Ask anyone who has shoved a cantaloupe-sized object out of their vagina, being a mom is WORK. And the joys of childbirth are just the beginning! According to a survey by Salary.com, if being a mother was a salaried career, mothers would make an average of $115,000 per year. a “stay-at-home mom” does an average of $115,000 worth of labor every year. Through an examination of the duties a mother has to perform on a daily basis, researchers determined that the job of “Mom” has 10 different “mini-jobs” under that umbrella, such as driver, day care center teacher, CEO, psychologist, cook, housekeeper, laundry machine operator, computer operator, facilities manager, and janitor. So yeah, it’s a big job. Some moms (who are in a position to do this) choose to outsource this labor and enter the workforce, and we think all moms are badass, no matter what they choose!
In honor of National Take Your Kids to Work Day, we decided to highlight nine awesome moms in the workforce, who represent just a small fraction of what it means to be a working mother. From a full-time actress to a military officer, to a comedian, all of these moms are #LadyBosses.
1. Senator Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth is currently the junior United States Senator from Illinois, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, and a trailblazer in Washington. She became the first Asian- American and disabled woman elected to Congress, the first sitting senator to give birth, and recently, the first Senator to bring an infant to the Senate floor, making her daughter, Maile, the first baby to visit the floor during a vote. Because of Senator Duckworth, the Senate voted to allow kids under the age of 1 on the floor of the Senate. The attention Duckworth has garnered as a working mother has helped to normalize and advocate for the challenges all working moms face. She is leading by example – her position shows that employers can create productive work environments that will not force a mother to choose between taking care her kids or keeping her job.
2. Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana M. Roccia
Both serving as Anna Wintour’s executive assistants and producing the Met Gala, Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana M. Roccia have taken the next step in the fashion game by launching their own luxury childrenswear e-boutique, Maisonette, in March 2017. The idea came from a feeling of frustration – parents around their age could not shop for high-end children’s clothing in the way they would like to. Even though the luxury childrenswear market had taken off already, for them, shopping for children’s clothing was a hassle, because online shopping was not as prominent in this market. So, these two working moms took their frustration and turned it into a successful business.
3. Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy, the founder of media site Pando, has released her newest concept, Chairman Mom. It is subscription-based and aims to provide resources for working mothers. However, Lacy knew there were a lot of sites that already provide resources that are kid-focused, from school recommendations to ideas about where to find the best after-school activities. Instead, she specifically wanted this service to be woman-centric. The functionality of Chairman Mom centers around featuring the most “desired-to-be-answered” questions from the community for discussion. These can include questions such as “How much do you get paid?” to “What’s the best way to handle harassment at work?” to even “What should I do if I think my spouse is cheating on me?” Being a mom of two herself, Lacy decided to enter the working mom market with the mindset that there are two sides to that title.
4. Leshla Champs
Leshla Champs is someone who can say she graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law from Texas Southern University as a mother of five — because she is. When it comes to demonstrating that having kids does not mean putting one’s life on hold, Champs is the perfect example. Her dream had always been to be an attorney, but from being placed in foster care, to dropping out of high school, to even losing her job and the father of two of her children from cancer, her dream of becoming a lawyer didn’t seem possible. However, she realized that this was a dream for not only her, but for her children. Through her own hard work and study, she earned a GED. Then, an associate degree from Houston Community College. Next, she got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. Finally, Leshla realized her dream of getting that law degree.
5. Ali Wong
At 23 years old, Ali Wong started doing stand-up and soon moved to New York to be in the thick of the comedy scene. Quickly, she became one of the few select female comedians to be “passed” at the Comedy Cellar. In 2011, she was named one of the “10 Comics to Watch” by Variety, and she later appeared on The Tonight Show, John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show, and played Dr. Lina Lark in the ABC medical drama series, Black Box. She is currently a writer on Fresh Off the Boat and in September 2015, she filmed Baby Cobra, a stand-up special she performed while seven months pregnant. Wong is not a “PG” comic – she curses, she talks about her vagina (we think, brilliantly), and she’s unfiltered! Predictably, she gets a lot of criticism about “inappropriate behavior” — which is a total double standard, btw! You don’t hear people complaining about male comedians making dick jokes! But that’s a rant for another day. Wong, however, has never let this criticism influence her performance or make her shy away from her hilarious material.
6. Mary Kay Pederson
Mary Kay Pederson is not only a parent of a Leukemia survivor, but she also started a non-profit to help ease the burdens while a child is fighting this awful disease. She and her daughter are traveling to Washington D.C. to generate awareness about childhood cancer and to help pass the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act. Their proposal calls for increased funding for research and treatment among children with the life-threatening disease. These two will stand in front of the U.S. House of Representatives to share their story and talk about how they have helped others. Pederson wants childhood cancer to become a national priority, with this being her seventh year advocating for change. According to Pederson, it’s her love for her child and her love towards any other parent going through this heartbreaking struggle that makes her strong enough to stand up and fight for change and resources.
7. Kerry Washington
Even though Olivia Pope on Scandal decided not to have children, Kerry Washington did. With two children, this amazing woman continues to make strides in the acting world, not only through being the lead actress on a successful television show, but also through her production company Simpson Street, where she is developing new projects for television, movie, and theater with strong female leads. She is currently working on an adaptation of Brit Bennett’s novel, The Mothers, after receiving an Emmy nomination and critical acclaim for the company’s first production, Confirmation.
8. Cheryl Holm
Having one parent in the military is tough enough — having two is even tougher. Cheryl Holm, an intelligence analyst for the Air Force, has two children with her husband, Bryan, who is also active duty Air Force. While the children are used to dad leaving on deployments, two weeks ago, the children experienced their mom leaving for the first time. If it weren’t impressive enough that Cheryl bravely serves her country’s armed forces, she also goes above and beyond for her family. , She came up with a plan to make sure that her children and Bryan knew that she would always be thinking of them and be with them in spirit while she was away. She bought both of her children special bears with recordings of her voice, and she signed them up for special subscription boxes to be delivered to them for every month she is away. For her husband, she wrote 19 letters that she instructed Bryan to open if he needed her — one for when he’s stressed, one for when he’s bored, one for when he misses her, and even one for the last week of her deployment. Holms is already badass for being a crucial part of the military and risking her own life to protect the citizens of America, but her motherly love and attention to detail, even when she is halfway across the world, really makes her a rock star.
9. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is currently the COO of Facebook *Questions all of our own accomplishments in life…and existence*. If that weren’t a big enough job, she continues to advocate for working families and gender parity. At Facebook, she instituted a 20-day paid bereavement leave (inspired by the tragic loss of her husband Dave), and on Equal Pay Day, she launched a new initiative called #20PercentCounts that has inspired hundreds of American companies to offer women 20% discounts to draw attention to wage disparity. Not shying away from expressing her discontent when it comes to how the pay gap is detrimental to working families across the nation, her motto is, “If a woman makes 20% less than a man, she should pay 20% less for the purchases she makes”. Sandberg believes that these inequalities show the dark underbelly of a society that seems to believe that women are less valuable, capable, and less deserving of America’s founding principle: equality. Within a male-dominated work environment, Sandberg is not afraid to speak up about what is right and what kind of justice needs to prevail.