How motherhood shaped my career
When I graduated from college I had dreams of working at a big design agency, like the ones I would read about in magazines (long live print!). While majority of my graphic design school colleagues went off and pursued that dream, I was in and out of freelance jobs, young and married, and expecting our first child. While the journey of my career did not look like your average designer, I learned many valuable lessons specifically from motherhood that have impacted my work today.
I am always learning
When I had my first child I must of read hundreds of articles about parenting as well as received lots of (unsolicited) advice from everyone and their mother. I admit, some things did help but for the most part we were on our own. Being a parent requires endless learning. I don’t know how many times I cried out of confusion and not meeting expectations. These challenging times definitely stumbled me but also helped me understand what I could do better and how. Just like the iterative process in design, we use what we learn to inform decisions. Sometimes we get it right and most times not. But we use these experiences to perfect our craft and make things better.
Teamwork makes the dream work
People tend to ask me, “You have 4 kids, how do you do it?”. I often answer, “with help”. While there are definitely “mom only” duties, I’m grateful for the ability to lean on my husband, family, friends, and even my own children for help. From the very start of motherhood I realized I needed to get over this idea that I could do it better on my own. Freeing myself from this type of mindset forced me to find the right community that would help me grow and thrive. Similar to teams at work, having the right group of people allows healthy collaboration that is not only dynamic but impactful. When a team is anchored in trust, honesty, and vulnerability succeeding together has more value and purpose.
We are all called to be leaders
Becoming a mother has gradually and naturally trained me to be a leader, which is someone I never saw myself as in my earlier years. As a mother I feel called to lead, inspire, and enable the best out of my family. While leading requires great operational and logistical skills, it also goes beyond managing. For me, it is equipping my children with the right tools and support to thrive. Ultimately, I am helping them navigate life. Sometimes this means having uncomfortable conversations when we aren’t aligned and other times it means affirming their abilities and talents. At work we might not all be managers, but we are all called to be leaders. It is a valuable asset that embodies humility, vulnerability, and courage. This kind of leadership will help set your team up for success.
You will rise up again
The desire to be someone great for a purpose you care so deeply about requires hard and selfless work. This is not an easy task that can easily be distracted by fear. Am I good enough? Am I doing this right? Often times I am uncertain, frustrated, and scared. But it is when I remember my purpose that I am inspired to take action. Failure is when you decide to stop trying when you are given the opportunity to try again. Motherhood has taught me to never give up on the things you truly believe in. This is something I take into my work. To be resilient in the face of doubt, uncertainty, and even rejection is what I aspire to do. Maybe not perfectly, but thoughtfully.
Lastly, if there’s one lesson to embrace from motherhood it’s this: gratitude. This is the work that I get to be the most creative and find the greatest reward. It is an adventure everyday that brings me so much joy. Being a mother has given me the opportunity to see my full potential and accomplish things I never imagined. I owe my passion and drive to being a mother because it inspires me to give nothing but excellence to whatever I am doing.