In celebration of Mother's Day, we reached out to a handful of working mamas who inspire us, and we asked them to share their thoughts, insight, and advice on motherhood and balancing mom life with work life. Follow along all week to see our featured moms and read more!
First up in our Mother's Day series, we're featuring Rachel Nilsson, the CEO and founder of RAGS, and mama to three boys ages 5, 7, and 9. Below, Rachel shares her thoughts on work-life balance, what surprised her most about motherhood, her favorite way to spend an hour of alone time, and her advice for other working moms.
WHAT DOES YOUR AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE AS A WORKING MOM?
My schedule is never the same. Because I can't be home when my kids get home, I have committed to taking them to school every morning. It is like a sacred ritual :) After that I drive into work and I'm usually bombarded with meetings all day long. I actually love what I do and who I work with, which makes it really fun. I have tried to make that a priority: surrounding myself with people I actually want to hang out with.
HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCE BETWEEN MOM LIFE AND WORK LIFE?
Balance? What is that? I think this is the number one question I would always ask my peers and now it is the number one question I get asked. I have really tried hard to figure out this balancing act and have realized a couple things. What has worked for me is coming up with my three top priorities—God, Family, Relationships with those I care about—and really focusing on those, and making sure that nothing trumps my priorities and really striving to put those above all. Once I have managed that, I have realized that balance has come. Anytime RAGS has come before any of those things, my life has seemed to spiral a bit out of control. So I would say, figure out what your priorities are first and then balance will come.
HOW HAS MOTHERHOOD INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR OCCUPATION OR CHANGED YOUR PERSPECTIVE TOWARDS WORK?
Motherhood is the most inspiring and truly the hardest job on the planet. I feel that what I have learned as a mother has really translated into my career. It has helped me be a more empathetic leader, helped with my capabilities to multitask, and has helped me be able to manage multiple "melt downs" at a time. Kids are no joke and raising them isn't either, but if I can do that and do it well, I can also work and aspire to be a successful entrepreneur as well. There is so much more to me than a mom, and I think it is important for my family and kids to see that AND also to appreciate that. I think it's cool to have my boys see their mom live her dreams and see that it's possible for women to be incredibly successful at what they do. They really are my biggest fans.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER OTHER WORKING MOMS?
Advice I would give: YOU GO GIRL!! Don't be so hard on yourself. Let the mom guilt go (I think every single mom has this problem), and stop feeling guilty for pursuing something you are passionate about. You can be a great mom and a great business owner too. Also, just do it at your own pace. It doesn't all need to happen over night. Take it step by step.
WHAT'S YOUR FAMILY'S FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND THE WEEKEND?
We are the weekend warriors. Because my husband and I work full-time jobs we usually like to take full advantage of the weekends. Between soccer games, tennis lessons, and mountain biking, we usually can pack a lot in a day. We loooooove to camp and try to take the boys almost every weekend in the summer for some mini camp trips. There is something about being outside that is so liberating and stress-free. It's a great bonding experience and also a perfect recharge for the new week.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND AN HOUR OF ALONE TIME OR A DATE-NIGHT WITH YOUR SPOUSE?
Alone time is mega-precious for me. I either love to just sit and veg, watch lame TV shows, read any business books, or, I'll say it, cruise through social media. That isn't a bad run. I also LOVE going out with my hubs one on one. He really is my best friend so any alone time with him is usually a good time :) We try to go out once a week. It has been amazing for us.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?
How much I freaking love it! Honestly, I didn't think I would like it. I was terrified after getting married, and having a kid was ten times more frightening! I loved my independence and active lifestyle and I didn't want this little dude to come in here and change all of that for me. I obviously had my first and I was completely overwhelmed with how much I loved him. My life didn't change a ton either. He would cruise with me everywhere: tennis, soccer, biking, etc. Nothing really changed, and instead I just had a rad little dude hanging with me the whole time. I loved it. So much better than I thought. I think I had major pre-pardom depression :)
WHAT HAS MOTHERHOOD TAUGHT YOU OR WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR CHILDREN?
Motherhood has taught me that I can love a person so much that it hurts. It has taught me that I know nothing and I have these sweet innocent boys counting on me to raise them. I have learned that they are resilient. I have learned through my kids that I have the most unconditional love I never thought possible.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED RECENTLY?
Life is short, so you better be enjoying it. You don't take things and money with you in the end—the only thing you have to show for the life you lived are the people and relationships you build.