I hope my fellow moms out there had a fabulous mother’s day this past weekend! As a mom of two girls in elementary and middle school, I know firsthand how tough this year has been to meet a working mom’s personal and professional expectations of herself. So here’s a toast to moms who have struggled through the year of zoom school and missed experiences, all while trying to keep up with the dynamic challenges of remote working and still having to earn a living.
Despite the struggles, I know we are the fortunate ones in so many ways! And I am incredibly grateful when reflecting upon how far we have come as Master the World in the last twelve months! So, in the context of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share the experience of launching Master the World with my kids in tow during the pandemic as a working mom in the all-consuming, start-up entrepreneurial mode! I also asked my friend, Rebecca Fineman, a fellow working mom with a 4-year-old daughter, to share some of her own experience. Rebecca is a Master Sommelier and the Managing Partner/Wine Director at Ungrafted, an industrial-chic wine bar & bottle shop in San Francisco. I hope this post will be both celebratory and inspirational, especially for the young moms (or moms-to-be) out there trying to figure out how to juggle motherhood with work!
Work & BabiesI asked Rebecca what she would like to share with young moms juggling with work and kids when the kids were babies/toddlers. Here are her two super insightful tips:
“Tip 1. Speak up for yourself. I had trouble working restaurant hours – being away from my child for 12-hour blocks of time and keeping up my milk supply. I occasionally mentioned that I wished I had a second opportunity to break and pump, but I didn’t want to be seen as a difficult employee, so I mostly kept it to myself. I wish, looking back, that I had gone to management with my problem and a solution. Instead, I left a job I liked and got a different position with shorter hours. In effect, I ran away from the problem. Not only did I underestimate my needs, but I also underestimated their response. They may have been flexible, which would have allowed me to stay.
Tip 2: Take your baby/toddler everywhere with you. There were so many babysitters that the first year, very few of whom came repeatedly. As a result, I was constantly meeting new sitters and then leaving my child with a stranger. All of it was stressful. So after a while, I refused to get a sitter when I didn’t absolutely need one, which meant if there was a trade tasting, lunch, or dinner, I brought my child with me. Perhaps it raised some eyebrows, but I didn’t care. She was well behaved, and I could enjoy myself a whole lot more when I wasn’t worried about how much it cost me to be away (not to mention the stress of being away from her.).”
Master the World & My GirlsFor me, Rebecca’s second tip is still so relevant with my school-aged girls today! I think including my girls in the “family business” that is Master the World is akin to Rebecca’s “Take your baby/toddler everywhere with you!” Both kids have experienced this start-up’s development from front row seats, from giving their opinions on box designs to stepping on the foot pedal of our automatic labeling machines. Having my girls along for the ride would not be possible, of course, without our brilliant Master the World crew. We have a fantastic production team who has endured my kids’ bickering as they argued over who got to do what at the winery or an understanding remote team with whom I can be honest about when I have to step away to do something for my kids.
This mother’s day is just over a year since we first went back to the winery after the initial weeks of the stay-at-home order. I am thankful to have shared my entrepreneurial experience this year with the kids! They now know how hard (and physical) it is to get product shipping on time, how exciting it is to have boxes piled up for pick-up, and how awesome it is to enjoy some Wicked Slushies on the Russian River after a hard day’s work.
Many thanks to Rebecca for her excellent advice, and cheers to all celebrating motherhood out there!