This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers including this story about a marketing coordinator and mother of one. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!
I keep trying to remember the exact moment that I met Kate, but it is a little fuzzy. I met her nearly three years ago at one blogger event or another. She is quiet, kind and genuine. I was excited to get to hear her talk about her engagement, wedding and then watch along via social media and occasional meet-ups as she became a mother. She is a true delight to know and I’m so excited to share her story today.
Meet Kate, a working mom
Kate Laubernds and her husband Will have one daughter, Colette, who is 20 months old.
“[She is] as strong willed, independent and precocious as one toddler could be— I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Kate.
Kate had Colette just two weeks after she turned thirty years old. Before, during and after her pregnancy Kate worked as the Media and Communications Specialist for an Oregon/Washington based winery. She just recently moved jobs.
Right around the same time that I was asking for volunteers for this project Kate applied for, interviewed and was selected for her current job as a Marketing Coordinator for Powell’s Books. She moved into her new career after seven years in the wine industry.
“My studies were in Creative Writing and Journalism so I am happy to be returning to a field that encompasses my love of the written word,” said Kate of her new career.
In her role at Powell’s Books she creates marketing campaigns, assists with the implementation of various promotions and is the project manager for Indiespensable. (In case you didn’t know… Indiespensable is a subscription service which releases every six to eight weeks and includes a signed book packaged in a custom slip-case that was designed in-house, gifts and a booklet with an exclusive interview with the author. So cool!) Due to the nature of her job she spends a considerable amount of her time outside of work reading advanced copy, new and classic books.
In addition to her work at Powell’s Books Kate has a freelance marketing consulting business where she has limited her client base so that she can serve it well. Digital Age Daughters currently represents Weaver’s Tale
, a 501c3 which helps seniors build community gardens. They are in the planning phases of bringing accessible gardening spaces to community and faith centers. In addition to offering community gardens they offer cooking classes and workshops on healthy eating, gardening, etc.
On top of all of that— and that is A LOT— Kate runs a lifestyle blog called Fork and Vine, which features food and cocktail recipes, wine education and the adventures of her and her family.
“While this is probably the most fulfilling work that I do because it is fully about me putting myself out there, it as also the most neglected. I blog when I can and have decided to no longer apologize for the lapse in posts because my blog is about me sharing my interests with others not about how popular it is. I hope my readers understand the work that goes into a post as a full-time working mom is a real labor of love. There are a lot of things on my plate and I don’t have the time to post as frequently as I like, but when I do I am so proud of my work and the time I put aside to make it happen,” said Kate.
Kate doesn’t think that either her full time job or her freelance job are her dream jobs even though she enjoys her career and feels very fulfillled by the work she does.
“I honestly don’t know what my dream job is; it has evolved with each changing season of my life.”
Though she may not have the dream job nailed down in her mind yet she knows that likely, wine and writing will go hand in hand in her future.
A typical work day in the life of a Marketing Coordinator and Mother of One
Kate and her husband both work and have crafted their schedules so that they may work together in getting their daughter to and from care. Her husband Will leaves for work quite early in the morning so that he is able to pick her up from daycare so Kate has morning routines to take care of for both herself and her daughter. She takes Colette to daycare at 8:30 in the morning.
“Right now it is a challenge to get out the door on time because she is potty training so we spend much of our morning in the bathroom. I will be so relieved when this phase is past us…as for now we spend LOTS of time talking about the potty, going potty and cleaning up from going potty. It is really exhausting,” explained Kate.
Kate has a flex schedule with her work but generally starts at nine in the morning. During lunch she catches up on reading or fits in some of her freelance work. Occasionally she gets in a walk.
Will picks up Colette from daycare four of five days and Kate works past 5 PM most days. Some days they go to the park as a family while others Kate takes in some yoga or meets up with friends to get in some personal care time. When the family has dinner together Kate and Will tend to split the cooking duties.
Colette goes down for bed around 7:30 PM which affords Will and Kate time together before going to bed.
“My husband also has a small business in addition to working full-time so we often both spend our time working in the evening,” said Kate.
When free from work the couple usually watches a show together before Kate retires to bed with her latest book.
When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…
“I hope that my child looks back on my life as I look back on my mother‘s. My mother is and was always striving to enrich her life through schooling, work and personally. She achieved her bachelor degree in my first year of birth (and with a toddler in tow!) and continued later with her education, gaining her masters when I was in middle school,” said Kate.
She continued, “I am so proud of her and when I think about how can I ever take something else on, I ask myself: What would Mom do? Mom takes on any challenge and rolls with it. I hope that my daughter says the same about me and holds the same esteem and boastfulness I have about my own mother.”
Maternity Leave, Childcare & Mom Guilt… oh MY!
I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!
When did you go back to work after having your children?
