Reva Seth is a lawyer, journalist, and author. Her latest book, The Mom Shift: Women Share Their Stories of Career Success After Having Children is published in 2014 by Random House Canada.
Her message? Having children can actually boost your career.
The following excerpt from a National Post interview asks what career-minded women today are doing to balance motherhood and job.
The full text of the interview is available here.
Q: Motherhood is often pegged as a career’s dead end. But you argue it can actually boost a woman’s career. How?
A: Some women found it made them take the leap to make them do the thing they wanted to do. When one woman in my book, lawyer Catherine McKenna, left her job [to start a family] everyone said ‘You’ve lost your ambition because of motherhood.’ She said ‘I actually became more ambitious because I wanted to do something impactful.’ She subsequently started Canadian Lawyers Abroad and she’s actually running in Ottawa-Centre for the Liberals. For some women it was financial. A lot of women felt they worked better, that they were more efficient and just more focused.
Q: That stark messaging — that kids are career killers — is it powerful enough to turn ambitious women off of motherhood?
A: When people tell you children will end your career and you’re pretty excited about your career, I wouldn’t want to have a child. I didn’t want to have children because that’s the messaging I grew up with. Why would you, if you invest so much time and education wanting to do something? And then you think ‘But it’s so untrue! Tons of women have great careers and children.’
Q: Here in Canada we have solid parental leave and public healthcare. What did you hear from Canadian moms in particular about the anxieties they have or their concerns about the system?
A: Childcare and flexibility. We’re too focused on maternity leave right now. There’s so much advice and counseling on how to do a good maternity leave, how to come back, what happens after. But once you’re a parent, those issues don’t go away once you return to work. What I heard a lot was we need flexibility, because the challenges for a lot of parents was the rigidness of the schedule. That was a real anxiety point for a lot of women, who said ‘I hadn’t anticipated I would keep needing so much.’
Seth’s first book, First Comes Marriage: Modern Relationship Advice From the Wisdom of Arranged Marriages (Simon & Schuster 2008) examined what the centuries-old tradition of arranged marriages could teach modern women about dating, love and relationship happiness. The book was based on over 300 interviews with women in arranged marriages across the US, Canada and Europe.
Reva has written for, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, The Toronto Star, The Huffington Post and The Mark, among others, and she regularly speaks on The Mom Shift: Women Share Their Stories of Career Success After Having Children.
Additional details at: www.themomshift.com