I’ve been struggling with this word. Struggling so hard over the last 20 months that I’ve been a mom, over the last 18 years I’ve been an adult female, (it’s didn’t really enter my mind as a child free from these sorts of dilemmas). This is the big question for women, right? How do you balance it all?

It’s been a trigger word for me from the start. I’m all about equity and if men aren’t asked about “balance” then we shouldn’t be either. And if it’s only asked of us, it must have a negative connotation. What they are really asking is what ball are you dropping?

And yet, as I’ve entered motherhood I do understand that not all things are equitable and equally distributed among the sexes. There are real differences between us. And that is ok. The problem lies when these differences are weighted. When the female differences are construed as “less than”.

That’s what prickles my skin and triggers me.

So balance. Is it really the conversation that every mother with a career needs to have? Can we finally put this question to rest? Is there an answer that universally works to stop the “less than”  connotation that comes with the balance question?

Probably not.

Every single woman, mother, family, career, and season in life is different. There is no one universal answer to this question.

What is really being asked is, “Can you still be effective in your work world as a mother?”.

And the answer to that question is a resounding yes. There is so much research and real stories showing the positive impact of motherhood on a woman’s professional life. Now I did not say a positive impact on her career. We know all too well about the mommy tax.

My goal is to change this. THIS - this ill-conceived notion that a woman’s impact to the working world will be less once she becomes a mother.

I will do it with real-life stories, unearthing the evidence-based research that is being done and not given enough press, and we will explore and crystalize into words, because words are powerful! - that the differences in our make-up is not a “less than”. If we’re going to weight things, well than it’s most certainly a “more than”. (And this is the reason this narrative has been so twisted for so long.)

We may not have a universal answer to the balance question. But I say we answer that question with another question -

Why are you asking?

If the questioner has a genuine desire to change the narrative and support mothers in the workforce than hop into an energizing conversation. If the questioner is really looking for how you’re not balancing as proof that mothers are “less than” in the working world, you now have a golden opportunity to re-educate this person.

It’s time we change the narrative and it starts with the balance question.