Tamera Mowry-Housley is familiar with the challenges of work-life balance and how the disproportionate share of household work that falls on mothers dampens their career aspirations. Here is her advice.
The latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org upholds her beliefs: women with a partner and children are 5.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to do all or most of the household work. In addition, women who do a majority of household work are less likely to aspire to be a top executive than women who share responsibilities equally with a partner. Below Mowry-Housley shares the advantages of being a working mother, work-life balance and how she leverages her academic education at work.
Christine Michel Carter: You’ve been called an introverted woman who is perceptive, diplomatic and tactful. These also happen to be common attributes associated with mothers. What advice can you offer other mothers on those attributes to their careers?
Tamera Mowry-Housley: Moms shouldn’t be ashamed of who they are. Some people will agree with them and others may not, and that’s okay. Not everyone is going to be giving them the same opinion. When they are authentically their true selves, that’s when they will find success.
Carter: Do you find yourself drawing from your academic education at work?
Mowry-Housley: Absolutely. People always say I’m a bit more understanding or have a bit more patience than the average person. I like to see things not just at face value. There is a reason why a person is the way they are. My degree has helped me embrace diverse opinions, because I believe in the 50/50 way of becoming a person. You are 50% of your environment and 50% of your genes. Not everybody is going to be the same. People have lived in different environments and have had different experiences. I think it is the best way to learn about a person. If you talk to people who watch The Real they will say that I am a great listener. I am not reactive. I really like to think about and hear what a person is saying to me before I respond.
Carter: Do you feel moms can hold leadership roles in the workplace, regardless of their personal responsibilities?
Mowry-Housley: Absolutely, and I believe this mainly because of the multitasking gift that women tend to have. For me, I’ve learned to multitask with my job and being a mother. When I’m at work, I make sure that everything is going well at home. Being a mother is a 24/7 job. When we get home, we still have to take care of our families. There is no downtime as a mom- even when you are sick. There are no sick days! Mothers also have to learn patience the hard way, which is a great leadership trait. Whether you have it or not, your patience is always tested.
Carter: You became a mom in your early thirties. What is your advice for thirtysomething moms attempting to balance a career with their personal obligations?
Mowry-Housley: Prioritize! When you prioritize, things fall into place. Before I was a mother, I was never the organizer; I was more on the spontaneous side. When you have a family and two kids and a job, and you don’t organize your life, you can cause unnecessary stress for yourself. Always be open to understanding how kids- and their parents- evolve. We don’t always know the answer and we have to learn to be okay with that.
Read more on Forbes.com.