How motherhood can supercharge your careerFeatured

Are you thinking of having a child, currently pregnant or already a mother of a young child? Then you’ve probably been dealing with unwanted thoughts swirling in your brain about how you’re going to raise kids while also advancing your career.

Many women fear that the decision to have children could derail their career ambitions – and I too once carried those worries with me while contemplating children. But as a recent mother of two children running a health-tech startup, I’m here to tell you that motherhood may be the very boost your career needs.

Sure, becoming a mother undoubtedly means less sleep, less time for yourself and consequently less time to get work done. But here’s a secret I discovered in my motherhood journey that I hope will bring any career-driven woman struggling with the idea of raising kids some peace of mind: becoming a mother equips you with powerful biological attributes, skills and circumstances that could give you a career boost you’d never expect.

Why? Because, becoming a mother births not only a baby, but a new strength and a new sense of self.

Nothing compares to the strength it requires to grow and birth a human. In the words of Rihanna after performing pregnant at Super Bowl LVII this year, “When you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world – you can do anything". She added, “the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, so as scary as that was, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all.”

Tapping into this strength can drive your career ambition to new levels and give you stamina on workdays that feel exhausting or defeating. Birthing a child is one of the toughest works you’ll ever do – once you’ve done that, is there *anything you cannot do*? (I think not).

Becoming a mother also births a new sense of self. A new woman emerges after childbirth - a woman with a greater sense of purpose and drive who knows her value, her worth, what she wants out of life and the woman she wants to be.

This new sense of self inspires a new mother to dream bigger, align her career with her personal values and beliefs and a new drive to work harder and achieve more - not only for herself, but also for her child to whom she’s instilling her values to dream big. Nothing gets in the way of this woman – she’s a mama bear, and no one messes with mama bear.

Motherhood also develops your time-management skills in a big way. Once you’ve had a child, you’re far more time constrained than you ever were before. This may seem to put you at a big disadvantage, but time constraints force a laser-sharp focus that you may have never had before. It’s a forcing mechanism to prioritize like a champ to get your most important work done. There’s also no time for perfection, which helps you get things done faster and in a surprisingly on-point and efficient way that never could have been done when you used to second-guess yourself and dwell on things to be done perfectly.

Another skill that motherhood can develop is empathy. When you become a mother, you are responsible for the care and well-being of another human being, which requires a deep level of understanding and compassion. This empathy can translate well to the workplace, where you may be working with clients or colleagues who are going through difficult times. By being able to empathize with others, you can build stronger relationships, diffuse conflicts, and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Lastly, motherhood provides us the opportunity to learn important lessons from our children. Children are great teachers and their lessons are abundant. Our children teach us to stay curious, be patient, don’t sweat the small stuff, move on quickly from things that don’t matter and not be afraid of judgment or to try new things – all really important attributes in navigating and leveling up our careers as an adult.

After having two children in 2.5 years, I realized that juggling work and family responsibilities isn’t as disadvantageous as I feared it might be – quite the opposite in fact. I firmly believe that if we look at motherhood through this positive lens, hopefully more women won’t hold back from having kids when they’re ready and decide to move whole-heartedly towards motherhood with strength, conviction, and excitement for how these mama superpowers can propel you forward.

So, if you’re considering starting a family or have recently started one, I hope this gives you conviction and excitement for the unexpected boost that motherhood can provide.

