Love, Mom began because Tracey and I felt left out. We noticed there wasn’t any ink, digital or otherwise, that celebrated career-loving moms who work hard and enjoy as much as they can at work, play and home. I was in the Canadian magazine business for over 15 years, and I was often told I couldn’t profile women like me because we weren’t relatable enough (yet celebrities were; oh the irony). I was told I was too fancy yet I didn’t feel fancy. I was working my ass off, I was tired and god damn it, I deserved those YSL riding boots that I patiently waited to go on sale (like, really on sale).
After I left the business, I realized no one was speaking to women like me. Women who rely heavily on their partners, day care, nannies or relatives so they have the time, space and sanity to follow their passions…and be happy and attentive moms when they’re not at work. Women who tweet, post, share and email back on demand until it’s time for dinner and bedtime with their littles (and then they’ll get back to you later, like they always do). Women who paused or changed their careers so they could care for their littles, for whatever reason, and deserve not to be criticized for their decision. Women who hardly feel guilty about working and enjoy the return on investment in their careers whether it’s a designer handbag, an organic facial or a full-on family vacation. Women who are creative and with determination found ways to turn their creativity into an enriching daily way of life. Women who feel you don’t have to suffer or be a martyr to be a good mother. Women who give back and empower others from sharing their personal experiences, giving their time or writing a cheque from their hard-won bank accounts.
And after speaking to over 40 moms, of every age and phase of parenting, I have learned so much about the modern state of working motherhood in the past 8 months since this blog launched. I’ve learned more than any self-help book could teach me. I am very aware that moms like me operate from a privileged state of grace, but that doesn’t make our challenges any less substantial or real. If we can teach each other how to overcome our collective anxieties, fears and stresses, we can free ourselves to do more for our friends, our families and our community at large.
As 2017 kicks off, here are lessons that we heard from so many Love, Emoem moms that will help you get more out of your career and motherhood all at once. Now isn’t that refreshing?
Lesson No. 1: There is no such thing as work-life balance. Instead, embrace the chaos and enjoy the ride
Stylist and creative director Susie Sheffman, mom to Ben and Molly who are now starting their own careers: “I don’t have any regrets except I wish I could’ve been more relaxed while I was a younger working mom. I know I was burning the candle at both ends and I wish I could’ve let some things go. I’m not saying I didn’t give enough to my kids; I did the best I could and I’m satisfied with that but I was either exhausted or really hyper…maybe that’s just me, but either way I couldn’t have avoided the happy chaos we thrived in. I do consider myself very blessed.”
Lesson No. 2: Don’t feel guilty about putting your kids before your career
Juli Daoust Baker, co-owner of lifestyle shop and gallery Mjolk and mom to Elodie and Howell: “I’m choosing to be with the kids since they’re only going to be little for so long…right now my work suffers a bit [however] once Howell is old enough to be at school, I’ll have my career and my job waiting for me. I’m looking forward to getting back to a more balanced lifestyle but today the kids are my focus.”
Lesson No. 3: These days, dads and partners are #makingitwork along with you
Joyce Lo, co-director of The Drake General Store and mom to Casimir and Everling: “[Today] it’s not uncommon for both partners to be invested in caring for the kids equally. When we wake up, I take one babe and my husband takes the other, we have breakfast by 7:15am and we’re all out the door by 8am to drop the kids off at daycare and school. We both work until 5pm, pick them up, then it’s eat and bed. Matt and I both go on the computer for one more hour to prep for the next day then we have some quiet time together…I do discuss how-to strike work-life balance with my friends, but it’s not just with the moms, it’s with all the dads in my circle too.”
Lesson No. 4: Let motherhood inspire your career to change
A former fashion and commercial photographer, Maude Arsenault now owns The Print Atelier, an online art photography gallery which she launched to have more time with Maxe, Billie and Romain: “Deep down I was always interested more in art than fashion. I found a whole community I had never met before. I loved meeting artists, collectors and going to art fairs and travelling for short trips instead of long shoots. it was really exciting to do something new and see a new way of doing everything.”
Lesson No. 5: Putting your career on hold doesn’t mean it’s gone forever
Katy Dockrill is a freelance illustrator and mom to Maggie. ““I didn’t work at all for what seemed like two years. I needed to be there for Maggie because Jay [my partner] was working more than usual during her first year and we really couldn’t afford day care…as soon as she started grade one and was at school full-time [and] I had a full day to myself, I was able to work. But I did have to relaunch my business.” It’s been 3 years since she’s been back to work and she has an agent who keeps her busy along with major clients like the LCBO, Chatelaine and Canadian Living.