Working Moms: Writer & Mother of Two

Working Moms: Writer & Mother of Two

Meet Catherine, a working mom of two girls. She along with 13 other women share stories from working in motherhood. This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. 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 feel bad for saying this, but I don’t remember WHEN I met Catherine. I feel as if Catherine is a kindred spirit. I know that we must have met at some blogging event or other, but ever since I met her she has felt like an old friend to me. She is just a kind, giving spirit. She puts her girls first in everything I’ve seen her do, but she also gives of herself to the other people in her life.

I also loved that when I told everyone to wear what they would typically wear for work she totally rocked her yoga pants! I invited nursing babies to the photoshoot so that mommas wouldn’t need to worry about feedings so you’ll see Catherine’s youngest daughter in some of the photos.

Catherine is another example of a mother who is making her job work for her and her family by being a freelance writer. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

 Meet Catherine, a working mom - A Well Crafted Party

Meet Catherine, a working mom

Catherine Ryan Gregory is a writer, a story-teller if you will. (You will see it in this interview, she weaves such beautiful words together!) Catherine is married to Eric who teaches special education. She is the mother of two little girls (we’ll call them by their nicknames)— Peeper is 2 1/2 and Kiwi is eight months old.

Catherine finished grad school and led a study/intern abroad program for journalism students in Accra, Ghana. After getting the antimalarials out of her system she got pregnant with her oldest girl. During her pregnancy she worked in communications for a nonprofit called College Possible Portland, a branch of an organization that helps disadvantaged high schoolers get into and succeed in college. After having her first child she decided not to return to her job but instead went back to freelancing as a writer, a job she did for years before grad school.

Being able to write from home allowed Catherine to be flexible and care for her baby and toddler. She was also able to write about things that were relevant to her life, including writing for Fit Pregnancy until it closed.

 I was able to write from home (and the cafe at Whole Foods, ha!), which allowed me to be flexible while still caring for a baby and then a toddler. Also, I was able to write about things relevant to my life: I wrote a ton for Fit Pregnancy until it closed (RIP), and my experience as a new mom helped me identify with readers and give them the info they needed!

 

Meet Catherine, a full-time writer and mother of two- A Well Crafted Party

 

Catherine works full-time as a freelance writer and storyteller.

“As most people who freelance and work for themselves, this means I wear a lot of hats and have a lot of different gigs going on at the same time!” she said.

Catherine’s main source of income is currently a retainer with a Fortune 100 tech company where she writes and edits stories for their philanthropies section and produces photo shoots for the web.

She explains the job with relish, “In a nutshell: I write about nonprofits and young people who benefit from trainings, donations, services and support from the company. It means I get to talk to and tell the stories of teenagers who are starting robotics clubs in rural libraries, nonprofit leaders who are using the cloud to help address the AIDS crisis in Africa, and volunteers who teach computer science to immigrant high schoolers. It’s very cool. I also art direct photo shoots, which means I hang out for a day with a photographer at a nonprofit or in a classroom and capture the awesome things that happen!”

Catherine also does freelance magazine writing where she writes mostly service pieces for women. (Check out her LinkedIn page for a list of previous publications.)

Meet Catherine, a working mom - A Well Crafted Party , photography by www.mommabearmag.com

Why does Catherine work?

“First off, I love to write. I enjoy sleuthing out a story, interviewing experts, being surprised or moved or inspired by what stories people tell me, and crafting a story that will affect readers. I am insanely fortunate to have my job and do what I love – and get paid for it,” she said. 

She also explains that while money is part of why she works it is not the primary reason. She wants her girls to see her enjoy something that is her own.

“I want them to witness the excitement, passion, even frustration it sparks in me,” she said.

Why would she want them to see her frustration?  

She explains, “Because no relationship is perfect, including the one with your work. Seeing that I can be angry or aggravated by work but push through it and stick with it is a great example of how life works.”

Catherine believes that people are complex and that they are not defined by one role or title.

“So I am not “just” a mother or wife or master of the last-minute, empty-fridge dinner. I am also a professional whom people rely on,” she said. 

Working for Catherine has also been a sanity-saving constant in her life especially after transitioning to a family of four. She has had a difficult time adjusting to having two kids.

Catherine explains the adjustment period”…the first six months were especially hard. When I couldn’t get my baby to sleep, when my nipples were bleeding, when I yelled at my toddler for something minor, when my house was an absolute disaster, I still had to work—and it made me feel so. damn. good. After all, it was something I was good at. When it felt like I was failing at everything else, I still wrote killer copy.”

