All March, we celebrate trailblazing females and the achievements they make every day to society. National Women’s History Month reflects on the past and the progress that women have made over the years, including increasing their earnings and education.
The United State Census Bureau provided March 2021 stats from surveys that highlight some changes in women’s employment over the last decade. Also, the MastersDegree.net website offers an interesting list of 50 fascinating facts for Women’s History Month.
To close out this month’s celebration, Platinum continues to highlight our very own, Mel Maldonado, Vice President of Human Resources. In this final installment of her 3-part series, Mel shares her secret to balancing motherhood with a demanding career as an HR executive.
How has being a mother affected your career?
Raising children with a demanding career is tough. When my children were younger, I always thought that I had to make an impression of being a “Supermom” and do everything myself. Throughout the years, I realized that I wasn’t being realistic, and I was being too hard on myself.
I will admit that being at work switching gears between meeting deadlines for large scale projects while blocking time to tackle my day-to-day responsibilities was challenging to balance with the knowledge that I had so many other responsibilities after work. I had to pick up the kids, make dinner, help the kids with homework, and drive them around to extracurricular activities. After all of that, I had more office work to do late night. I must say, it’s exhausting trying to keep it all together!
Sometimes it was nerve-wracking trying to figure it out. I would question myself, “How do I balance being successful in my career and knowing that my kids are growing up so fast?” And I didn’t want to miss out on anything!
I admit that it took a toll on my mental health. I felt like I was working non-stop around the clock and it’s very exhausting. So I decided that I had to do something for myself because I didn’t want my stress level to emotionally impact my family.
I’ve been fortunate to have employers who provided flexible work arrangements and benefits that allowed me to balance my career and motherhood. Going through my experience helps me empathize with others in the workplace and manage my team better.
Employees without children may still struggle to balance their personal life while achieving their professional goals. People come to work as a “whole person,” not just a robot that we expect to be emotionless and only focus on work. Having health and mental wellness benefits is crucial to supporting employees and their ability to effectively face challenges, both personally and professionally.
What’s your secret to balancing a busy career with motherhood?
I honestly don’t have a secret. Just try to stay sane and awake ladies, LOL.
I allot time to take care of myself so that I can continue to take care of my family. I made some lifestyle changes to help better manage my stress. I try to eat healthier, work out when I can, feel young by having fun, say daily affirmations, and meditate.
What does it mean to you to be able to represent all women and show them it’s possible to achieve what’s sometimes construed as impossible: to climb the corporate ladder in your career?
It means the same to me as when I achieved a career in law enforcement—a male-dominant field. It was one of my proudest moments. I couldn’t fathom achieving my dream job without determination. It was very rewarding when I finally did.
I am so humbled and privileged to be able to inspire others to attain their dreams. I went through many challenges and some people doubted that I would succeed, but I was so motivated by proving them wrong. It’s exhilarating to see the way my daughter looks up to me when she asks about my professional experience and how she wants to accomplish so much when she grows up. I try to encourage her that she’s capable of anything.
What do you want to tell young women who are just starting their professional journey?
The biggest lesson for me was accepting that it’s okay to make mistakes. You grow by learning from those mistakes. I was too worried about losing credibility based on what others would think. I gained more respect by being honest and intentional about my goals.
When I’m dealing with challenges, I remind myself that flaws and imperfections can turn into amazing opportunities. “If you want the rainbow, you have to tolerate the rain.”
When you humble yourself and demonstrate humility, it creates a safe environment for teams to grow and be authentic with themselves.