My daughter nearly drowned at the age of two because I took my eye off being a mother for only a minute. One April Sunday, I left her alone playing in our backyard, while I ran into the house to grab her a drink. What should have taken 5 seconds, took longer. I caught a news clip on TV which had implications for one my clients. I watched intently for maybe a minute, or two, as this was important to me. When I walked back to the yard she was gone.
I desperately searched the surroundings but she had vanished. "Someone took my child" was all I said when I dialled 911. Rescue crews were already curbside, when my neighbour saw a bright pink jacket floating in the water, he found my daughter, pulled her out of a pond in the nearby golf course our house backs onto. She had wandered out to the course through an open gate. I fell to my knees in horror watching her tiny body barely breathing and blue as emergency crews performed CPR. At that point a female officer pulled me to my feet, hugged me and said, "Do you hear that? Listen. Your daughter is crying, that is the best sound in the world." She is alive.
After only two days at Sick Kids hospital, she was released. No brain damage, no infection, no injuries at all. The doctors calculated that she was in the pond for close to 15 minutes before being retrieved. Science tells us she survived because of the onset of hypothermia; I'd like to think angel intervention occurred as well. She was called the "Miracle Girl" by one Toronto newspaper that made her story front page news that week. That was 10 years ago.
It's because of this incident, this near tragic death of my own daughter that I found a way to balance a career and motherhood once and for all.
Finding balance is an exercise that starts in your head first with a well defined set of values as your core. You must have an unwavering commitment to whatever situation you are in. Be in the moment you are in, always.
It's that simple. It really is. When you dip into pantyhose and slip into pumps for the office, guess what? You're a business woman from this point forward. Whether you lead teams, or part of one, you have a career, it's important to you, it defines a big part of you and your ego needs the title, recognition and money ain't so bad either! Don't deny any of it, you have every right to break the glass ceiling, earn that promotion, and kick some ass. This is the time and place to deliver on career goals and aspire to the next level. There is nothing wrong with a woman (who also has children) who pursues the corner office.
On the flip side, you are a mother. Now in your yoga pants and carting little ones to soccer, you are a key figure in the development of your children. Kids don't come with instructions, so trial and error is your best bet. Outside of the office, you are a mother; and the best one on the planet frankly. You listen, engage, nurture and give guidance to your children by simple wisdom and a few tips from Dr. Oz! Your children are the priority now. Not the mess at the office or the file you need to read.
Achieving the right balance between work and motherhood starts with the understanding that while you are both, you need to divide and conquer as much as possible and having the right attitude is the only way to achieve it. Be guilt free, never second guess, listen to your gut and stand by your actions. No rocket science ladies.
My grounded family life and successful entrepreneurial business is truly a product of attitude, self awareness and the ability to separate career and family.
Thanks to my 'Miracle Girl' I can do both, very well. Balance achieved.