We are coming to the end of Women’s month. But is it really? Women bring so much to every situation…. We can honor women everyday, and honor the men that support them. We are not alone.
This is a special tribute to MOMS that Work. Yes, all mothers work…. however, this quick note goes to NEW MOMS that are working. I remember trying to figure it out. I was smart and capable and working with mostly men. We all learned together. They were a little embarrassed – not knowing what to do. It was ok, I didn’t know what to do. I would start laughing, my face would get red, they’d bring me a chair to sit down. If I fell asleep at my desk, they would tip-toe in and reroute my phone to not ring. They brought me food. Often. They tried so hard. I tried so hard too. Back then, I had only 6 weeks of maternity leave, I had to return (for salary and health care especially). And the struggle started again, New Moms have a lot to learn all at once. Thank God for kind co-workers.
I just wanted to be energetic and “in charge” but I soon realized …. something had to give. I couldn’t work 10 hours a day x 5 days a week, as I had before. I wanted to clean everything. I was fierce and emotional. But through all the changes my co-workers helped and laughed with me, I was so very fortunate.
I remember a moment, when I started to cry at my desk (yikes!) my baby had just used a cup at day care and I was “MIA” (working). Oh so sad, I missed that special moment! My team of men “conferred” and they brought in JEAN, another woman who had grandkids(!) to listen and talk to me. Jean helped me that day, I just needed a hand to hold for a few minutes, a bit of encouragement and she was there. My team of problem-solvers did a great good deed!
Thanks to everyone who helps a women excel. We all need each other. Thanks goes out to my team and my family!
This isn’t my quote (below), but I love the expression of strength. Working Mothers that go to work…. It’s so hard to leave our little ones, but we make it, with understanding and help from family, co-workers, amazing care-givers and emergency baby-sitters, and neighbors that pitch in.
Has being a woman impacted your leadership journey?
How could it have not impacted my journey? I was the only woman in the room at leadership meetings for many years, but that never bothered me because I was accustomed to being surrounded by men growing up on a family farm alongside four brothers. However, when I had small children, one thing that made me different from my male peers was balancing motherhood with my job responsibilities. I used to joke that I wore a suit to work like my peers, but the difference was that I carried a washcloth in my briefcase to wipe off baby sneezes and breakfast fingerprints from my jacket!
It was also evident that I had a positive impact on my male peers because I naturally brought a diverse lens to the job, since my life experiences and perspectives differed from theirs.