Katie Gough-Edwards is a Director of Marketing at Cintas. She has two young children, Gabbie (2.5) and Gracie (9 mo). We asked Katie to share with the Tribute community how she navigates feelings of not being enough as a working Mom, and the advice she’d give to other Moms.
Work and parenting often have competing demands for your time, energy, and passion. How do you find balance?
Balance. Ha! I am still trying to figure it out. I have not mastered balance, but I have learned I am my best self when I give 110% to whatever I am doing. Whether I’m at work, on vacation, at a school parade, with the neighbors, at the zoo, or simply at Target with my family. I no longer feel guilty about that. In fact, early in my leadership career, the majority of my partners had families. They taught me so much about how to balance work and life. I worked all the time – all hours of the day, because I didn’t have a family. I didn’t know why people weren’t responding in the evening.
Finally, a light bulb went off - they had families! I made the decision in that moment -- when I send an email in the evening, it serves me. Perhaps I am traveling and in a hotel cranking work out. I don’t expect anything back until the next day! Enjoy your family! The only balance I know is my husband. We must choose wisely when it comes to our partner in life. We work incredible together to make sure both of us can be successful in our careers and crush it as parents!
Tell us a time or experience when you felt “not enough”.
I have come to recognize the feelings of “not enough” are a result of the pressure I put upon myself. I believe it stems from the stereotypes I grew up around, often reinforced by pop culture and the constant “noise” of social media. It’s the times when I have to say “no” to work – whether that’s travel or taking a promotion that I feel “not enough” in the workplace. Today, I manipulate my schedule to fly early or return home late, so I can be with my littles and husband for one extra night. Just 30 months ago, I would have prioritized making it to a social function instead.
Other times, I struggle with not feeling enough when I just don’t have it in me to completely reorganize my week to travel two states away to a family event. Just thinking about packing up our whole house for a trip that will last less than 48 hours gives me anxiety just thinking about it. I feel the judging eyes states away, or least in my head they are judging.
I feel this way once a week at a at minimum. It’s weird though-- prior to having a family, pleasing everyone consumed me. How can I get to every event we are invited too? After my first born, I spent my maternity leave watching Ted Talks and reading self-help articles in the wee hours of the morning. My priorities completely shifted. This season of life is too short to worry and over-analyze being “not enough”. If my colleagues or family aren’t supportive, it’s their choice. I am enough for the people that truly matter. They know that. I need to get out of my own head and way sometimes. I will continue to show up for the people around me to make sure they know they are “enough”. And raise my girls to make sure they know they are enough. We all do what’s best for us in the season we are in. Right here. Right now.
When you How do you overcome that feeling? What makes you remember that you are, in fact, more than enough?
I look at my kids. I look at my husband. They are my constant reminders I am enough. Without them I would go crazy.
When your kids grow up, what do you want them to remember most about you?
I want them to remember I showed them they can do anything and have everything. It’s up to them. Dream big and go after that dream. Whatever that is, they will always have me as their biggest cheerleader.
What advice would you give to other working moms?
You are a role model. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Listen to the stories the older women in your life. When they raised you or your siblings or cousins, but don’t fret. It’s been decades. It’s harder now than ever to be a momma. Working or not working. Organic or not. Private. Public. Technology or limit it. Bottle or breast. Your kids come first. You know what’s best for your babes. If your 18-month old’s Halloween parade is important to you, make it important to your boss. Don’t sell yourself short and think because the person didn’t do it before you that you shouldn’t ask to sneak out for a bit to be there for one of your biggest fans. You can make up the work somewhere else in your week.