Something Catherine’s Proud of in Work and Motherhood:

Just a few months after her second child was born a web site that she helped to redesign, edit and write stories for went live.

“Not only did my manager love my stories, she told me that focus groups wanted them to be more prominent on the web site. Then parts of the stories were presented at Davos, the World Economic Forum meeting,” she said.

A typical work day in the life of a full-time writer that is a mother to two

 

“The only thing that’s typical is that it’s not typical!”

As a freelance writer Catherine’s work is fairly flexible. Some days she takes her oldest to gymnastic or her youngest to moms’ group.

“I am that person who checks her phone at library story time or preschool. Being semi-connected to work allows me to join these activities and know I’m not missing something time-sensitive. Most of the time, I don’t have to do any work at these activities,” she said. 

Throughout the day Catherine does a mix of interviewing, writing, editing and corresponding. She is always writing more than one project at a time so the mix depends on where she is at on certain projects.

Since she is working from home, and because she dislikes pumping and the baby doesn’t like the bottle much, she takes her “breaks” to nurse her youngest. She also will take a break to read a book with her oldest or eat lunch with the family.

“I do have to work downstairs in my office so I can focus; otherwise Peeper would be constantly asking to type on my computer (she always starts her documents the same way: QWERTY !)” she explained.

The flexibility that her job affords during the day means that she will work at night and on the weekends as well. 

 

Meet Catherine, a working mom - A Well Crafted Party , photography by www.mommabearmag.com

When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…

 

“My job is abstract. I mostly sit at a desk and tap black squares on a metal rectangle. I talk to people sometimes, but almost always on the phone or video,” Catherine said as she explained why her girls wouldn’t understand her job for some time.  Unless she doesn’t have childcare for the day then she is working in her office and her girls don’t see her work. 

“But I hope they remember my telling them and others about the stories I hear and write about. I hope they remember the way my eyes light up, how I gesture and get animated, how I put down my fork over dinner and tell people about something that demands my full attention,” she said. 

Catherine also hopes that her working will help her daughters become more independent and creative.

“When I grew up, both my parents worked. Having a lot of free time on our own made me and my siblings invent fun for ourselves. We spent hours imagining ourselves as fairies or orphans or alligator wrestlers. We dedicated weeks to turning our play room into a haunted house. We made up songs and ran around outside and skinned our knees and broke windows (though not too often, thankfully),” Catherine shares. 

“I want my girls to have a similar childhood – one that’s not micromanaged by me.”

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!

 

Continue Reading…

Working Moms: Office Manager & Mother of One

Working Moms: Office Manager & Mother of One

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. 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 met Jenny Owens several years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We typically saw each other about once or twice a year at party or two… until this past year when our mutual friend found out that both of his friends named Jenni were pregnant and due within a couple of weeks of each other. I quickly messaged Jenny and very much valued her friendship though Facebook messenger over the course of our respective pregnancy and infancy weeks. Her little man is adorable and sure looks cute with my little guy. Jenny is funny, smart, kind and—possibly my favorite thing about her— knows how to use a sarcasm well. I’m excited to introduce you to Jenny O!

Meet Jenny, a working mom

Jenny and her husband Nathan have been friends for over twenty years and have been married for seven of those years. She gave birth to their son approximately five months ago and it was not an easy road to get to where they are today.

“It took five years of trying, two miscarriages, and deciding we were done trying; and then I conceived unexpectedly.  At the time we joked that it was either going to be ‘three strikes you’re out’ or ‘third time’s the charm’!” said Jenny. The third time ended up being a charmer for sure.

Jenny has worked for a a branch of Edward Jones, a brokerage firm, for the past eight hers. At the time of her pregnancy she was working full-time as an office manager— Senior Branch Office Manager. She worked right up until labor—literally!

“I didn’t think it was real labor, so I made it a point to work until market close (1 PM PST) before I had my husband pick me up so I could soak in a bath for pain-management. Five hours later I had my son in my arms!” she explained. (Check out her birth story here!)

 

Meet Jenny O, a working mom! Read her story at A Well Crafted Party.

 

Why work?

Jenny elaborated on why she works which I hadn’t asked any of the women in the interviews, but now I wish I had! Some women have to work to make ends meet. Some women need to work to feel fulfilled. Some women feel that they need to work, but don’t feel they are in the right job. It takes all kinds, right? Jenny works for a number of reasons including feeling that it is just in her personality. But, beyond that, she has a very personal reason as to why she works.

