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By: Rebecca Hollett, Marketing and Communications Manager, IOG
The second Sunday in May is a special day in Canada; it is a day to celebrate the mothers in our lives. We gather at our favourite brunch spot, select the perfect flowers (yellow roses for my mom) and do that extra favour to say “Thank you!” for everything that our mothers do for us. I’m feeling very thankful right now as I remember the time my mom sat in the emergency room with me for hours because I accidentally swallowed a penny after throwing it in the air and trying to catch it in my mouth (“Sorry, Mom!”).
Pew Research Centre reports that the majority of women with a young child are in the labor force, and more mothers are serving as their family’s sole or primary “breadwinner.” Statistics Canada adds that in the second half of the 20th century the labour force participation rate for women grew steadily, rising from about 24% in 1953 to 76% in 1990.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, I asked a handful of moms who are public servants to share their success stories. These stories remind us that it’s not a question of “Can I be a mom and continue to work?” but rather of “I’m a great mom, I’m a great leader, and I’m amazing at my job.” I find these stories inspiring as I near the time in my life where I might become a mother myself.
Here are a few of those stories to celebrate:
“I began my career as a young single mom, entering the public service in a junior entry role. I succeeded to become a member of the executive in my 30’s and a Deputy Minister in my late 40’s.”
“My pride in my career is really around the variety of roles in multiple departments in which I have worked, and the people that I have had the great pleasure to work with and learn from. It has given me such an appreciation for the great work being done by public servants across the country. I am also very proud that I have been able to achieve my professional goals and still be a mom.”
“One career success I’m most proud of is how I’ve treated people along the way, and used humour and humanity to try and manage the stress of others around me. As the adage goes, people may not remember exactly what you said but they’ll remember how you made them feel. Even tough conversations can be done well.”
“My greatest accomplishment is raising two kids that I don’t think I have messed up. In my career as a leader, I spend a lot of time talking with people [and] getting to know people. In my opinion this is time really well spent. I’m most proud of giving people confidence in themselves and hopefully inspiring them to be ambitious and innovative.”
Personally, I’m so proud to be a young woman in 2019. While there still exists sexism, ageism, and other pressures and obstacles, I take comfort in the thought that I have the opportunity to be who I want to be. Thanks to trailblazers who paved the road before me I can be a mom, I can have a career, and I can be a great leader.
For this reason, I also asked these successful moms for their advice on how to be a public servant and a mom at the same time. So here you have it, rich advice for expecting and future moms based on the experiences of working women in the government:
Women now make up more than half the public service. Many of them are moms. They are the foundation of how our homes function and how this country thrives. They add diversity of thought and perspective that can only make us better. Cheers to all moms this Mother’s Day: new moms, single moms, expecting moms, experienced moms, and future moms. Your example and hard work is inspiring.
Aurele Theriault, Chair of the Board of Directors of theLearn More
With contribution from IOG Fellow Dr. Sara Filbee. This articleLearn More
With contribution from IOG Fellow Dr. Sara Filbee. We areLearn More