12 Female Bosses Tell the Truth About Being in Charge

Wendy Robinson | Oct 17, 2016 Money
12 Female Bosses Tell the Truth About Being in Charge

I've always been a hard worker and someone who cares a lot about my career. I've been in the same field for almost 20 years now, and have been someone's boss for almost half that time. I do my best to be a good leader, which is why it is disappointing to hear that Americans are still more likely to prefer a male boss to a female one

Although I love my job, I have to admit that being a boss, a mom, a wife, and a good friend sometimes feels like a lot to juggle. Over the course of my career, I've dealt with sexism at work, the feeling of failing as a mom when I don't make it to school functions, and the frustrations of having to deal with crabby employees. 

I'm pretty sure I earn every penny of my salary. 

I reached out to other moms who are also bosses, including some who live outside the United States, to hear how they feel about their lives at work and at home. If you've ever thought being a boss looked easy, this story might just change your mind. 


Image via 20th Century Fox

  • The Mommy Card

    Image via iStock.com/Poike

    "I think the biggest stress of being a boss is the amount of time I'm at the office. In my company, 60+ hour work weeks are the norm, not the exception. I'm pretty committed to trying to be home for bedtime, so I usually get to work by 6 a.m. to get a jump start on my work. I'm ALWAYS tired.

    It also feels like if I try to leave even a little early or on time for a kid thing, I get put in the 'mommy' category and that some people don't take me as seriously. That is frustrating." -- J.H., Dallas, Texas

  • Third Shift

    Image via iStock.com/South_agency

    "I have three shifts to my day: first shift is the normal 8 to 5 at work, second shift is being in mom zone from 5 to 9 or when the kids are settled, and then 9 to midnight when I work from home.

    I average about 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night and I suck at self-care. I love my job and my sales team but I'm not sure how much longer I can sustain this." -- F.B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Role Model

    Image via iStock.com/DragonImages

    "Easily the best part of being a manager, beside my salary, is that my son is growing up knowing that women can lead too. Sometimes I take him to the office so he can see me in my boss mode. I think it makes him respect me more." -- E.R., Minneapolis, Minnesota

    More from CafeMom: 14 Moms Share the Truth About Returning to Work After Baby

  • Boss Abroad

    Image via iStock.com/shironosov

    "Well, I don't know if this is true, but I think it seems easier to be a mom and to be a boss here in the Netherlands than it does in the United States.

    We are more family friendly, in terms of leave time. It makes it easier to be a mentor to younger employees, in a way. I know that I can tell them that they can have children and a career." -- M.V., Rotterdam, Netherlands 

  • No Time

    Image via iStock.com/Ximagination

    "Right now, I have a staff of 35 and I am finishing my MBA. I also have a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old. I have no time for anything besides school, work, and home.

    I don't read, I don't have hobbies, I don't travel. But now is the time for me to grow in my career and the best time to have kids, since I'm in my 30s already. I'm just trying to make it all work." -- F.A., Dearborn, Michigan

  • Security

    Image via iStock.com/baona

    "I grew up dirt poor, like food stamps poor, with a mom who didn't graduate from high school, let alone college. I've worked my ass off to get to where I am now and I am proud of myself and the financial security my family has as a result of my job.

    My kids will never be hungry or feel worried about their futures. That is a major accomplishment." -- P.J., Lexington, Kentucky

  • Work Woes

    Image via iStock.com/Geber86

    "The best part of being a boss? The money and the chance to lead my division in doing good work. 

    The worst part? I'm NEVER off the clock. My phone rings all day and all night. I can't escape work. Ever." -- N.S., Des Moines, Iowa

    More from CafeMom: 10 Hardest Moments for Working Moms

  • I Have a 'Wife'

    Image via iStock.com/Dean Mitchell

    "I'm a college president. I figured out when I was early on in my career that all the college presidents I knew had one thing in common: a wife that didn't work.

    My husband and I talked a lot about it when I first became a vice president. We agreed that I'd be the engine, he'd be the caboose when it came to our careers. So, every move we've made has been to advance my career and not his.

    Now that I'm a president, he is a stay-at-home dad. I needed a 'wife' too-- I don't have time for the basic house and kid responsibilities anymore. He pays the bills, takes the kids to the doctor, all that stuff. 

    The smartest career move I ever made was marrying a guy willing to be #2 when it came to balancing careers." -- name withheld by request

  • Leave Time

    Image via iStock.com/Alija

    "I lead a small team for an international company. I'm going to have my second baby in a month or so and I plan to take a full year of maternity leave. I don't know how women in the US do it without the paid maternity leave we have here. It is terrible!" -- J.W., Vancouver, British Colombia

  • Mommy Mafia

    Image via iStock.com/kul20

    "I think my biggest challenge being a boss and a mom is dealing with feeling like I get judged by other moms, the mommy mafia, for working so much. I don't help out at school, I'm not on the PTA, all that. 

    I live in an affluent area with lots of stay-at-home moms. I feel like there is a distance there and sometimes I worry if that will have social implications for my kid." -- D.R., Edina, Minnesota

  • Family Size

    Image via iStock.com/zahar2000

    "The irony of me being a boss is that I make enough money to support having a large family, which I always wanted, but I don't have enough time or energy to have more than two kids.

    I always thought I would have at least four kids, but that isn't going to happen when I work 50+ hours a week." -- S.L., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Parenting Goals

    Image via iStock.com/Susan Chiang

    "My son is in third grade and I've never chaparoned a field trip. That is my goal for this year. I'm making peace with the fact that my career means that I'm not really involved in his school life. I've met his teacher once. 

    But I take a lot of joy in seeing my staff succeed and knowing that the work that I do matters. There are ups and downs to being a boss, for sure, but I wouldn't go back. I'm good at this!" -- S.T., Tucson, Arizona

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