One of the things I’ve learned about myself as I’ve gone through the process of pitching, writing, and now publishing my first book is that I don’t like to be the center of attention. This is particularly absurd considering what I do for a living. I’m on television every day in front of hundreds of thousands of eyeballs, and that doesn’t’ count social media and my occasional appearance on The Daily Show (in a parody obviously). In fact, someone just told me I was in a skit on the John Oliver Show, and I’m sure they were making of something I said, it’s funny and it doesn’t bother me at all. All of that attention is great for work, it’s what I do for a living, but when it comes to my personal life, I’m not that comfortable with attention on me, I’d rather it be about someone else. I imagine many moms feel the same way.
Moms are selfless, and many will do anything for their children, while sometimes neglecting their own needs. My mom Marsha was actually pretty good at self care, but if I called her at work, no matter how small the problem (I don’t have a prom date, I can’t find my key, etc) she was there for me, dropping everything. Moms are just like that, and it’s a wonderful part of who they are.
However, the problem a mom encounters as she goes back to work is that she is so used to being someone else’s advocate, it can be a difficult adjustment being her own advocate. Moms reentering the workforce are going into an interview not only representing themselves, but now their family. Some of the women I interviewed were incredibly effective at reminding themselves before, during, and after the job application process that what was being presenting to them as far as the job opportunity was concerned, needed to meet certain criteria.
Being your own advocate means getting your needs met, and one of the most difficult parts of any job negotiation is figuring out salary. Many job seekers, especially those that have been out of the workforce, are just grateful to finally get that job offer, and sometimes they don’t think through the next step is what that will mean in reality. Being your own advocate is making sure the following criteria are met:
- Salary that will cover the expense of commuting and childcare
- Healthcare that is sufficient for the entire family
- Hours that will be flexible if needed in an emergency
- A retirement plan
I understand not all these things are always offered, especially healthcare, but when you advocate for yourself, you are also advocating for your kids, and as a mom, it’s one of the best things you do.