When my son was born, the first thing I remember is how amazing it felt to be a mom. I thought motherhood was the best kept secret ever. Everyone talks about how hard it is being a parent and how life will change, but I had never heard anyone sum up the feeling that everything falls into perspective when you become responsible for a child.
I’ve always been driven professionally, but during my son’s first year I made a decision to experiment with work-life balance. I didn’t think of it in those terms. I just knew I needed to be there for my son. I worked incredibly hard at my job, but also made choices that favored my family. For instance, telling my boss that if he emailed me at 10PM I would not be able to meet an 8AM deadline because I was spending time with my family or sleeping! I learned that both work and parenting require sacrifice and as long as I was not sacrificing one more than the other I felt at peace with the choices I made.
I can’t say I spent much time thinking about my legacy or the sustainability of the planet before having kids. My children have given me the two greatest reasons imaginable to think about what the world will be like in the distant future. Raising kids means making intentional decisions every day (sometimes every hour) about what you say, and how you spend your time and money. I’m keenly aware that I need to be the very best role model I can when it comes to my own purpose and values. If I want to instill values of kindness, giving, determination and perseverance in my children I need to demonstrate those same behaviors. If I want them to know that excellence is enough and perfection is not a goal, I need to be able to admit my own mistakes, apologize, and show forgiveness.
To quote a colleague who was a working mom of three “Life doesn’t work every day, but it works.”
Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last ﬁfteen years in HR leadership roles at Seattle based companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redﬁn. In 2015 she founded uniquelyHR, flexible HR for fast growing companies. Mikaela and her team help companies create healthy and inclusive workplaces. She’s a certified coach who enjoys working with executives and high potential female leaders.