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Happy Mother’s Day: How to Thrive as a Working Mom

In celebration of Mother’s Day, SAI360 honors the journey of working mothers who manage the intricate balance between professional aspirations and family responsibilities.  

The labor force participation rate for mothers with children under age 18 fell to 71%, down from 72% in 2019. Notably, mothers with younger children are less likely to be in the labor force compared to those with older children, with only two-thirds of mothers with young children currently employed.

Mother's day working moms

COVID-19 drastically reduced women’s workforce participation, reaching the lowest levels since the 1980s with over 2 million leaving their jobs in 2020 due to layoffs or caregiving duties. Recently,  nearly 78% of women aged 25 to 54 are either working or seeking jobs, including many mothers of young children. Their top job priorities are flexibility, childcare benefits, and inclusivity. The shift to remote work has increased demand for better work-life balance. Employers now recognize the need to support a family-friendly work culture, especially as most women become mothers by age 44. 

 Below, we asked working moms at SAI360 to share the challenges they face, discuss strategies for thriving, and explain the resilience needed to balance their dual roles, while highlighting how supportive workplaces contribute to their success. 

Q: What insights would you offer to mothers starting to navigate both a career and family life?  

Jami Melbourne, Senior HR Business Partner, SAI360:

“Give yourself time to adjust. Ask for help when you need it. Laugh at yourself, trust me, it works! Set some healthy boundaries. Focus on the top three deadlines for work that need to get done that day and the rest will be there tomorrow. Some days are going to be extremely hard, and some days are not. Most days will not be perfect but try your best and that is all you can do. On the really tough days, I always tell myself that I hope one day my kids will be proud of me for juggling work and motherhood. My favorite part of my day is the time I spend with my kids. I cherish those hours the most and truly try to be present. Don’t forget, you’ve got this!” 

Dominique Biliato, VP, Learning Operations, SAI360:

“I have two working mom rules that I follow and help me feel fulfilled. One is every day, make time for yourself. It could be taking just ten or twenty or thirty minutes where you do something that YOU love. It could be a walk, a run, a trip to the shops, a moment of silence, it’s important to feel like you’ve had a moment for mom. I like to wake up before the kids and do a 20-to-30-minute workout to start off my day and move my body. I drink my coffee, and then I am ready for the morning shift. Rule number two is focus on quality versus quantity when it comes to time with the kids. Make the most of mornings, evenings and weekends. Do all the fun things with the kids when you’re not working and enjoy every minute!”

Christine Brown, Vice President, Learning Product, SAI360:

“There will be times where you are stretched thin, taking care of family and juggling job responsibilities. In each setting, try to be present in the moment. And when your kids are in bed, resist the urge to turn your laptop back on, and take some time for yourself.”

Vanessa Childs, Chief Operating Officer, SAI360:

“You can absolutely be successful at both but you have to be open to adapting how you do both. I missed my son’s first day of kindergarten to attend an out-of-town Board meeting. I was thrilled to have a seat at the table at that Board meeting but I had horrible FOMO watching everyone’s first day of school pics on Instagram. But my son was fine with his dad, and there are many other school events I have attended. Open communication has been key for me. I’ve always been very up front with my boss and team about when I need to have some family time and I am fortunate it’s always been respected. That said, especially the first few years for me, I often had feelings that I was failing at both motherhood and my career. My advice is it gets easier over time and don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re struggling.”

Vicky Farris, Recruiter, SAI360:

“Being a mom has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences and I feel like I’m winging it daily! When they say it takes a village you don’t initially think of your workplace. But when you send your manager a message in the middle of the day, because you have to pick up your sick kid, and they completely understand–no questions asked. They are a part of your village. Working for a company like SAI360 has truly been a gamechanger as a mother. The support and love you get from your coworkers, whom you have never met in person, is phenomenal!”

Q: How has being a mother brought new perspectives to your professional life? 

Dominique Biliato, VP, Learning Operations, SAI360:

“Being a mom is something I always dreamed about growing up, but what I didn’t realize was how much you grow as a person as soon as you become a mom. Motherhood has taught me resilience, patience, and a deeper understanding of what makes me happy.”

Christine Brown, Vice President, Learning Product, SAI360:

“I think a lot of mothers have wonderful skills in management through navigating their family life. We are master peacekeepers, active listeners, problem solvers, and project managers! Use those skills to benefit your career. I also share things from my job with my children, such as prioritization, managing timelines for projects, and how to best work on a team.”

