40 Working Mom Stories That Made 2017 Shine Brighter

2017 was undoubtedly a big year for women, and looking back it feels like working mamas are finally getting a chance to shine.

From a conference dedicated to mompreneurs in San Francisco to booming Facebook groups with 20,000+ members, there is a movement of moms leading and building businesses, and redefining corporate culture in the process.

As a working mom myself, I haven’t written as many stories about all these amazing mamas as I’d like to, so I found Twitter to be the next best way to quickly spread the word.

Here’s a recap of 40 moms, moments and would-be blog post topics I found to be particularly inspiring in 2017:

Working Mom Tales From the Road

Discovering the Working Parent Resource podcast set the year on the right foot. (Thanks Sarah for everything you’re doing to help make it easier for working parents to find their way!) Here are some of the working mom voices that inspired my morning drive time:

There’s nothing that gives a busy mama more relief than hearing a kindred spirit tell their story, which was my experience hearing Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less author Tiffany Dufu share hers on the Heroine podcast:

The Naked Truth About Working Motherhood

Getting other humans out the door in the morning is nothing to sneeze at, and Liz Petrone managed to bring humor to the madness:

While Neha Mandhani reminded us why it’s helpful to embrace imperfection…

Motherly editor Colleen Temple perfectly captured the conflicted emotions of motherhood, “to every mother who wants to give herself a hug when she checks on her sleeping children post-bedtime because today was a tough-as-nails day and now in the still of the dark night, she wonders if she was enough, did enough—I’m that mama, too.”

SWAAY captured confessions from 14 working moms, including the mompreneur behind Kindred Bravely (softest maternity/nursing bra ever!):

Why It’s Worth the Working Mama Juggle

Sometimes we need a reminder of why we’re crazy enough to try and juggle it all. Two videos captured it very nicely — one from tried and true baby food brand Happy Baby and another from DigitalMums.com which helps create flexible jobs:

Tend Lab founding CEO Amy Henderson is championing the evolution of corporate culture to better recognize and support parenthood. In addition to her spot-on quotes about the benefits of working moms in Mother, she also moderated a fantastic panel on juggling it all at the In Good Company conference:

These quotes are the closest things I’ve found to an antidote for working mom guilt. The first comes from a profile of stylish mompreneurs behind Nomad CollectiveELLIS BROOKLYNFreshly Picked Baby MoccasinsPembroke PR, and Catherine Kwong Design in Mother. The second is from the Krazy Coupon Lady who appeared on Mario Armstrong’s Never Settle Show:

Making Life Before and After Maternity Leave A Little Easier

I loved the words of maternity-benefit pioneer, Maven‘s CEO and founder, Kate Ryder, on the GirlBoss podcast discussing how to make the most of her time in the office as a new mom, “One of the first things I did when I had a kid was reduce meetings to 30 minutes.”

Author of Here’s the Plan.: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood and WeeSpring founder, Allyson Downey, is helping women educate themselves on maternity leave and returning to work after baby, as featured in Motherly:

Kim Chappell so eloquently captured the emotions of a new mom getting ready to head back to work after maternity leave, which made me want to reach through my phone and give her a reassuring hug:

Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel admits she “had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was going to do it” once she became a working mother. She shared how she’s currently arranged childcare in a way that works for her:

A new mama who’s near and dear to the TripIt team, Natalie DiScala, wrote two great pieces for moms facing the reality of traveling for business, covering everything from nursing to childcare:

When Motherhood Inspires New Business Ideas

“Kids are the ultimate start-up.” I love this quote from the co-founder of bkr glass water bottles in Mother (which were a welcome inclusion in the spring The Zoe Report’s Box of Style along with other mompreneur-created products):

Sarah Michelle Gellar found the inspiration to start FoodStirs and step away from travel-intensive acting after she had her daughter:

Kango founder Sara Schaer set out to kick carpool chaos to the curb by launching a Lyft-like service in LA and SF, in which all the drivers are fingerprinted and background-checked:

Air Force veteran and Euphoric Herbals founder Cindy Collins started making herbal teas for her clients as a doula, around the time she had her first son. As her family grew, so did her business (from $3,200 in revenue in 2011 to more than $400,000 just five years later):

Beluga Baby wrap founder Haley Campbell launched her company four months after giving birth to her daughter. She lived to tell the tale in Motherly:

Advice from Women Who Paved the Way for Today’s Working Mamas

I’m lucky to be surrounded by inspiring women leaders at work, some of which were featured in Working Mother and Inc:

SitterCity CEO Elizabeth Harz has refined working motherhood by planning ahead and shared other tips with Working Mother on how to carve out more time and cut yourself some slack:

