Being a mother is an important part of your “authentic self” — and it needs to come to work with you.

October 17, 2022

3 Min Read
Working mom

By Sarah Marsh


Sarah Marsh

Corporate culture often fosters the idea that we should keep our personal and professional lives separate.  Even the concept of maintaining a work/ life balance perpetuates the belief that you shouldn’t intermingle the two.  For many hard-working, intelligent women, that means checking your identity as a mother at the office door.

The past few years of hybrid work presented a unique opportunity for us moms to (finally) bring our authentic selves to work.  The walls came down and we welcomed our teams into our homes.  The lines between work and home life blurred as we struck a balance between teaching at the kitchen table and meeting deadlines. It brought humanity back to the workplace as we acknowledged that people need to bring their full selves to work.

After experiencing virtual and hybrid environments for the last few years, the need for developing real, honest and authentic connections at work is critical.  Here are a few other learnings that moms can embrace in the workplace:

Recognize the skills you bring.

Patience, empathy, problem solving, multitasking, and the ability to take on unexpected challenges are all products of the experience of motherhood that translate really well in the corporate world. Embrace the value that you bring to your role and your organization because of motherhood, not despite it.

Embrace the personal moments.

I remember in the not-too-distant past, my son knew he needed to be absolutely silent when I took a work call while he was in the car or room.  As we started to navigate a new world where we were working and learning from home, I had to quickly adapt as he started to pop into video calls to “meet” my team.  As I started to invite children and pets to team calls, volunteer walks and virtual charity events, I watched the dynamics change across my organization.  Embracing a crazy new life as a WFH mom/ leader/ teacher in front of the camera helped me to become a more empathetic and authentic leader when my team needed it the most. Despite spending over a year apart, my team grew closer than ever as we continued to connect on a more personal level.

Ditch the guilt.

The unspoken pressure to be readily available, easily accessible, and without conflicting family priorities can bring crippling guilt to working mothers.  Boundaries can be even harder to maintain in a WFH environment, so be intentional and deliberate about how you schedule your time and be firm with your priorities. Give yourself some grace and remember that while you can’t be in two places at once, you can be 100% present where you are.

Make time for personal check-ins.

Employees thrive when they bring their whole selves to work, so give them the opportunity to share what’s meaningful to them outside of the office. Intentionally set aside time for simple check-in calls, without any business on the agenda, to stay connected to colleagues and employees.  Now more than ever, we lack the casual conversations that happened previously between meetings or at the coffee station.  In a small group meeting, teams may start with ‘personal/ professional check-ins’ where each person shares something they are excited about or proud of personally and then work-related.  This is a great way to get the team connected before jumping into business.

To working moms everywhere: let’s stop masking our identities and start bringing our whole selves to work.  When we break down the boundaries and start to develop meaningful, authentic relationships, all employees, and especially women, thrive in the workplace. After all, it takes a professional village just as much as a personal village for working moms to succeed.


Working mom Sarah Marsh is director of partner relationships for enterprise cloud applications provider Workday. She is a founding member of the Channel Futures DE&I Advisory Board and was included on the inaugural DE&I 101 list.

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