"Work Has a Bigger Purpose"—How Motherhood Has Influenced the Professional Lives of 6 Women (for the Better)

Photo:  Jenna Peffley

If I’m being totally honest, the idea of being a mom took me at least the first year of my son’s life to come to terms with. I really grappled with the lack of independence and mourned for my old life. But fast forward 11 years and I couldn’t be more thankful for the many blessings our son, Neon has given me and our extended family. He is, without a doubt, my biggest teacher. Not only that, I know that motherhood has helped me to grow spiritually too, I feel more connected to the people I love, to my family and unexpectedly, to my work. I am a much stronger, more confident person which has directly transferred into my professional life too and influenced the way I lead. All of the virtues a mother has—patience, compassion, empathy, efficiency—now carry over into my work.

And I’m not alone. LOLA—the first lifelong reproductive brand for women, rooted in the values of ingredients transparency, high quality, simple design, and modern convenience— also asked the question recently with their post, “Work after motherhood: do moms have an advantage?” where the author had a similar, positive experience as myself at work since becoming a mom. She writes, “For some moms, including myself, my roles as mother and worker are complementary. I am better in each role because of what the other offers me.”

The post also cites a Harvard report that found children with working moms have “better careers, higher pay, and more equal relationships” and that sons will have more empathy and be more helpful in managing their own households if they grow up with a mother who worked. Just like their dedication to providing an ever-expanding portfolio of trusted products, LOLA is also devoted to helping people make deliberate decisions about their reproductive health with candid information—from their first period to the last hot flash and beyond.

So, in light of this mission, we reached out to some of the working moms in our community to find out if motherhood had indeed changed their relationship with work for the better and given them an advantage. Because it’s through these honest conversations that we can truly connect and understand that we’re all in it together, especially when it comes to navigating new life stages. Read on to hear what these eight moms had to say.

Sarah Yates Mora, Creative Director, A House in the Hills

“Motherhood created a massive shift in my priorities which has served me both professionally and personally in so many ways. When my son was born I made the decision to slow down my business until he reached school age so that I could be the primary caretaker for his earliest years. This came with many sacrifices of course, but was undoubtedly the best decision for our family.

“Now when I work I am far more conscious and deliberate with my hours, I only take projects that really speak to me and I say no far more than I used to. I think that having scarcity in time has ultimately been beneficial in helping me narrow my focus and hone in on what is truly serving my business, myself and my family. Slowing down forced me to evaluate the hamster wheel of work I’d been on and realize that I could pivot from the path I was on and forge a new one with a business model that didn’t involve being all-consumed.”

Now when I work I am far more conscious and deliberate with my hours, I only take projects that really speak to me and I say no far more than I used to. — Sarah Yates Mora

Stella Simona, Founder of Amarilo and Haati Chai

“I think motherhood has given me a great advantage. I used to get worried, before having my son, when I would hear parents say that kids ruined their lives. It’s actually the complete opposite. I’ve grown more into my skin and who I am after motherhood. Similarly, I’ve only grown in my career, and I having more clarity on what my values are. I think this really stemmed from understanding that yes motherhood is a pivotal point in my life and it’s only going to be the way I make it. The minute I knew I was having a boy I wanted to be able to give my son Noah the best environment to grow up in. I knew that in order to be the best mom for him I had to be the best version of me for myself first.”

Photo: Courtesy of  Stella Simona

Photo: Courtesy of Stella Simona

I’ve grown more into my skin and who I am after motherhood. Similarly, I’ve only grown in my career, and I having more clarity on what my values are. — Stella Simona

Julie Van Daele, Creative Director and Interior Designer, Well Received

“Before baby, work felt like an annoying chore that didn’t stimulate my brain. After becoming a mom, I found that work was a must for me to continue stimulating my creativity. I realized I needed to have a life outside of just taking care of the baby and to ensure that I brought intelligent conversations to my husband, friends and those around me. Since having my son this is what is non-negotiable:
1. I must work for my own sanity.
2. I set my own terms for when and whom I work with.
3. My family trumps all work opportunities and obligations.

