As a young and ambitious magazine editor working her way up the editorial masthead, I remember thinking how incredibly busy I was. Soooo. Dang. Busy.
It was a perspective that changed just a bit (okay, a lot!) after I co-founded my content marketing company Masthead Media and found out that I was having my first child in the same year.
Since then, our team at Masthead has grown to hundreds of employees and freelance contributors, we serve dozens of clients, and I've welcomed a second child. While some days I actually feel like I'm getting that whole work-life balance thing down (hey, I finally squeezed in regular exercise after 5 years!), there are plenty of others where I feel like I must be doing something wrong.
I ask myself: How do the world's most successful moms manage to keep all of those balls in the air without dropping any of them??
What I'm finally realizing is--they don't. As I've learned from following the careers of some incredible female leaders, many working mothers (even those who are doing well financially and have supportive partners, not a given!) struggle to get it all done and give enough of focus to work, family, community and taking care of themselves.
Their anecdotes and advice have buoyed me and given me plenty of food for thought as I move through my own journey as an entrepreneur, mother, and ever-evolving individual. Here are five of my favorite quotes.
Set Aside Uninterrupted Time for Family
"I travel so much and work very long hours, so when I'm not traveling and I'm home, I try to take my kids to school, I think it's really important... Before I leave with the kids I spend 10 or 15 minutes on my phone just getting prepared for the day. SoulCycle's numbers come in at 4 in the morning, so I look at those."
Give Up on Your To-Do List
"I think it's just moms in general, no matter what hours you work...you just you don't get a minute. You don't have a chance to rest or take a nap or run all the errands you want to do. I've had the same to-do list for the last like 17 weeks; seriously, I think I'll probably stay that way forever."
Own Your Passion--No Matter What It Is
"We tend to think about ambition as relating to the workplace, but your ambition can be to raise children with integrity or to make a difference by supporting a cause that you care about. Overall, my ambition is for all women to compete equally in business and in life."
Don't Beat Yourself Up
"Get rid of the guilt... When you're at one place, don't feel bad that you're not at work; when you're at work, don't feel bad that you're not at home."
Set an Example for Other Working Moms
Cathy Engelbert, Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte, talks about being a mom and motherhood often in the office. She makes a point to share her involvement in her kids' sporting activities and lives.
"I would tell my clients what I was doing, and [they] would come to me and say, 'Thank you for sharing ... I wanted to coach my son's little league or go to my daughter's dance recital, and I didn't think I could, but you do it, so I can do it too."