Interview with Jane – Being a Working Mother

posted November 11th, 2014 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Jane whether she had any regrets about being a working mother, what it was like for her and how she dealt with the challenges and conflicts particular to working mothers


She says: “No I don’t have any regrets.  My children are very well-adjusted. They are 9 and 13.  Actually, I have four children because I have two step-children as well, so I have a 9 year-old, two 13 year-olds, and a 17 year-old.  Two of them are not living with me but it still means juggling and trying to prioritize.  You need to make sure that you get involved. I’m home every night for dinner with them; I don’t miss dinners.  When I have to travel occasionally to give speeches and that sort of thing, my children are perfectly fine staying with their dad. Their dad is a good person.


“It’s funny, I’m divorced from my children’s father and we get along very well and he and I continue to have a very equal partnership. You can do that even through a divorce but you have to be friends and put your children’s needs above your own personal feelings and that sort of thing. That’s why you have to make sure you choose wisely at the front end. When anybody decides that they’re going to have children, it’s incredibly important to make sure that you have children with somebody who is a partner, somebody who’s not going to look at helping rear the children as a baby-sitting responsibility.  It has to be somebody who truly wants to have children too because otherwise you are going to be bearing more of the burden. My children’s father is definitely somebody who really wanted to have children and he’s very much a partner and is 50 percent in everything having to do with the kids.  That’s really important.  When they have sports, I make sure that I’m at all of the events and sometimes that means being at an ice-hockey game at 6.00 a.m. which is really hard but it’s a priority of mine and so I rack and stack my priorities just like you would do with anything else.


“The other regret I have is that because I did go the route of being a working mother as opposed to being a stay at home mother is that I can’t do things that are right after school. Many of my children’s peers get to go to piano lessons or they get to go to ballet or gymnastics, those types of things, where you have to be there at 4.30 p.m.  If you have a job in the city, short of having a helicopter to get you home, there’s no way you can ever be home that early.  That would be the only regret I have but my children, on balance, have had a lot of other opportunities as a result of me working in a powerful position.  They know more about physics and US history than I would say anybody their age and that’s something that has been a benefit to them from my working where I do. It’s all about trade-offs. Women nowadays get to make that choice, it’s not that the choices are being made for us by somebody else and so we just have to weigh out our pros and cons and go into making the choice of either being a working mother or a stay at home mother with open eyes.”


I asked Jane whether anyone at work had a conversation with her about getting pregnant or motherhood or anything before or after she got pregnant.


Jane says: “Well, it’s funny, so when I did get pregnant with my first child I’d just been assigned to a major project and my male boss…it’s interesting in that as I’ve gone along through my career I’ve taken away a lesson learned from every boss I’ve interacted with, whether it’s good or bad. The goods ones are great and you think, I’m going to emulate that and the bad ones you think, I will never do that, ever.  Lessons from the bad bosses are sometimes just as important.  So unfortunately, the boss that I had when I got pregnant with my daughter was less than enthusiastic and he said why did you go and do that.”


What Strikes Me?

Get involved in your kids lives


Having kids means juggling and prioritizing


It’s important to choose your partner carefully, when you decide to have kids


Women today get to make the choice of being a stay at home or working mother


You can learn from good bosses and bad bosses


What Strikes You?

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