I am a staunch advocate for career women and women in leadership roles. While this is not the path all women wish to take, I want my daughters to grow up knowing the character traits of a leader. I want them to learn that success in leadership is not associated with gender, but with skill and character. When they picture leaders in their mind, I want them to be able to envision themselves among them. I also believe that the right marriage choice as a career woman is critical to success. I have spoken with many high-powered female colleagues regarding their choice to not get married for fear of derailing their career or success. Many of them also forgo having children for the same reason. For me, getting married to my husband helped my career and continues to be one of the things that gets me the farthest ahead. While some people feel having a spouse and children are obstacles to career heights, it is my belief that your family is your greatest career asset.
It Always Comes Back To The Foundation
As we navigate life, we are constantly approaching a series of choices and decisions. Over and over we make one decision only to turn around and be faced with another. When you think about what influences your decisions the most in life, what comes to mind? For me I see four faces: my three daughters and my husband. Decisions are both large and small. Whether a big decision that involves tons of research, or not, my family is at the forefront. Having a strong foundation as a family means making decisions with my spouse’s input and finding ways to stay on the same page. That foundation is built on a mutual respect and trust for the other person’s perspective.
While the institution of marriage might look differently in today’s world, the foundation is still the same. Choosing the right person to make a life with can make all the difference. Careers are one of the many facets of life that even the most successful people will struggle with at some point. Career pathways and related financial decisions are volatile, unstable and always holding the potential to vastly alter course. Having a sound partner for support through your career is essential in making critical decisions and weathering any storms.
On top of the needed support, the biggest asset my marriage has provided to my career is confidence. When I question my skills or feel like I am not ready for the next promotion or career hurdle, my partner is the one that pushes me forward despite my personal limiting beliefs. He is the one that is there to practice when needed, or to tell me to aim higher because he will be there in the event I fall. He weighs pros and cons lists with me, and talks through workplace scenarios. When needed, he provides a reality check, while other times he believes in me more than I believe in myself. I will always remember the section of his vows when he said, “I will also champion you and your successes.” Having the right partner can make all the difference in your decisions, desires, and endeavors as you pursue your career aspirations.
As a full time working mom, logistics are essential and stressful. Things like morning routines, evening routines, commute concerns, and childcare decisions are important for smooth weeks and yet they are always changing. Having a partner invested in managing the logistics with you is so helpful in finding the right balancing act to keep things running. When I have a last minute report at work as I am walking out the door, I know I can call him to pick up the kids. We alternate taking sick days with the kids. We plan dinners for the week so that either of us can start or handle dinner when needed. The mental load of motherhood is a constant weight for me, and it always will be. But having a partner that tackles the logistics with you and helps carry the emotional weight can make all the difference in how your household functions. The better you work as a team for your household, the more focus and energy you have available to put into your career endeavors.
The top three things I consider to be factors in choosing a strong partner with relation to your career:
Your partner should respect the “whole” you
Before you became a wife and/or a mother, you were just a woman. Your partner should be someone that respects that woman and all the different hats you may wear. It should be someone that supports your ambitions, and also is willing to grow with you as your ambitions change.
2. Your partner should be genuinely interested in a relationship with YOU
In order to reap the mutual benefits from having the right partner, your partner should be genuinely interested in your ambitions, passions, interests, and goals. Even though those might change, you want someone willing to invest their time and energy into your own dreams just as you will for them. It also helps if that person shares a similar level of ambition and intellectual interests. It can be taxing to have drastically different levels of ambition or engagement when trying to build teamwork.
3. Your partner should continue to choose you even when you are not choosing yourself
Let’s face it, adulting is challenging no matter how you do it. As a full time working mom, I often feel my career and my children are running me over. There have been many times in our marriage that parts of ME are diminished as I try to balance the load of all the things. Having a spouse that recognizes when I am not choosing myself, and makes sure to choose me anyways is ESSENTIAL. We will never live an entire life unscathed, with no cracks or blemishes. It is important your partner is willing to fill in the pieces when you can’t, and choose you even when things are rougher around the edges.
All The Best,