Absolutely love this post and I couldn’t agree more. As a small business owner who got pregnant in her first year of business (and then got pregnant again 6 months later 😅😅😅) it has only added fuel to my personal brand and business. I now empower mommas all over the country to do the same! Motherhood most definitely has its challenging moments, but when we lean in - it’s such a magical superpower ✨ We truly are incredible. 🩷
I really needed to read this today! My husband and I have been talking recently about potentially starting a family, and one thought that's been deterring me is feeling like if/when we have a family, my career will have to take a backseat and that I won't be able to try new things and/or keep pushing myself to grow professionally, things I already struggle to do without a child relying on me.
New mom to a 5 month old here! :] The first couple months I would have disagreed, but coming out of the fog of uncertainty, I definitely agree with all that you said! I was ready to give up completely on my previous career path before baby was here, but now my passion has been reignited. Even better, it's been reignited in a way that I want to approach my career in a more balanced way. I'm prioritizing my family and my health over sacrificing everything for my work - because I know in the long run, the good I do for the world will be of higher quality and quantity.And definitely realizing the following more every day as I search for a new opportunity while caring for the babe full time! The 80/20 rule has never felt more real. :]"Motherhood also develops your time-management skills in a big way. Once you’ve had a child, you’re far more time constrained than you ever were before. This may seem to put you at a big disadvantage, but time constraints force a laser-sharp focus that you may have never had before. It’s a forcing mechanism to prioritize like a champ to get your most important work done. There’s also no time for perfection, which helps you get things done faster and in a surprisingly on-point and efficient way that never could have been done when you used to second-guess yourself and dwell on things to be done perfectly."
I love this topic! Thanks a lot for sharing, moms do need more encouragement. I got pregnant with my son when I just started a demanding Masters in Data Science program, commuting every day 50 miles away form. I took a break in the middle of the program to give birth and care for my baby, and got back the next year to finish. No one believed I would return, but I did, and never in my life I was so focused. I literally soaked every single word and used every single opportunity to study (during the feedings, on the feedings). Don't get time wrong, it wasn't an easy adventure at all. My son woke up several times during the night, I was breastfeeding (and had to pump at school too!) and just a had a lot on my plate. I wouldn't say I'd recommend doing the school and a baby at the same time, but if you are going through challenges in motherhood and/or career, I feel you! The most important thing is to take care of yourself (burnout is real, I've personally experienced that) by asking for help and getting support, and thinking about motherhood as an absolutely unique and wonderful (yes, wonderful) growth experience.
Love this post and completely agree! I got pregnant the first year I left corporate to start my own business and I was terrified about what it meant for my business and me. I thought I'd never feel motivated again and worried that I'd lose all the clients I worked so hard to gain. All my mental drama during that time inspired me to create a "Prepare Business for Baby" weekly checklist guide that tells mamas what they should be doing in their business to prepare for maternity leave (and shifting priorities) that aligns with the weekly pregnancy countdown-- or count up, rather? The guide aims to help women feel more prepared and empowered when taking maternity leave. Ideally, your business is set up to take care of you while you take care of your baby. Happy to share it with any expecting entrepreneurs! (It's free!)Now that I'm on the other side, I agree that being a mom gives us super powers. My business and mission to serve are stronger than ever and just like @julissaedwards mentioned, being a mom has added fuel to my business. I'm grateful to be able to bear witness to the daily strength and momentum that mamas bring to the table in their businesses and families.
When I saw the link to this post, this is precisely all I thought it would say! I love how well-written this piece is! I also adore how, somehow, you captured the emotions of all recent mothers! I'm also a mom of 2 littles, and everything you expressed has definitely been me in the past 5 years! My eldest, after loads of mom guilt, we found out is autistic. This added another layer of "mama bear" I never knew I had in me! I love this version of me!I'm excited for all my fellow mamas that got to unlock the next level of themselves!
@nikkimorant Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm actually doing a workshop next month - Turning Mom Guilt into Momentum. I'd love to learn more about your experience if you're open to connecting.
Thank you for sharing! Definitely inspiring as I approach this next stage of life. I've always known I wanted to be a mother, but have really been concerned about what that means for my career and own passions. It's been really comforting to read about other's experiences and how motherhood can supercharge your focus and skills.💪💓
@jackiefrias Thank you for sharing your concerns. I never saw myself as a mom but when I became a mom, I was amazed by how awesome it was. I had very similar concerns about what would happen to my business after having a kid (my business was very new when I found out I was pregnant). If you're an entrepreneur I can share with you a resource I created to help moms have peace of mind transitioning into motherhood.
I completely agree. Having kids has helped me be laser focused on what I want. I had to create a system that worked for me, my family, and my Edtech startup. I took three months (my maternity leave) to do the self reflection to understand and learn:- my new priorities and values and how that changed my approach to work- how I needed to plan a week ahead to get the most important work finished in a short amount of time- how I needed to work differently because I'm different now. Eg. with lack of sleep I had to position my work differently throughout the day - how to prioritize energizers in work and always think about the why. If it's not energizing or aligned to the goal it won't get done.- how to work efficiently off my phone (to fully leverage naps, even when nap trapped)- how to be better about setting expectations with others on what you need to get the work done. Being more dependent on others (like a partner) has been key. Books that also helped me:- Mom Genes by Abigail Tucker - Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam- Fair Play (Card game) by Eve Rodsky- Workparent by Daisy DowlingI couldn't fully understand what the transformation would be like to become a mother before I had my baby. I agree that it's like becoming a new person. ( Read Mom Gene if you're interested in how moms' brains change when they have kids.) And I find that I'm so much more comfortable and happy now than I ever was before. Obviously there are ups and downs, but life has a whole new meaning and joyfulness.
This is beautifully written and full of many truths but very misleading. If you're a woman in tech you're likely working with a majority of younger males who don't have much insight to any of the female biological challenges--even if their life depended on it. As a working mom, you're going to make small and big mistakes at work because as mentioned by OP, you're tired, your life is no longer your own etc. These mistakes will add up and people will notice. Not to mention the literal terror ride called pregnancy so that by the time you give birth you feel so depleted because you spent 9 months trying to "keep up with everyone else". And all those little mistakes you made during the 18 months of growing humans and the 24 months of raising babies will pummel your confidence and self-worth deep into the ground. The dark truth behind some of the positive stories shared here is that everything imaginable will need to be sacrificed in order to maintain career success. Your relationship, your mental and physical health, your connection to community, and your hobbies and passions. Positive stories about working motherhood are worth celebrating but sharing what goes on behind the scenes will be way more critical to ensuring that working moms make it to the other side of the hardest years of their lives. As an example, I've never met a successful working mom that didn't have a night nurse, full-time dependable childcare or retired parents nearby, disposable income for healthy foods and most critical... a partner that could support all of this stuff financially. And behind the scenes of all of this is whether a high earner husband has enough EQ and foresight to prioritize the career trajectory of his wife while she weathers the storm of her lifetime.