When Louisville, Kentucky-based mom and academic director Kristia Worthy found out she was pregnant, she worried about the professional opportunities she might be forced to give up. In a LinkedIn post, she said, “I felt like everything would have to be put on hold and I would get ‘left behind.’ I was SAD and DISCOURAGED.”
But, like all working moms, Kristia found a way to make her new life as a mother and professional woman flourish. “It took me months to realize everything would be okay,” she said. “I can still pursue things, it might just take a little longer. I can still attend conferences but may have to be selective each year.”
Being more choose-y when it comes to work not only allows moms to spend more valuable time with their families, it also helps to combat the dreaded “burnout” that often comes along with “doing it all.” Kristia was surprised how much she still got done, despite the possibility of turning certain opportunities down.
“As I reflect on the first 12 months of this journey, I am in awe of all the things I STILL accomplished despite the mom guilt, people questioning how I am able to go places, and balancing work and home responsibilities,” Kristia said. As the associate director of academic services and department liaison to diversity and inclusion for the University of Louisville Athletics, travel is a key part of Kristia’s job.
When Kristia does travel for work, she marks the occasion with sweet reminders for her son, Kyrie of what her time away really means.
“Each place I traveled to (Pittsburgh, Austin, Providence, Denver, Raleigh, Boston, Oregon, and Virginia), I bought a tiny [snow]globe for Kyrie to document when I went away and the special time he got to spend one-on-one with his Dad,” Kristia said. This shifts the focus from “Mommy’s gone” to “Mommy’s coming back, and now I get to spend alone time with Dad,” which is a refreshing way to alleviate working mom guilt.
Becoming a mother didn’t mean getting “left behind” professionally, as Kristia worried it might. It just forced her to be more mindful of what she dedicates her time to each day. “Motherhood has caused me to be strategic and intentional with every opportunity and professional move I make,” Kristia said. “But one thing that I will always be committed to is trusting my truth and developing into the best woman, mother, and professional that I am called to be.”