Dr. Hilary Berger was on her way to the top. She had earned two masters degrees and a doctorate in education and was working full-time as a teacher at Norwalk Community College, where she also developed the career program.
But when she started having children, her life slowly started to change. "On the one hand, I loved having babies, I love my kids," Berger said, as the midday rush at Weston's Lunch Box hustled in and out of the store. "But on the other hand I wasn't myself, I was sort of outside myself. I wasn't there. It sort of scared me."
As her sense of self waned, she realized something. "I started to read everything I could find about women's career development," she said. "Why do mothers have to either be home or be working full-time and have a live-in nanny? Why is that?"
Her research laid the foundation for her edgy entrepreneurial endeavor, Work Like a Mother. "It's a service designed for professional women, educated women who have chosen to leave their work and be with their kids."
Berger uses her background in counseling and education to encourage mothers who have felt intellectually stagnant after having children to bounce back. "Women at home can still be professionally fulfilled, even if they're not going to the office," she said.
"Nobody really talks to you when you have career success and suddenly you get married and you're getting ready to have a family," she said. "Nobody talks to you about the huge loss you're about to experience. As much as you have this incredible gift of a child, at the same time you're losing everything that you've worked for."
Berger says a large part of the problem is that society accepts these consequences, which can lead to confusion and loss of self-esteem. "It's a very fragile relationship, and it's very complex. But it is worth struggling to achieve a way that you could thrive."
Berger offers classes, group sessions and individual counseling. She also organizes speaking engagements and works with local women's business groups. She's been perfecting her ideas for the past 15 years and hopes to publish a book.
"Women should really fight for their viability while they're at home with their kids and make it as important as their children's growth," she said.
Berger can be reached at 203-305-9191 or through her website .
Are you a working mother? How do you deal with the dual responsibility? Tell us in the comment section below!
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