I returned to my career in the wine industry after 3 months of maternity leave. Colette was not the easiest infant. I was lucky to have the birth I wanted. I’m not sure if lucky is the right word because a lot of planning and hard work went into me having a natural birth, but I feel blessed that nothing happened to derail my birth plan. However smooth the birth was, being a parent was anything but smooth. Colette had latch issues so breast feeding was a major challenge and did not actually resolve itself till she was 5 months old! Although, I’m going to toot my own horn for sticking out the issues that long. Additionally, my husband had career changes and challenges during the first 3 months of Colette’s life. I had minor postpartum depression and on top of everything she was colicky. Because of all these things I was very excited and desperate to return to work, but when it became a reality I was very sad to be apart from Colette.
I honestly think that how our nation treats working mothers and the lack of paid maternity leave offered is a travesty and a grave disservice to our moral fabric. My company did not offer paid maternity leave, however I was given a bonus when I went on leave, which I am very grateful for. However, it was not enough money to help us beyond 3 months and because FMLA is only offered for 3 months I risked losing my job if I did not return when I did. I wish that I had more time with my daughter before returning to work. She turned a corner at about 4 months and was a lot more engaging happy, sleeping through the night. I wanted to experience more of this before returning to work and I think mothers should be able to take more time to heal from the emotional scars and difficulties that birth, postpartum depression and motherhood bring.
What type of childcare solutions do you use in order to work?
Colette goes to a Montessori daycare full-time from 8:30-5:15. While we love the care, education and stimulation she gets at her daycare, it is not the most conducive schedule for working parents. Her daycare is closed over 40 weekdays out of the year. I understand their reasons most of the time, but damn it’s hard!
Daycare accounts for roughly 25% of our combined take-home pay. We took a lot of time considering daycares and our certainly is not the most affordable option, however I have a hard time imagining her somewhere else. I see her becoming more curious and independent each day and she is a sweet and caring friend. I think we do a great job as parents, but I attribute a lot of her growth and development to daycare as well.
What challenges do you have as a working mother?
Where do I even begin?! Just kidding…or half kidding. I feel pretty lucky to have a solid partner in parenting and we try to do our best to give each other the personal time that we need for exercise, adult time or whatever it is we need to be ourselves. It makes being a working parent much easier to know that you’ve taken care of yourself. With that said, the most difficult challenge we face is finding time and help for date night. Taking care of ourselves is important and we do a pretty good job of that, but taking care of your partnership and intimacy is essential for a healthy marriage. It is such a production to find a babysitter that most often we just don’t bother. We only reach out to family or a few other sources on occasion and because of that the date ends up being a production in itself. We love our little lady something fierce and relish the adventures and outings we share as a family, but I wish my husband and I had more outings that we share where we get to be husband and wife first before parents.
What joys do you have as a working mother?
I most love the feeling of accomplishment. At the end of the day when I am totally exhausted and think about the next day or the rest of the week and am totally stressed I like to think about just the one day I have completed; all the tasks at work, feeding my family, taking care of myself and I just pat myself on the back. It’s hard, but not that hard. I am lucky to have a great partner, a good job, a secure home and family nearby if things get too difficult. Because of all these securities I am able to celebrate each day and that of being mother, wife and self. I am excited about the work that I put out there and knowing that I did all of it while raising a child is icing on the cake.
How do you fulfill the other needs in your life (going back to school, working on a dream business, seeing friends, being creative, etc.) while working and being a mom?
It is all daunting, but I like to take things one step at a time. After a major career change I’m not open to taking anything new on at the moment, but I know I will have the itch soon to better myself. Last year I took a course that really improved my skill set in the marketing field.
If there is something that comes up with either my husband and I that we have to do we work together to come up with a schedule that fits for our family. Finding extra time for these endeavors either for myself or my partner requires sacrifice, but if we work together it can be a lot smoother and I think we both understand that in the long run our lives are made better for it. I honestly don’t know if I would be able to have time to take care of myself if my partner and I didn’t work so well together to make it a priority.
How do you prioritize your family and children as a working mom?
Motherhood always comes first. Being a good partner second and my personal and career enrichment third, but somedays these priorities are flipped. However, if I on a given day I am putting my needs that above my daughter and husband they benefit in the long run from a healthy and prepared woman. Understanding that I need to take care of myself before anyone else somedays makes my life more balanced. I feel recharged and ready to take on whatever the day throws at me like a couple weeks ago when my daughter had the stomach bug and I spent most of the night cleaning and taking care of her and then waking up to continue on. Some days you just want to be a single parentless person again and hide in bed, but you can’t. There is always someone there that needs you and demands your undivided attention. On those days you just have to rally.
Since Colette was born my husband and I made family adventures a priority. We started going on weekend hikes, which evolved into weekend camping adventures. This is our happy place. Collectively, it is number our one priority to adventure together and we try to make it work at least, if not more, one weekend a month. When I am able to put everything else aside I hope that my family sees that our family unit is my number one priority.
Connect with Kate
Kate is a blogger in addition to her full time work and motherhood. Check out her blog Fork & Vine or connect with her via social media! Find her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Thank you! A huge thank you to Kate for sharing her story as a working mom and participating in this series. Does her story resonate with you? Share in the comments below or on social media with #wellcraftedworkingmoms !
Check out Momma Bear Magazine for more articles on motherhood and to check out the great momma swag!