This Mother’s Day, one of the things I am celebrating is that I am surrounded by moms who inspire me every day at BSW. These women are tireless in their pursuit of excellence at work and are phenomenal moms, as well. I’m so proud to share my work life with them and so grateful for the support we give one another. These women make my life better.
Recently, we shared our thoughts on the intersection of career and motherhood.
How has being a mom contributed to your excellence at work?
Janet: Being a mom has taught me patience and to look for the underlying reason why someone is acting the way they are. A grumpy 3-year-old may be that way because they don’t feel well. Same can hold true for an adult. Take time to understand the situation and where the individual is at the moment. We all have a background story that we may not communicate.
Julie: I found a new part of me was born when I had my first child. I suddenly had turbo-charged advocacy skills. I will stand up for people I care about no matter what. Nothing intimidates me when it comes to advocating for people I care about, clients included.
We often hear about the stress of being a working mom. What are some fun working mom experiences you recall?
Susan: As a working mom, there are those times when the kids’ school calendar didn’t line up with my work calendar. I remember having to facilitate a 7:00 AM meeting at the office and the kids were out of school. So, like our routine dictated, my three girls (ages 3, 5 and 7 at the time) laid our “work” clothes out the night before and packed our briefcases. You see, I purchased matching kid’s briefcases – pink for sure – for each of the girls. They had a notepad, coloring book, markers, a pretend cell phone, Kleenex, and snacks – just like mom’s. Walking into that conference room the next morning, we definitely looked like a force to reckon with. They worked while I worked and it was a beautiful thing.
Janet: When my kids were really young, we had a woman come into the house to care for them. My oldest was around 2 years old when one morning the caregiver arrived, he looked at me held up his hand and said, “Bye, Ma!” I knew then that he was in great hands and I in no way scarred him by my working.
Julie: When my girls were toddlers, I had them pick out the clothes they wanted to wear the night before. Before bed, we’d lay them out on the living room floor in order of what needed to be put on first: socks, underwear, pants, shirt, stretching across the whole living room floor. That way nobody ended up with their underwear over their pants on their way to daycare! We called them “trails.” That kept mornings pretty stress free. I’d get ready for work while the girls did their “trails.”
How has your perspective on a balanced life changed since becoming a mom?
Janet: Since becoming a parent, I have had to strike a balance between work and family– a really good lesson for me. If you don’t have downtime or family time, you eventually aren’t able to be as productive at work. We all need time to rest, rejuvenate, and focus on something else.
Susan: I’ve learned balance means being able to focus on what’s in front of you. Not everything needs equal time, but everything needs some time. Focus to completion and you’ll be in balance.
Lynda: I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors. Since becoming a mom, I make it a priority to get out and get some exercise with my kids by going for a run, hiking or riding bikes together. Making time for this has become a part of our routine and keeps us balanced.
Have you ever feared you are missing something by going to work each day?
Lynda: I don’t feel like I’m missing or giving up anything by going to work each day. I like the idea of my kids having the opportunity to learn from other people, giving them their own space and experiences, and then being able to share what they’ve done or learned at the end of the day.
Julie: There were times when my kids were very small when I felt that I couldn’t be there enough. But, my kids knew I loved them every single day. What I found is that they built relationships to get everything they needed. It really fostered my daughters’ relationship with each other and with their extended family. My older daughter is still best friends with one of the girls she went to daycare with as a baby through her grade school years. When I couldn’t be there for everything, I always knew they had someone.
One thing we all agree on: our children have made us stronger, smarter, more compassionate and more driven in our pursuit to make the world a better place. We applaud and celebrate all mothers today and every day!