Donna Wang Su
I have 2 kids - 9.5 year old and 7 year old
I work full-time overseeing all graduate students at the Northwestern University, Bienen School of Music. I also work part-time as a Consultant for IG International.
BIGGEST CHALLENGES AS A WORKING MOM:
Trying to juggle it all, but mostly remembering to make time for myself! Right now, my partner has his own acupuncture practice and is part-time at Mobile Health Wellness down in Chicago, while also finishing up his doctorate part-time. Additionally, I sit on the Board of Directors for Hip Circle Empowerment Center, but also sit on the Evanston/Skokie Council of PTAs as the Treasurer and am the Enrichment Chair for our children's elementary school. With all of that, I face the challenge of trying to keep up with everyone else - making sure that the kids are getting time with their friends, making time for family, making time for friends and somewhere in there - making time for my partner and us as a couple and somehow, lastly making time for me.
TIME SAVING TIP FOR WORKING MOMS:
Planning. I'm an over-researcher and a spreadsheet lover, and I encourage my kids to be more independent. For example, on Sundays we meal prep! The kids and I will prepare their lunch for the week so that they have it in the morning and can grab their containers of food to pack their own lunch for the day (all by themselves!). The kids have been doing this since they were 3 years old, for preschool. Also, we keep different bags on various hooks for all of their activities (see below).
this is photo of their bags: one bag for soccer, dance gear, music, school, and even a hook for the lunch-bag, too.
How do you deal with the working mom guilt?
I surround myself with community. Recently, I had surgery and everyone was offering to help and I began declining. Later, a friend said to me, "We are a community, and if any of us needs help, you're always the first to offer. If you give but don't receive, that's charity. If you give and receive, that's community. Now, are you in a community with us?" I have learned to give & receive.
Additionally, I find time for me whether it's going for a walk or getting an exercise class in, I have found that by taking the time for me, it makes for a better me at work and better me with family.
I still feel guilty, but the way that I look at it is that I'm doing what is best for my family by supporting them and also my partner's business. No one knows what is best for us, but us!
CAN YOU HAVE IT ALL?
This depends on your definition of ‘having it all.’ I believe that I have a full plate with blessings, challenges and responsibilities. Sometimes, you pile on more than you can chew, but you can always take some things off of your plate, and sometimes, you're just full. Life is a constant journey of growing and adjusting, just as any career or parenting venture.