Part-Time Accountant; Full-Time Mother
This blog was guest written by Laura Whitman, CPA, MS
Manager, WithumSmith+Brown, PC
Seven years ago I became a mom.
Like most mothers returning to work after having their first baby, leaving my son at home was one of the hardest days of my life. As time went on each day got a little easier, but I knew I didn’t want to work full-time and miss out on the daily activities of my son’s childhood (I now have three children).
I wanted to work part-time and not leave the workforce altogether. Fortunately, I was able to find the right balance. My office’s partner-in-charge was supportive of my decision and was able to accommodate my request. Over the last seven years, I have found my identity both as a mother and an active member of the profession.
The main ingredients that have made it possible to become a successful part-time manager include:
- The technology the firm uses enables me to review and work on files as if I am in the office, attend webinars and update my schedule —anytime, anywhere.
- Smartphone in my pocket —Keeps me “in the loop” even when I’m preparing meals or watching a gymnastics class. I can always send a quick response no matter where I am.
- Cloud software — Being able to access most of our programs online keeps work moving where ever I am.
SUPPORT OF MY COLLEAGUES…AND MY HUSBAND TOO
- When something unexpected comes up at home, usually a sick child, I can count on my colleagues to get that day’s work done.
- I am not pressured to take on a task that would not be suitable to my situation. The partners support my part-time status and challenge me while at the same time accommodating my schedule.
- Without my husband, the balance would not be possible. If I have a rushed deadline, he rearranges his schedule so my work can get done in a timely manner. He also helps out with the chores and family duties, which is crucial to successfully working and parenting.
I can’t do it all. Many times I have to say “no” to certain tasks or projects that I would have otherwise liked to participate in (at work and at home). I have learned the hard way not to take on more than I can handle. I used to feel bad about saying no, but I know now that sometimes it’s necessary, for both my sanity and for client service.
My life isn’t perfect and never will be. The laundry will never be completely done, and there will always be dishes in my sink. I will always have emails and voicemails to respond to. Taking on the challenge of being a full-time mom and a part-time manager means prioritizing daily and being extremely busy most days from morning until late in the night. However, I have chosen this path, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love that I have an identity other than lunch-maker and bath-giver, but I also love that I can make homemade lunches (and breakfasts and dinners) almost every day for my kids. I have the best of both worlds and am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given to enjoy being a mom and a CPA.
Reprinted from the WS+B Journal, Summer 2013 issue. Link to entire issue: http://www.withum.com/pdf/The-Journal/2013/wsb_journal_summer2013.pdf