A Tribute to Moms in Business
In honor of Mother's Day, we're celebrating moms in business. Because whether she's reading a bedtime story or a report on her BlackBerry, mom is definitely a VIP.
First up, Ruth Jimenez-Benning, MBA '09, talks about what it was like entering the Texas Executive MBA program while four-months pregnant, fretting about her son being born in the middle of a final, and balancing a fulltime job, school and motherhood.
5 Keys to Succeed as a Working Mom
By Janice Little, BBA '86 and MBA '92
My personal belief is that you don’t have to lose yourself to anything—work, life or family. My mother worked and raised five children—surely I could.
After getting married, managing my life wasn’t difficult because the new challenges—such as feeding and walking our dog, Spike—were easy to handle. But when I became a mother, my life changed dramatically. All at once additional stress elements entered into my life, and it was double duty. I gave birth to micro-preemie, twin boys 16 weeks early. For the first time, managing my life as a wife and new mother, my work and the balance between them became a very real challenge.
I knew I wanted to be a “power broker” mom with a career. After all, I didn’t get my MBA to stay home. More important, I wanted my boys to see success in action.
My solution was to customize my approach to work-life balance and design my work and home life into a form that would work well for us.
First, we hired help. Whatever could be done by someone else gave us time to devote to our children. We hired a maid and pool service and bought a home warranty to handle time-consuming repairs.
Next, we got organized. I put all the key school and extracurricular activities and doctor appointments on my work calendar. I literally send an invite from my work calendar to home so that it is on both PDAs. I send an invite to my husband so he knows as well.
I also simplified our daily routine. I work with two other moms to rotate after-school pick-up of the kids. I cook every other night, and we eat leftovers on nights in between—easy steps that give us more hours together as a family each week.
My husband is my partner. He asked what I needed to make everything work and helped bring it to fruition. He always valued his time and taught me how to value mine.
When things get out of balance, I pause. I make difficult decisions and I don’t regret. I move forward. I have chosen to make my work-life balance a personal decision every day. This decision gives me confidence when I take on new work assignments or extracurricular activities in which my now-11-year-old boys participate.
Not only is my family important to me, but I am important to me. I never wanted to lose myself while becoming a wife, mother and career woman, and I haven’t. You can make the same personal decision.
Janice Little, BBA ’86 and MBA ’92, is a senior human relations manager in corporate responsibility at Dell Inc. She is a mentor and coach to women at Dell and led the woman’s initiative for the African-American affinity group, focusing on work-life balance. She has twin boys and is married to former UT quarterback Donnie Little. This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Texas magazine.
Mommy, What's a Business Plan?
Finally, Austin Sugarworks founder Elayne Crain talks about the joy of seeing her young son respond to her new career as an an entrepreneur, maybe even starting a rival company. From the Texas Enterprise UPstarts series, telling the stories of start-ups.
Does your mom deserve a tribute? Tell us about her in the comments.