Monica: Christine, I love how you are advocating for all moms in the workplace so they can thrive at home and in their careers. What first inspired you to do this work?
Christine: I became motivated to serve as an advocate for working mothers nearly nine years ago when I became a mother for the first time. I noticed the workplace isn’t designed to allow mothers to develop professionally, and I wanted to provide them with resources, information and tools to advocate for themselves and their maternal colleagues.
My hope is that my writing makes other mothers feel confident, understood and included. I’m hoping to reduce their anxiety through my articles and books – by speaking to every facet of the working motherhood experience: situations, challenges and misconceptions inside and outside of the workplace.
Monica: As mothers, we can feel pulled in so many different directions that it can be difficult to find that balance between our professional goals and parenting. How would you define health and happiness in this setting?
Christine: I myself am still struggling to find health and happiness, and I’m always transparent in this journey. I feel other women can related to this search, which is why my work speaks to the notion of honest parenting, not aspirational, perfect parenting. It’s easier to meet and exceed professional goals because they serve as a clear, tangible path to success.
But if you ask me to list personal goals- those associated with health, happiness, romance, self-care, and the like – I’m a fish out of water. And I think this is because for me happiness is a concept, with no clear, tangible path.
My books and articles and speaking with mothers across the country at my free mommy-and-me networking event (Mompreneur and Me), reminds me that I don’t have to have all the answers right now. I can enjoy the journey to being the happiest and healthiest version of me. The journey’s also not going to be a positive slope – there will be ups and downs.
Monica: That’s so true, it can be a very nebulous concept that can evolve over time! How has your own journey given you meaning as you move forward?
Christine: It may sound trite but Malcolm X once said, “The mother is the first teacher of the child. The message she gives that child, that child gives to the world.”
By giving working mothers positive, insightful content, I’m doing my part to reduce their stress, raise loving children and thus- change the world.
Monica: Such a beautiful sentiment, and I agree – moms are absolutely changing the world. What’s one thing you’d like to emphasize to moms everywhere that will help them thrive?
Christine: Moms don’t often feel they can thrive in the workplace, which causes them stress and anxiety. As a black professional (and mother), I firmly believe the solution to this problem is not for mothers to mask their identity at work. These ideas may not seem related; however, there are many black Americans in the corporate world who do just this – it is called covering.
Downplaying association with a race (or in the instance of a working mother’s role) doesn’t effectively sidestep discrimination, it only leads to psychological distress. Covering for motherhood in the workplace is a popular solution, but with one in five women suffering from a maternal mental health disorder and American moms being called the most stressed out moms in the Western world… how effective is it, really?
In short, stop trying to fight the fact that you’re a mother at work. It’s only making you feel worse.
Learn more about Christine at: https://christinemichelcarter.com/