Growing careers while raising babies is as challenging as it is beautiful. Every working mom has a unique story to tell. Balancing work, life, and everything in between is a little easier with the power of connection. My dream at Freshly Brewed Mama is to connect with working moms in all phases of their journey to embrace this season, and support the incredible work that moms do every day. It is a privilege to hear your story and share it with this community with a working mom interview.
This week I was able to connect with one of my favorite bloggers in the working mom space! On top of her role as momma, Sierra is a high school counselor and provides incredible content for working moms with her blog, Focus Momma Focus. She faces a lot of similar challenges that I face in my working motherhood journey and I love her perspective as the breadwinner for her family. One of my favorite aspects of her story is that she is incredibly relatable and her insight is always practical and relevant. Check out her advice and experience as a working mom, and reach out to her connect with a fellow working mom!
Please tell us about yourself!
Sure! My name is Sierra, and I am a full-time working mom to a 6 and 3-year-old. I am an ice coffee drinker, avid collector of bright color spiral notebooks, and a list-maker by nature! I absolutely love writing and most recently, ventured into blogging as a creative outlook and a way to connect with other working mommas!
What do you do for work, and what do you enjoy about your job?
I am a high school counselor in the public school district. What I love about my job is being able to connect with young people. I love learning about their struggles, their story, and being a positive agent of change in their lives. It’s a really fulfilling role.
Does your work look differently after entering motherhood, and what changes did you make to your career if any?
Oh, for sure! I think after having my first child, work-family balance became a bit more challenging. I was helping to build school culture at a brand new school and that was very important to me. When I first started my career as a school counselor, I could easily attend overnight trips and college tours with the juniors, stay late for Student Council, or volunteer for weekend events without an issue. Once I became a mother, I had to slow down.
I wasn’t able to do many after work events because it meant less time with my new baby. I had to reserve after work functions for truly important events and most importantly, I had to work through a lot of guilt because I couldn’t do the same level of work I was used to doing.
When I had my second child 2.5 years later, things really took a drastic change because not only did I continue working full-time, but my husband and I jumped into new roles. Me as the family breadwinner and him as the stay-at-home dad. I worried a lot about not being “good enough.” I had a lot of self-pressure to be successful and make things work because I was the sole income earner in our family.
What parts of working motherhood do you love, and what parts are most challenging?
I love having an identity outside of being a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love my babies and having a family, but I also love being able to work, being part of a team, and working within the field of education. I think the most challenging part is not always having enough energy for my family once I get home.
There are so many days when I feel emotionally drained from making decisions all day at work, that I feel like my family gets the worst parts of me. I am tired, cranky, and don’t have as much energy as they do. That’s really hard sometimes and takes a lot of effort and awareness to work at it. To keep my energy going and have some balance.
What is your best piece of advice for other working moms who may be struggling with working motherhood?
I would have to say being intentional with not only your time, but your energy too. Think about how much time and energy you are giving to things in general and where you can make a meaningful change. It’s not always about the time, but also about how much energy we give to thoughts, people, even things. Compulsive thoughts, guilt, all of it. Also, you don’t have to always be everything to everybody. As working moms, we are so used to just going and doing all day long that sometimes we need to be nudged to just slow down and stop.
With all the things we balance as moms, where does mom guilt most often show up for you and how do you cope?
Definitely with my kids and the fact that my husband is the primary caregiver. I had a lot of guilt about missing them in the morning since I am gone before they get up and I don’t see them until around 6 in the evening. Things like not being there in the morning to do my daughter’s hair in a style that only I know how to do, missing her get on the bus for school and even sometimes missing school recitals.
I have to choose what makes the most sense and it’s not realistic for me to always be there for things. Even though I know my husband is holding down the fort, it still stings a bit. I commute up to 2 hours a day (going/coming) for work so some days the day goes fast, while other days it drags and feels like I am never going to get home to them.
I also had a lot of guilt when I returned to work after maternity leave. My son was just shy of 2.5 months and my husband was caring for him and my daughter, who was 2 at the time. There were lots of times when I felt like I should be the one at home. Mom guilt can really trip you up if you don’t learn how to turn it off.
What is one resource or success strategy that you could not be successful without?
I am a digital planner. I use Google Calendar and Google Keep, and sync everything! It helps me keep everything important all in one place and I can access it all from my phone. At home, I use a simple white board for making my weekly grocery shopping list and I stick to a rotation of quick and simple meals that include plenty of leftovers. We don’t get fancy, as simple is better!
What makes you feel most fulfilled in motherhood at this point in your journey?
When my kids are excited about things like our burger night Fridays which we started during the pandemic when we were spending a lot of time at home. When they get excited about picking a book to read at night or I hear them reciting the routine we do each night, I feel good. I don’t have time to give to a lot of things, and our bedtime routine is hard to do. Most days it’s chaotic, but when I see them getting excited about the 1-2 things I have committed to, I think to myself, “it’s working, I am doing it.” I can only hope that I am giving them something that they will remember for years to come.
How do you make time to take care of yourself and what does that look like for you?
I have struggled with this A LOT. In fact, self-care was always a term I was uncomfortable with. Maybe because self-care always felt like something unachievable and pricey to me. I envisioned a spa day or getting your hair done at a nice salon. But there are plenty of ways you can take care of yourself without it costing money. My hour bus ride in to work is what self-care looks like for me. I use that time to write, listen to podcasts, and work on myself. A nice hot shower without interruptions puts my mind at ease and is my version of self-care. I like to get up before the house does to read and sometimes just sit in complete silence, even if only for a few minutes.
Self-care is also most recently for me, taking better care of my health. Not neglecting annual check-ups, which I have done for years. Making an effort to do 1 thing for myself every morning, whether it’s drinking water or washing my face with a nice facial cleanser. I try to do something for myself before I do for everyone else.
How can people connect with you and support you in your work?
You can find out more about Sierra and connect with her work here:
I am also on Pinterest at: pinterest.com/focusmommafocus
If you want to connect for your own working mom story, email me here.
Until next time friend! Enjoy your brew and may your days be filled with all the beautiful things in this life.
All the best,