When people hear Junior League some may think of stay-at-home moms and housewives. That’s quite the contrary when it comes to the JLC. A big percentage of active members are working moms and still find the time and commitment to play a part in their community.I happen to be one of these working mom’s, and to me, the JLC is just part of who I am and what I do. After having my daughter 10 months ago there was no question of whether I would stay active or not, it was just a given. My husband is super supportive and that is pretty crucial as I’m sure any member would tell you.
Dana Obrist is another working Mom in the JLC and when asked if she ever thought of dropping out of the league after having her son she responded with this.
“While I was on maternity leave, the thought did cross my mind – it was going to be challenging enough working full-time and being a mom, how was the JLC going to fit? But I think the JLC respects and understands the value of our time, whether we are moms, whether we travel for work, etc. I’ve found that there were ways to work with the JLC as my life situation changed. I also am aware of what I am able to do. I don’t foresee taking on leadership roles within the JLC again in the future, but I intend to continue my commitment to voluntarism through the JLC, even after I reach my sustainer milestone.”As for her advice to new moms having a hard time with juggling both Obrist says that those women need to let go of the need for perfection. You can’t be all things to all people, and the sooner you accept that, the happier life will be. You will have days where you miss work to be with your family, that’s okay. You will have times that you miss a JLC meeting to be with family, that’s okay too. There will also be times when you just need to take the time to take care of yourself – you and your family will better for it.
Elizabeth Kovacs has three children and has been an active member for 13 years now. She could have transferred to sustainer status year ago but finds the JLC so fulfilling that she continues to be involved.
Her advice to new Moms struggling to find a balance is this:“Find your balance. If you have a good grip on everything else, then maybe it’s time to step up for league leadership, which I highly recommend. If you feel like you’re going to have a busy year or you’re not sure, then take a step back and find a less challenging placement. Remember, the league offers a lot of options for members at various stages in their lives, and JLC staff member Carolyn Parton can tell you about your options!”Kovacs explained her reasoning for staying in the active status, “For as long as I’ve been a member, the leaders of the league have all juggled various roles. We understand each other and appreciate the delicate balance of managing a family and a career plus the additional responsibility of volunteer leadership. My volunteer work added a richness to my life, and I believe that the Junior League is the organization with the most to offer all women.”
Finally, there’s Caroline Rooks, a mother of twins who is in her seventh year as an active member of the league.
She has juggled roles in the JLC, including leadership positions, since the birth of her boys. When asked whether she thought about quitting after they were born she said this,“Of course I have thought about it, there is a lot of guilt that goes into being a working mom. I deal with feeling guilty at work and guilty when I am at home. The one thing that has helped me the most is finding excellent childcare, and then watching my boys excel. That is the most peace of mind I can have.Her advice to other working Moms struggling is to take it one day at a time. “I learned very quickly that I am not cut out to stay at home. But I have also learned that some women are wired that way and are amazingly good at it (i.e. Pinterest projects during nap-time). If you know for sure you are going to keep working, it is good to find a healthy balance for volunteering, work, home, and self. I try to be the most efficient with my time as I can. I use the online shopping express lane at Harris Teeter for 75% of my groceries. I usually shop on Sunday night for 30 minutes and then pick it up on Monday on my way home from work. I also use “Subscribe and Save” from Amazon.com (great for diapers and wipes and other things you need on a regular basis),” says Rooks.These are just a few of the many working moms who are members of the JLC. If you are a mom, and a member of the JLC, how do you find balance?