“It’s important to have some alone time and reflect.” with Soo-Jin Behrstock & Dr. Ely Weinschneider

It’s important to have some alone time and reflect. Reflect and set goals of what you want to achieve as a parent. Be realistic with your goals and share them with your husband. As a part of my series about “C-Suite Moms” I had the pleasure to interview Soo-Jin Behrstock. Soo-Jin is an experienced Chief […]

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It’s important to have some alone time and reflect. Reflect and set goals of what you want to achieve as a parent. Be realistic with your goals and share them with your husband.

As a part of my series about “C-Suite Moms” I had the pleasure to interview Soo-Jin Behrstock. Soo-Jin is an experienced Chief Information Officer at AG Jeans and Koos Manufacturing with demonstrated success in the apparel and fashion industry. She is strong information technology professional skilled in Business Process, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning software and Business Process Design. Soo-Jin Owned and managed Oracle consulting companies prior to working at AG Jeans and has just launched a new venture curating best products for newborns through tweens called SOOJIN.

Can you tell us the “backstory” behind what brought you to this point in your career?

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. My career has been around Oracle JD Edwards ERP consulting work. I was ambitious to learn as much as I could and build a consulting company. I had the pleasure of managing and running a couple companies. I love building companies, assets and teams. While working as a CIO at AG Jeans, I wanted to marry technology and curate the best products out in the market — and SOOJIN was born.

Can you share with us how many children you have?

I have two, Alan and Julia.

Where were you in your career when your child was born/became part of your family? I was running an Oracle JD Edwards consulting company when my child(ren) were born. Balancing work and learning to become a mom was a challenge. When your heart is in the right place and with great support from your spouse, anything can be done.

Did you always want to be a mother? Can you explain?

I always knew I wanted to be a mother . . . but I wasn’t one of those married women who said I must have kids when I get married. If I get pregnant great, if not — I was ok with that too. When I became pregnant, my outlook changed. When my first child was born, I knew this was the best blessing anyone can have.

Did motherhood happen when you thought it would or did it take longer? If it took longer, what advice would you have for another woman in your shoes?

Motherhood took some time. Being a mother did not come naturally to me. When I first met my child, Alan, I vowed to be the best mom for him. Because I was also “married” to my work, I had to learn to balance this and it was a struggle. I eventually learned what it meant to be a good mom and a wife. My advice to other women who are trying to balance work and motherhood are: 1) Know your end game, 2) have a vision what kind of mom and wife you want to be, 3) reflect and 4) work to become the kind of mother you want to be.

Can you tell us a bit about what your day-to-day schedule looks like?

5:00AM: Wake up and go to the gym

7:00AM: Go home to pack the kids’ lunch

8:00AM: Get kids ready for school (I alternate with my husband to drop kids off)

8:15AM: Leave to go to work

9:00AM — 6:00PM: Respond to emails, on calls and in meetings most of the time

7:00PM: Eat dinner with the family

8:00PM: Review homework

9:30PM: Catch up with my husband

10:00PM: Read

10:30PM: In bed

Has being a parent changed your career path? Can you explain?

I LOVE working. I can work on projects and not go to sleep especially when I am running on adrenaline. I can’t do that as a parent. I need to stop working, go home and spend time with my family. My career path didn’t change 100% — I am still striving at my goals . . . it may take a little longer, but my passion didn’t change.

Has being a mother made you better at your job? How so?

I am much more patient at work now that I am a mother. I am cognizant of people’s emotional intelligence, style adaptation.

What are the biggest challenges you face being a working mom?

Now that my kids are 11 and 8, they need a different type of attention. They need emotional support, help with homework, cook with them, etc . . . I LOVE doing all these activities with my kids. When work takes a lot of my attention, I take my family/kids first . . . I have an attitude that no one is dying, work can wait until the next day.

Are there any stories you remember from the early days of parenthood that you want to share?

There are times I broke down . . . I had just had my second child and one month after the maternity leave, I had to travel for work. I was engorged all the time and had to pump in between meetings while travelling. I was emotionally and physically exhausted . . . and I came home and just cried. When I saw my kids face, everything changed its perspective.

Are there any meaningful activities or traditions you’ve made up or implemented that have enhanced your time with your family? Can you share a story or example?

Family tradition is very important to me and my husband. We combine Jewish and Korean culture . . . we have Shabbat dinner one Friday a month and I make Jewish food infused with Korean spice.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 3–5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. I make sure there is no distraction. For me it’s putting my phone away
  2. sometimes I need to go to a quiet room to have one-on-one time with my child(ren)
  3. We do activities together as a family and sometimes one-on-one and share stories

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I tell my child(ren) — when you do something, make it worthwhile. Know what your passion is, dream where you want to go in your life and make it happen.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I love listening to TED talks. I’m really into Simon Sinek. It helps me to reflect and think how I can be a better leader, manager, and a person.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you share or plan to share with your kids?

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

If you could sit down with every new parent and offer life hacks, must-have products or simple advice, what would be on your list?

It’s important to have some alone time and reflect. Reflect and set goals of what you want to achieve as a parent. Be realistic with your goals and share them with your husband.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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