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, the powerhouse literary agent behind Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown and Arianna Huffington, reminded us that guilt is essentially useless:

Fashion mogul and pioneering mompreneur, Eileen Fisher, shared her one working mother regret on the How I Built This podcast:

Research that Gets it Right

It’s time for outdated research on “advanced maternal age,” “geriatric pregnancy” and my personal favorite, “elderly multigravida” to go the way of the dodo. The New York Times helped shed some light:

A study in the Atlantic followed up with 37 women who graduated together, 20 years later; the results from the  “Ambition Interviews” were both fascinating and heartbreaking. Authors Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace have written a book, The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life, which comes out in June 2018:

Working Mom Voices Are Getting Louder

Melinda Gates became a welcome and powerful voice in the gender gap discussion by highlighting how America’s workaholic culture isn’t helping moms–or anyone really. She’s not the only recognizable face bringing much needed attention to the issues facing working moms:

As a “digital” participant of the inaugural In Good Company conference, I was delighted to see these recaps (and live vicariously through them) in Vogue and the San Francisco Chronicle:

Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake made headlines when she IPO’d with her toddler in tow. I was equally interested in surfacing the day-in-the-life secrets to her success as a mompreneur:

I can’t wait to see what 2018 holds in store for working moms. In the meantime, you can count on me to keep sharing stories every chance I get!

Toddler-Approved Family Stew Recipe

Of all the things that would get my 2-year-old excited about potatoes and carrots, I never expected it to be a 50+ year old stew recipe passed down from my husband’s French grandmother.

My typically picky eater actually made audible mmm sounds while eating the potatoes and thanked me. Zut alors!

Here’s my modified version with shortcuts for busy mamas. (I’ll also include the original handwritten recipe from my mother-in-law because it has that extra special je ne sais quo.)

Warning: this recipe takes 3 hours and has lots of flour, butter and potatoes. Mon dieu!

First, make sure to pick up the following ingredients:

-Pre-cubed stew meat (1.5 lbs)

-Pre-washed baby carrots

-2 potatoes

-4 onions (I had red on and, but any will do)



-Low-sodium beef broth

Wondra All Purpose Quick-Mixing Sauce ‘N Gravy Flour


-Salt & pepper

You’ll need a Dutch oven or large pot, plus a sauté pan:

1. Toss the meat in a bag with a few shakes of flour, salt & pepper

2. Brown the meat in half a cube of butter (yep, you read that right) in the main pot

3. Meanwhile, sauté 1.5 cups diced onion; add it to the main pot

4. Add 10.5 oz beef broth, 1.5 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and a whole clove of garlic to the main pot

5. Sauté the remaining diced onions and add to the main pot

6. Bring back to a simmer

7. Add the baby carrots (about 2 cups’ worth) and simmer until tender; which takes about 45 minutes

8. Peel and quarter the potatoes and add to the pot when the carrots are nearly done

9. Simmer for another 45 minutes or so, until tender

10. Salt & pepper to taste

For additional ingredients, here’s the original recipe:

Next up, we’ll try my family’s stew recipe which is more of an Irish-style dish. In either case, it’s good for Sundays so you have leftovers for 1-2 other weeknights.

When Working Mamas Need a Break

I’ve been hibernating. I haven’t written a blog post in two months. I just didn’t have it in me to give up any spare moments of rest. But I know I’m not alone.

Some of the most driven mamas I know — who are actively raising young children, working in corporate jobs and even building businesses on the side — find themselves needing to turn one dial down from time to time, like Sarah from Piperoos.

For Paula from Ceh Flora Gifts, caring for an aging parent comes with many curve balls. But it also puts things in perspective, and can even be a source of inspiration to change direction.

I’m learning from the mompreneurs I speak to that we all have different modes. Sometimes we’re on, sometimes we’re off. Building a career, a family and a business (or passion project) has to be at our own pace. But it’s hard to give yourself that forgiveness.

Patagonia has proven that you can keep an eye on the long game, while having ups and downs along the way:

“We didn’t know if we were going to make it or not,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia on NPR’s “How I Built This,” about the period following a down turn.

“All decisions from then on were made as if we were going to be here 100 years from now. So, slowing down the growth, saying no to a lot of opportunities and just being more responsible.”

“One year we’ll grow 3 percent, another year we’ll grow 20 percent,” said Chouinard. “It’s not this smooth curve like public companies that have to grow 15 percent every year… There are two kinds of growth, one where you grow stronger and one where you grow fat.”

This philosophy comes from the same company that retains 100% of its moms by providing on-site childcare.

Have you taken time to recharge lately? I’d love to hear your story.