ceo moms give their advice
profile picture of Ashlee Neuman
Ashlee Neuman
Deputy Editor

7 CEOs Share How They Successfully Juggle Motherhood and Work

Hear from Rebecca Minkoff, Molly Sims and others on how they handle life as working moms.

Have you ever wondered how working mamas handle it all? Even the most successful female CEOs will tell you it’s not easy—but over time they’ve figured out how to juggle their roles as professionals and as mothers. Hint: The key to it all is support. Here, seven powerhouse women open up about the challenges of being working moms and how they’ve learned to navigate them, and the empowering advice they have for other mamas out there.

Photo: Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff

Founder of Rebecca Minkoff

“I juggle both work and parenting by ensuring my team feels ownership and entrepreneurship in their job,” says the fashion designer and mom of three. “I always look to hire people who can do what I can’t, better than I ever could. I’m always trying to hire myself out of a job so we as a company can keep expanding. As a mom, I knew in finding a partner that I wanted someone who was approaching the role of parent to be my equal. There is no job in the house that one of us doesn’t do. We split it down the middle and with that, it’s possible to be a hands-on mom and a hands-on founder. I also wouldn’t be able to do this without my co-founder and team members at work as well as my nanny at home. It’s a village and that’s the only way this works.”

Photo: Melissa Duren Conner

Melissa Duren Conner

“Balancing parenthood and a career is a combination of a lot of things. I live by my calendar, and can say I would be (literally and figuratively) lost without it,” the mom and PR guru says. “I have the greatest husband who is a parent to our child, not a live-in babysitter. He plays as big of a role in our daughters’ life (and our family life) as I do, which allows us both the opportunity to balance work and home. We also have a super-supportive family who help out a ton, whether it’s keeping me company when my husband is traveling or watching our daughter so we can have a date night. Our workplace culture is also one that supports working moms, and I’m very aware that I’m part of the minority of working women who enjoy that privilege. Last but definitely not least, and probably should’ve been my first call out, is my daughter’s incredible nanny Veronica, who truly makes this possible for my husband and me. I would not be able to focus at work—work I LOVE to do—if I was worried about my daughter all day. And I know I couldn’t be a good mother if I was unable to work, since it’s a huge part of who I am. We are so lucky. And lastly (for real this time), it’s important to know that there’s no “secret sauce” to this balancing act. It’s very hard and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I just do the best I can one day at a time, give myself a break if something falls through the cracks and when all else fails, have a glass of wine.”

Photo: Ariel Kaye

Ariel Kaye

Founder and CEO of Parachute

“As an entrepreneur and a mom, you must wear many hats—but you also can’t be afraid to ask for help,” says the mom behind the popular purveyor of home essentials. “I delegate at work and am fortunate to have the support of family nearby. I remind myself constantly that ‘doing it all’ is not always the best way to do it all. It takes a village! I’m learning every day from my friends, my own mom and my fellow co-workers who are parents. We like to share our experiences and tips on how to be the best versions of ourselves, in motherhood and in business.”

Photo: Erica Domesek

Erica Domesek

“Being a working mom and learning how to navigate each day is always a process. I like to say, the juggle is real,” says Domesek, who created the innovative DIY brand P.S. – I Made This. “Giving up on perfection early on was very necessary for me, and this goes for both work and home life. I know a lot of people struggle with mom guilt, but I knew that working and being busy and maintaining that part of my life would make me a better mom. There are some days where I need to prioritize work over being home, and that’s okay. I know my baby is being cared for and loved, and that gives me a sense of peace. Because I have a flexible schedule, I find ways to plan fun things during the day and can work later too. No day is the same, which I have surrendered to. The idea of finding a perfect balance may never happen, but being okay with doing your best is really what is best!”

Photo: Molly Sims

Molly Sims

Actress and humanitarian

“No one can prepare you enough for the duties of being a mama. It’s tough work and so is being a working mama. While juggling both, you realize there are things that you can and can’t control,” the mom of three says. “You have to learn how to say no to things and say yes to the priorities or else you’ll go crazy. You need to rely on your support systems—your tribe and girlfriends—to talk about the messy times and the moments that don’t make it on your Instagram highlight reel. It’s what keeps me going.”

Photo: Miranda Smith

Amy Nelson

Founder and CEO of The Riveter

“I’m on a mission to change the way women are perceived in the workplace. After welcoming my fourth daughter, I’m back from parental leave and once again juggling being the founder of a growing startup and a mother. We live in a time where people see mothers in one light and business leaders in another, but the truth is, they are very often one and the same,” says Nelson, who launched the coworking startup. “Some days it’s difficult to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and I have to lean on support. We simplify our life as much as possible, including outsourcing tasks like ordering groceries from Instacart. You can’t be afraid to ask for help. From my husband, my family, our amazing nanny and an incredible team of Riveters on my staff, I have a village of people as my support system who help make it all possible. And I’m incredibly proud of that!”

Emily Current and Meritt Elliott

Fashion designers and co-founders of The GREAT and Emily + Meritt

“We have learned the key is to simply go easy on ourselves!,” says the duo behind the ready-to-wear collection The GREAT and the lifestyle brand Emily + Merrit. “Nobody is perfect, and guilt is a waste of energy. We try to stay organized with paper calendars, apps and insanely proficient scheduling and planning ahead. We surround ourselves with other mothers who are understanding and hardworking.”

The struggles of the working mom are plenty real, and they’re pervasive—which is why The Female Founder Collective, Jennifer Bett Communications and She’s Next Empowered by Visa have all teamed up to offer a new, immersive experience called Workshop: A Day for Female Founders. The semi-annual events, held in New York City and L.A., aim to start candid conversations among working women and ignite the fire for the next generation of female founders. They feature interactive keynotes, workshops and one-on-one sessions with some of the world’s most impressive female entrepreneurs, including the inspirational moms above. Interested in attending? Learn more here.

Published November 2019

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