place after hours or during work? These things help me identify the company culture and determine if we’re a good match for each other. The job was a great match but I sacrificed some monetary compensation. Remember that money will always exist and children grow up everyday. Children don’t care if you make $100,000 a year, they care about having a cheering squad on the sidelines.

Women will be most successful in the workplace and in life when they find the right job which allows for the right balance, and I personally feel companies are beginning to recognize this. Women are talented, knowledgeable and goal oriented leaders in the workplace but it takes a company to understand the demands of women today, in order to harbor that talent. The last three employers I’ve worked for, have been understanding of my needs as a mother and student and have allowed flexible working hours, which in return I have given them the most fruitful 40 hours of every week worked.

So, as women continue to take over the workforce we have to remember that even though equal rights exist, we’ve really just added responsibility to our already existing workload and a balance should be sought. Try not to settle for something that will hinder your talents and recognize that you can be a mom and an executive and people should praise you for it! Welcome, a new generation of successful mommy executives.