“I work for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because I am the personality type that needs to work.  My husband always says that he’d retire yesterday, if he could, whereas I’m pretty sure I’ll have at least part-time work for the rest of my life,” Jenny explained.

She continued,  “Also, my dad died when I was barely a teenager, so I’ve seen that a person’s Happily Ever After can take a thoroughly unexpected nosedive, and it’s always been important to me to be able to take care of myself by myself, Just In Case.  Having my own income is a large piece of that, and even more essential now that, should the worst happen, I’d also have a small child to care for.”

Jenny has chosen to work her particular job because she is good at it and that is satisfying. She genuinely loves helping people with their finances.

“And honestly?  I love money.  Rather, I love what money allows us to do- travel is very important to us as a family, and the extra money from my income (since we try to ‘live’ on my husband’s alone) makes it easier to go to some of the far-flung places on our list” she said.

 

Stories on working in motherhood  - A Well Crafted Party

A typical work day in the life of an office manager that is a mother to one

While she doesn’t feel quite like there is a typical for her and her family yet Jenny shared a bit of what her day may look like on a work day. She gets up just shy of 6:30 in the morning to do the wake-up routine of feeding and dressing her son. She goes downstairs and does her morning yoga routine with her son watching from his swing. She’ll then make breakfast for herself and sit on the floor as her son is working on his tummy time while she eats. He goes with her as she gets dressed for the day, but around 7:45 AM she leaves for work and her husband then takes over primary care and getting their son to care for the day.

Jenny gets to work around eight in the morning where she has half an hour of quiet time to make herself tea and review emails before the office opens for business.

She notes, “I treasure that quiet time way more than I used to!”

Throughout the day she takes two pumping breaks and one short break for a walk. She says she is fortunate to have a large break room to herself that she is able to secure for privacy while pumping. Her walk in the afternoon helps her clear her head and stay focused on her work. In addition to the breaks she sets her alarm to go off every thirty minutes to remind herself to get up and stretch.

 

Going back to work after maternity leave and more stories from working moms - A Well Crafted Party

She leaves work around 4:30 and heads home to greet her family and then immediately goes upstairs and changes into her “civilian clothes.”

Jenny explained,” That’s a tip my mom passed on to me, as a way to really mark the boundary between “Working Woman” and “Mommy”, and I find it very effective from a mental standpoint.  Not to mention a laundry standpoint!  I don’t care if my son blurps all over my civvies, but it’s such a pain when he manages to get my office wear, because sometimes those stains just won’t budge.”

Her husband and she trade off food-prep duties, but lately it has been him taking point on that because she is in charge of the bedtime routine. The bedtime routine stats around 6:30 in the evening and he is typically asleep by 7:00 PM. After he is asleep Jenny will head downstairs to write or possibly watch a little tv with her husband. She starts getting herself ready for bed around 8:00 PM and tries to be asleep no later than ten in the evening.

 

When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…

 

“I really, really hope my son will understand that I work not because I didn’t like being around him- I actually like it quite a bit, certainly way more than I thought I would- but because it’s what’s right for me.  The classic, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ bit” said Jenny.

She hopes that her example will show him that he can live a life that he wants—even if it’s hard— as long as he is willing to work for it.

She continued, “And I hope he internalizes the lesson that you should not make anyone but yourself the center of your Universe: it’s an unfair amount of pressure to expect someone else to give your life meaning and worth.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t devote any (or even a lot!) of your time and energy to someone you love, just that you shouldn’t let them take more than is healthy for you to give.”

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!

 

Continue Reading…

Working Moms: Marketing Coordinator & Mother of One

Working Moms: Marketing Coordinator & Mother of One

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.

 

 

Family Photo of Kate a Working Mom - A Well Crafted Party

 

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.

 

 

Working Mom: Marketing Coordinator and Mother of One photo by www.mammabearmag.com and interview featured on www.awellcraftedparty.com

 

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.

 

Working Mom: Marketing Coordinator and Mother of One photo by www.mammabearmag.com and interview featured on www.awellcraftedparty.com

 

 

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.

 

 

Working Mom: Marketing Coordinator and Mother of One photo by www.mammabearmag.com and interview featured on www.awellcraftedparty.com

 

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!

Continue Reading…

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