Women are making money, and lots of it. In fact, almost half of American households have female primary breadwinners, and in at least a quarter, women made more than men, which we are pretty excited about. We don’t need to go into the tired tales of women struggling to “have it all,” but instead prefer to celebrate woman who are doing what they love and making it profitable, their own way. We set out to look for compelling women who are leading their families both financially and otherwise, and came across the powerhouse inspiration machine and working mother of two, Liz O’Donnell, who is also the author of Mogul, Mom & Maid. We knew she would be the perfect person to balance out the “Upper East Side” moms article that took the internet by storm last month. No wife bonuses here, ladies.
Mogul, Mom & Maid
The number one thing that Liz O’Donnell knows is that the working mom path is “super hard. I never want to minimize that. BUT. It is the most rewarding path you can ever have. You can achieve in creative ways that are important to you.” That achievement, that freedom, and that avenue for productive creativity is absolutely worth the struggle. But, that doesn’t mean that a working mom can be impervious to the guilt that can creep in when you have to make tough choices about prioritizing, self, family, career, friends… Guilt is real. Luckily, O’Donnell has a great approach to dealing with that guilt: a crucial perception shift. Being a working mom is not just a privilege, it’s a necessity.
“As hard as it is, women need to find a way to earn. We live longer, and life is full of so many surprises: we’ve got to be able to rely on ourselves. Stay in the game in some way shape or form and it will pay off!”
Regarding the strains that some people claim can develop in a heterosexual relationship where the woman earns all/most/more of the family income, O’Donnell shared more pragmatic insight. Explaining her relationship, she said, “I’m the sole breadwinner and we don’t struggle with our roles. Negotiate with you spouse. Sit down and have a conversation about your roles.” That conversation is the key to making any relationship work, especially when there are dollar signs involved.
When we asked O’Donnell about the infamous Poor Little Rich Women article, she was refreshingly candid. “I was jealous. You’re always going to fantasize about something. We’re all human. It was very sensationalized. The issue is how couples manage their money together. We keep a budget and transparent and know where the money is going.”
So, for the action-oriented reader:
- Remember, it’s not easy doing what you’re doing. Own it and remind yourself you don’t want the easy life, that’s why you’re here.
- Acknowledge that you sometimes feel guilt, don’t suppress it. Now, release that sense of guilt and let it be on it’s way.
- If you feel jealous of “wife bonuses,” just remember the feeling of being in control of your own budget.
- Be completely transparent with your partner, and have healthy debates about roles and expectations.
- Give yourself the credit and reinforcement you deserve, and the balance you need to keep excelling and not burn out.
Transparency, empowerment, trust, and balance: sounds like a potent combination for great women to do great work and support their families: share your stories and opinions with us too!