“In regards to if working gives me any advantages, right now I’m in the thick of balancing the desire to grow my business with the desire to be at home with my son for the few years before he starts school. Today, I would say having a kid doesn’t give me an advantage, as I feel pulled in more directions and that my time is much more limited. But having a kid give does have some perks:

1. A new way to relate with so many of my clients that are also working moms.
2. A constant reminder of what’s important in this life.
3. The ultimate trump card for any work situation. No one is going to tell me that they/their home are more important than whatever is going on with my kid. So it really helps me to set boundaries.”

Photo:  Courtesy of Well-Received

Photo: Courtesy of Well-Received

(Motherhood is) a constant reminder of what’s important in this life. — Julie Van Daele

Angela Fink, Creative Director

“Motherhood has allowed me to gain more perspective on my life and my choices. It's given me the confidence to love the person I am and seek balance in my life. I want to lead by example and show Lola that she can sculpt her life the way she sees it. The line between work and life is thin in our house, and it would be near impossible for me to keep her away from my work. That's why I take her with me on shoots, pulls, and even (specific) meetings.

“Motherhood has really shown me that work is no longer a bad word, and when you are true to yourself, good things come. I'm absolutely stronger in who I am, too. Before Lola, I felt lost in a way. Motherhood has given me a more defined purpose, and with harnessing that energy, I feel like I can push myself 10 times further. I feel smarter about my decisions and brave because I want to lead by example.“

Photo:  Kelly Bolton
I feel smarter about my decisions (as a mother) and brave because I want to lead by example. — Angela Fink

Tracy-Ann Frazier, Founder of Knowing Tracy

“Motherhood made me fearless in my work by giving me the courage to pursue my dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. I want my son and future children to know that they can pursue their dreams. So instead of working for an employer and nurturing their dreams, I've branched out into what most would term "the unknown" to do what I love. Being a mom has given me a stronger why and motivation. My desires for my children: financial freedom, have leadership qualities, an abundance of joy and navigate life knowing they can achieve all things despite what society may think because of the color of their skin. I'm no longer working for myself but to change the life of my family and future generations.”

Photo:  Anthony Frazier

Photo: Anthony Frazier

Being a mom has given me a stronger why and motivation. — Tracy-Ann Frazier

Erin Hiemstra, Creative Director and Founder of Apartment 34

“I find I often have a slightly different struggle with being a working mom then quite a few ladies I talk to. You see, I didn’t cry when I left my son and went back to work. I cried on my last day before maternity leave when I said good-bye to my office. Sure, I don’t always love that I spend less than three hours a day with my baby but I’m not racked with guilt by it. I refuse to be.

“Why? Because I really love what I do. I get a lot of self-satisfaction, and to be perfectly candid, self-worth out of my work. My frustration with being a working mom does not lie in how it limits me at home. It lies in how career-limiting being a woman with children can be or at least I have found it to be thus far. For starters, my efficiency has totally decreased. Between getting to work much later than I used to and having to be out the door to relieve the nanny, I manage to check one, maybe two things off of my daily to-do list. Emails? At least a 72-hour minimum response time. The deluge is endless. This leaves me feeling totally ineffective.

“I’ve also found that all of the professional momentum I was building prior to having a baby has stalled and I haven’t quite figured out how to get that engine revving again. The strict schedule, the sleep deprivation and all the time spent being the one in charge of all things domestic eats into your traditional workday. And working freelance is great, but when you don’t have to be “in the office” by 8 a.m. it can be challenging to structure a productive day.

“I see some other moms for whom motherhood has been a boon of inspiration a and crash course in multitasking and efficiency. But I still struggle with feeling highly inefficient. While these challenges really had me down on myself in my first couple of years as a mom, now that my son is four I realize how fleeting these first years are and I’ve tried to be easier on myself. I work as hard as I can in all aspects of my existence and that’s all I can give. Before I know it my son will be in school full time and won’t need me nearly as much. And I may have finally gotten over the sleep deprivation by then.”

Photo:  Courtesy of Apartment 34

Photo: Courtesy of Apartment 34

My frustration with being a working mom does not lie in how it limits me at home. It lies in how career-limiting being a woman with children can be. — Erin Hiemstra

Do you agree? Has motherhood changed your relationship with work and even become an advantage? Share your thoughts with us below!

This post was sponsored by LOLA.