Your Debut: an interview series with working moms

May 30, 20243 Min Read

Ask any mom working outside the home, and she will have a story (or several!) to share. In our work at The Debut Co., we’ve seen the impact of sharing those stories in our own community and want to share them more broadly here with you.

Welcome to the first in our series where we hear from working moms about their personal journeys and learnings navigating their career and family coming out of our program.


Name: Anna Laird  

Company and position: Hydrogeologist in the Energy Sector 

Age of kids: 1 & 3 

Q: At The Debut Co, we acknowledge the importance of the Motherhood Identity Shift – how we evolve as we take on a new role as working mother. What has this evolution looked like for you?

A: With my first child, I felt messy and unconventional. It was a different time with the pandemic, and I went on leave right as my company was merging with another major player. I came back to an entirely new job, strictly virtual, and had little confidence and structure to work with. 

I very much had to learn the hard way. The pressure to perform at work, at home and show up for myself was completely overwhelming and really challenged me in ways I was not anticipating. 

This experience empowered me to make sure it would be different for my next baby. I am optimistic it will be different this time around, as the circumstances are much different and I have learned so much about myself and what I need, and what I am capable of taking on. 

Q: What challenges have you faced as a working mother and how have you overcome them?   

A: Not having any family close by to help has been really challenging. It’s difficult to juggle a young family while trying to grow both parents’ careers. As a result, it has been imperative to share the childbearing and household load. It’s not even all the time, but to understand it will ebb and flow and to have open communication with your partner about expectations has been crucial to avoiding burnout and resentment. 

Feelings of loneliness, isolation and burnout have been common. My whole identity changed and I had to grieve my old life – not only personally but professionally. It was definitely a time I needed to give myself grace but when that was not my default programming, it took me a long time to let go of these unrealistic standards for myself.  I had to check my expectations and learn to give myself some compassion (which does not come naturally to me – I am a work in progress).  

I also joined my company’s women’s network and that really turned around my experience at work, not only to feel seen and heard from other working parents, but it also provided an opportunity for me to advocate for women, specifically women in STEM roles, which I feel so deeply passionate about. 

Q: What practical advice can you share with other working moms to avoid burnout, and to balance work and home life?   

A: Regular communication about how things are going and evolving for you with your manager, partner and other support networks are essential. It is a constant evolution being a working mom so if your people know how you are doing physically, emotionally and mentally, they can hopefully support you too. Most importantly, checking in with yourself and your internal dialogue to see where you need to shift some priorities and energy.  

Being a working mother is a massive lesson in prioritization and learning to let go. The to-do list will truly never end, so you need to be intentional about what is most important. The kitchen doesn’t need to be spotless, let the toys stay on the floor, the scrolling time adds up, etc. 

Outsource what you can – food boxes, cleaner, grocery delivery, etc. It makes a BIG difference. 

Connect with us to learn more about our Working Parents Workshop Series