Skip to main content

UNFILTERED: Real Stories From Working Moms

UNFILTERED: Real Stories From Working Moms

It’s Monday again. 

And again my CofS comes to the front door at 9 am. She is here because we always spend Monday mornings at my house, brainstorming our marketing strategy for the week, and often film our conversation simultaneously. 

I have her come to me, rather than the office, because my Monday's consist of early morning Zoom calls and afternoon meetings. It doesn't work for me to bounce around town all day, and still somehow have a concentrated "think tank" in the middle. It's better for Sierra Cullison to catch me early in the morning, when my brain is fresh. 

Except today, I'm still in my sweatpants, and I've been in a Zoom call since 7 am. I'm not feeling "fresh."

While I make another cup of coffee, Sierra places her computer and belongings on the kitchen table. She's settling in for that brainstorming session we have on the calendar. 

But I'm not in the head space to sit down. What I need is a walk. 

I need to clear my head, or this day is going nowhere fast. 

“Do you think we can do our brainstorming while we walk?” 

Sierra pauses, “Where do you want to go? Just around the block?”

“No, I’m thinking the river. I need trees and fresh air, not pavement.”

She nods, “Okay I’ll drive.”

It's worth noting that this morning is a very typical example of what it's like to be a working mom. The lines between my professional and personal life often blur together, and more than one responsibility pulls at me from different directions. 

I am fortunate enough to run my own schedule, which means if I need an employee to come to my house to accommodate my schedule, I can do that. It also helps that employee is my daughter. 

But I digress. 

Once on the greenbelt, Sierra and I chat. The topics pop and float between personal and professional issues. I ask about a project we're working on, and she gives a status report. She mentions her weekend plans and I share mine. It's a fluid conversation. 

We observe the houses along the shore, and the sunshine that dapples the forest floor. Sierra mentions how “nice it would be to have a yard along the river,” and I agree, “It would need a playset too.” 

This brief mention of playgrounds sets us off on a tangent about motherhood. 

Sierra is about to have her first baby, and we've been considering what her maternity leave and return to work will look like. She is the first employee to have a baby, and we want the correct systems in place so she can comfortably hand off her responsibilities. It's been a learning curve because her role tends to be fluid. She's my jack of all trades, and I tend to hand her big projects that need "figured out." 

Sierra is also in the beginning stages of considering how she will juggle her work and her family, and I want to give her the space to be able to figure that out, without overstepping my bounds. Being both her mom and her employer can be a narrow tight rope. 

I think its also a given she will want to run her life differently than I have run mine, so the techniques I have used to manage these scenarios, may not be the ones she wants to use. In other words, me offering advice may not be the best route. 

As we continued down the river path, Sierra tilts her head and asks, "Did you ever feel guilty for working when we were growing up?" 

I pause, "Oh yeah, all the time. I used to cry every day on my way to work." 


"Yes. For a long time I struggled with the guilt of these two opposite callings, my family and my need to work. The phrase that constantly went through my head was, "I'm not enough." There wasn't enough of me to go around to satisfy everyone's needs and pay the bills. I just wasn't enough. 

Eventually I had to accept that. I am just one woman. I cannot be everything to everyone, not even my children. And we had to find strategies to fill the needs of the family in other ways, like your grandparents cooking dinner, or your dad quitting work to be a stay-at-home dad. We had different strategies for making it work, but the guilt often didn't leave."

Which is why I've intentionally built a company that accommodates family priorities into it. 

I've had this mantra for a while, "If you can't bring your family with you, it's not worth the journey."

For the full conversation on Motherhood and Career, check out our latest podcast episode on YouTube.