Vanessa Childs, Chief Operating Officer, SAI360: 

“As someone who didn’t have a baby until 43, I think it’s important to say that you can still have great perspective in your professional life without having a child. But I’d be lying if I said that motherhood hasn’t changed me. Having a child factors into a lot of the decisions I make in my career (where I work, my boss, the amount of travel). I am fortunate to work at a company that not only accommodates but encourages balance.  Work-life balance isn’t just important for people with families, it’s important for everyone but I will say motherhood forced that balance for me. Having that balance has made me more productive, more engaged and more empathetic.”

Q: What’s a memorable achievement thus far from your journey as a working mom? 

Dominique Biliato, VP, Learning Operations, SAI360:

“Every day is an achievement! I will share two things that have made me laugh where family life and work life came together. First, during the pandemic when we changed from working in an office to working from home, my mom bought my daughter (who was three at the time) one of those work-from-home kids playsets. It had a headset, a laptop, and a coffee mug and my daughter really liked that toy. She would sit at her desk, put on her headset, and pretend to be me, and that’s when I really realized, ‘Wow is this how I sound when I speak on conference calls?’ Every two to three minutes, she’d take a sip from her pretend coffee mug. It was the cutest thing, and so funny. Second, when I go on a ‘business trip’ my son, who is obsessed with planes and airports, tells me, ‘Mommy, why are you going on vacation again?’ And it just makes me smile.”

Christine Brown, Vice President, Learning Product, SAI360:

“Making it through Covid-19 as a working mom was an achievement! It was the ultimate juggling act because the lines between work and motherhood were blurred. We were all in the same space trying to navigate work meetings, school Zoom sessions, online karate practice, and stay sane while doing it! That was a time when balance between work and personal life was of the utmost importance. I shifted my working hours earlier in the day so I could focus on my children more in the afternoon. It was critical for us and all of our mental health.” 

Vanessa Childs, Chief Operating Officer, SAI360: 

“During my pregnancy, I was determined to show that my performance would be unaffected. I traveled until the last minute, I was putting in long hours and was in a bit of denial that I was having a baby in three weeks when my boss pointed out that I hadn’t even begun a transition plan for my absence. It was almost as if I was embarrassed to take any time away. But my son was born three weeks early and wound up in the hospital for three weeks post-birth and my whole world changed in that moment. It was the first time I ignored emails and got the much-needed perspective that work will get done without you and I was surrounded by extremely capable people. So when I returned from maternity leave, I embraced being open about motherhood. I got support and advice from co-workers, and I paid that forward with others who were having their first child. I often run into old coworkers who I haven’t seen in over a decade and the first question they ask is how my son is doing, not where I’m working.” 

Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of balancing your career with motherhood? 

Christine Brown, Vice President, Learning Product, SAI360:

“The most fulfilling aspect of balancing my career with being a mom has been showing my daughter (and sons!) that women can be strong leaders in both the family and the workplace. I would like to think that I’m showing my children an example of hard work and resilience by balancing the demands of motherhood and career.”

Vanessa Childs, Chief Operating Officer, SAI360:

“I was late to the mom game, becoming a mom at the age of 43. Prior to being a mom, I would say I defined my success in life through the success of my career. Having a baby didn’t change my desire to have a successful career, but it did provide some much-needed balance. It really put some things in perspective for me and helped me see the bigger picture instead of focusing on some of the little things. On the flip side, I’m proud to set an example for my son as a successful working mom who is the primary earner in our family.”

How SAI360 Helps Working Mothers Thrive 

SAI360’s Learning Library offers numerous professional development courses to help mothers and expectant mothers succeed at work, and beyond. These courses include: 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This concise two-minute video reviews the important protections and accommodations afforded to pregnant workers under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Click here to learn more. 

Psychological Health and Safety. This online microlearning class highlights that in addition to protecting workers’ physical safety, organizations must also safeguard their psychological health. The course explores various factors in the modern workplace that can impact employees’ psychological health and safety while providing guidance on managing these risks effectively. Click here to learn more. 

Let’s Start a Conversation 

Click here to request a virtual copy of our Ethics & Compliance Learning catalog. 

Click here to demo our Learning solutions. 

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