A frustrating truth
Today a powerful column appeared on Fortune.com. It was written by Katharine Zaleski, a former journalistic powerhouse who held top roles at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post in her mid-20s. She is open and honest about how she viewed and treated women who were mothers during that time. Honestly recalling how she killed a potential partnership with an online editor because of the number of kid photos the lady had up in her office; also confessing her agreement to fire a woman “before she got pregnant”; sharing that she regularly scheduled meetings at 4:30pm, dismissing the fact that working mothers may need to be leaving to get their kids from daycare; and admitting to looking down on mothers who couldn’t join happy hour functions because of family commitments. Wow.
Today this same woman is a working mother – with a very different perspective. After having her daughter she resigned from her role in journalism and founded her own business, PowerToFly, a technology company geared at helping mothers find work they can do virtually from home. She readily admits that “mothers are the people you need on your team” and is proud to share that the editor she dissed because of the children photos is now the executive editor at PowerToFly.
Since the column first appeared earlier today the social media world lit up with comments and shares, most overwhelmingly positive toward Katharine for admitting her previous short-comings and furthering the conversation on this controversial topic.
Life as a working mother
What it means to be a working mother is hard to describe. Just because we are mothers does not mean we have lost our will, or ability, or drive to work hard. And just because we want to work does not mean we don’t care about our children. Every mother is different and what feels right in her gut is something that only she can determine. For me, I am proud to be a mother who works. That is what feels right to me. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without sacrifice or challenge. Sometimes it takes a village to coordinate client meetings, make sports practices and still get dinner on the table. But at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and I sit down with a glass of wine, my soul feels fulfilled in a way that it wouldn’t should kids and work not co-exist.
I am continually inspired by the group of working women at A.wordsmith, and I am proud of the model we have in place. A model that has brought out some of the most talented professionals I know, who also happen to be amazing moms. Thank you to Katharine Zaleski for your honestly and candor about being a working mother and for pushing open the door for women just a bit wider.