Submitted by Mom Engineer
In 1982, while working as a software engineer, I became a mom. I didn't have many (or maybe even any) role models or advisors to help me balance motherhood with my career back then. But, it turned out to be easier than I expected and very rewarding.
Motherhood and engineering are very compatible because each is a perfect break from the other. At work I mostly work on my own, using my brain to develop software all day. At home, I was able to relax while being physical and loving as I spent time with my daughter in the evenings and on the weekends. After spending time with her, I was ready to go back to work and again focus in solitude.
Lessons learned at work helped me become a better mother. One example of this occurred when I was trying to teach my daughter to be a strong and independent advocate for herself. On the job I had experienced assertiveness training and opportunities to practice it. So one day when my eight-year-old daughter's Taco Bell order wasn't filled correctly, and she became upset, rather than resolve the problem for her, I asked her to go back to the counter, explain the situation nicely, and then come back with what she wanted. It worked.
I knew that learning to advocate for herself would be a valuable life skill and knew how to help her develop that skill ... thanks to my job.