Keeping it Real: Mom Strength at Home and the 9-5

The pressures of being a mom can get overwhelming, but it's important to embrace the imperfect moments.

JamieB/ Getty Images
JamieB/ Getty Images

By Heather Tranen

Motherhood. The word itself inspires a complexity of thoughts. Regardless of whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a tiger mom, a foster mom, a desperately-trying-to-become-a mom, a career mom, or a Pinterest mom, motherhood evokes emotions nowhere else experienced.

One thing is for sure — I am not a Pinterest mom. I’m more of an eat-off-of-the-floor/get-your-ass-to-bed-no-later-than 7:30-so-I can-have-a-glass-of-wine kind of mom.

Becoming a mom both saved and nearly ended my life. When you have a traumatic birth experience, and it can really lead you to reevaluate things. With the perspective of a mom of (now) two little boys, I wanted to be a better person, and desperately wanted to try living happily in the moment.

For better or worse, my experience with pregnancy and motherhood taught me invaluable lessons, many of which could also be incorporated into career success. I thought I’d share some thoughts on succeeding in both our mom and professional jobs.

Sh*t happens. Literally.

Motherhood stinks sometimes. You haven’t truly lived until you’re on an Amtrak ride alone with your son and he gets massive diarrhea, or when your baby zombie-vomits all over himself when you’re five seconds away from the hotel. Maintaining a sense of humor, flexibility, and resourcefulness will get you through these crappy times.

The same goes for work. Everyone experiences a time when things didn’t go how you painstakingly planned. I’ve given an impromptu presentation in front of 50 people when the scheduled speaker mixed up the day and time. Whatever happens, have confidence (or at least know how to fake it). You are still the bad*ss goddess who deserves to be worshipped. Make sure everyone else knows that, too.

Imperfect perfection gets the job done.

Is there anything more unbelievable than the mom on social media whose children are perfectly clean with cherubic smiles and perfectly-matching outfits? That’s probably the seven-millionth picture they took, and their kids are smiling from a sugar high. I love a good keeping-it-real photo.

“This was our 701st picture before we gave up because the bus was coming.”

“Look how happy we are while Daddy is on a five-day business trip to Napa without us!”

Who has time for perfection? Embrace the imperfection and let it fuel you toward getting things done. Kid got himself dressed, but his pants are on backwards? Good enough. In the workplace, I’ve seen people so crippled by the desire to achieve perfection that they never launch anything new or achieve their goals. Perhaps the backwards-pants approach would help.

Build a diverse dream team.

I’m obsessed with my friends Tina and Amy’s dope squad video. (We aren’t really friends, but this is my post and I’ll frame it however I want.)

It’s too true. You need a tribe of people from nannies, to physicians, to shrinks, to friends who won’t let you get away with saying you’re fine when they visibly see things on fire behind your Instagram filters. The same goes in the workplace. Surround yourself with mentors and staff who challenge, inspire, and help you get stuff done. There’s strength in admitting weakness. Shout your weaknesses from the rooftops, and watch all of the kindred spirits come out and stand with you in solidarity.

I can’t drive home enough how important it is to just keep it real. We’re all lucky to be here and to fight the good mom fight to raise non-serial killer, happy kids.

Be real. Be flexible. Build a village. Make (good) sh*t happen.

As the founder of Schtick, Heather Tranen helps the pragmatically passionate find their schtick and make stuff happen. She believes that finding a meaningful career goes beyond blindly following passion. It takes hard work, introspection, and a little dose of reality. She partners with individuals and companies to help people discover and channel their value.

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