I was recently invited to the PowerMom Awards and Summit Presented by Loacker where several moms were honored for doing an exceptional job balancing motherhood with a demanding career. While I think every working mom deserves an award, the ladies that were acknowledged are prime examples that women can be successful in the workplace and at home. The inaugural event hopes to empower working mothers everywhere for years to come. “Speaking from experience, we often feel alone as we face specific challenges unique to the working mom. The PowerMom movement is designed to provide a platform for dialogue, networking, inspiration, empowerment and action. As a company, Loacker feels honored to provide the foundation for this movement, ” said Crystal Black Davis, Vice President of Marketing/Deputy to the President, Loacker USA.
I had a chance to talk to Coco Rocha, one of the honorees and an international supermodel who has been at it for over 14 years. Here’s what she had to say about being a working mom and the kind of example she hopes to set for her daughter Ioni, age 2.
What does a being a power mom mean to you? First off, I don’t believe there is one right way to be a mom. I think you can define what it means be your own Power Mom, if that means you need some help, if that means you can do it all on your own, if you had a natural child birth or C-section; just taking care of your baby, putting it to sleep, waking up in the morning and feeding it, and loving is pretty powerful in itself. For me, the moment I felt the most powerful was birthing Ioni. I couldn’t believe that we actually made a human being. It was quite amazing seeing James [Rocha’s husband] bring her over to me. I realized that this person that I tried my hardest to make healthy choices for was now here. You feel like Supermom, you feel like a superhero for doing that, and I don’t think that ever stops. Right now we just finished potty training in the day, and I have this sense of, “we are amazing!” Even though it’s really about her, not us, but the fact that we can all accomplish this together is pretty amazing. And there will always be these little hurdles that make you feel very powerful as a mom.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a mom who is feeling overwhelmed? My favorite advice that someone gave me went like this: “Can I give you some advice?” I said, “Yes,” and she said, “Take no one’s advice.” And I thought it was so clever because you can tell people how to do it, the right way to burp a baby, feed it, put it to sleep, all of it, and you can get in your head that that’s the way to do it and if you don’t succeed you feel worse off than ever. So I always say, “trust your instincts, trust your gut, if it’s not working out, try something else, and don’t beat yourself up.” If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s because you are probably reading into other people’s idea’s of what a perfect mom should be. I think that’s usually the case, the expectations are out there and you are reading into them so your overwhelmed thinking, “I cant do all of that.” I don’t listen to people telling me I’m doing it wrong or that I should try this or avoid that. If that doesn’t feel right to me I just don’t do it.
What are you hoping Ioni learns from you as a woman and a working mom? I’m in an industry where it is portrayed that beauty is the most important thing and I don’t want Ioni to think that’s where her confidence should come from. Honestly most models that are successful have great personalities, they have long term goals that have nothing to do with modeling, they have other interests, and they love life, and they love themselves no matter what their flaws may be and that’s what I want her to get out of my industry. I remember one time when we were babysitting a friend’s kid and we were saying how cute the little girl looks and we realized that we say that a lot, but we don’t really tell her how smart she is or how independent she was or how clever she was for being able to write her name. All of those other word choices, we realized, were very important as well and that’s what I think about when complimenting my daughter.
Do you have advice for moms who have been out of the workplace for a while who are looking to get back in after having a baby? I think its constantly adjusting. Try not to be overwhelmed by change. We shouldn’t expect that things have stayed the same so be ready to adapt in the workplace and at home. If you are able to adjust and change and compromise and go with the flow then things will be a lot easier.
Sometimes working moms need a little help to get out the door, especially if your child is sick or feeling especially needy. What do you tell yourself to stay motivated about work? When it comes to baby’s health, I definitely put the baby first. All of the other things get put aside. I try to put it all aside in order to make the baby feel better. If she’s all right than I’m able to move on to the next thing.
Main image: Coco Rocha speaking at the PowerMoms Summit Panel in New York City. Photo by Natasha Harri Fuller.