This week begins a two-part interview series around the topic of working motherhood.
Courtney Howard (pictured left) hails from Los Angeles. She met Diane through her board work on the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Boards. She’s pictured here with her six-month-old, Ethan.
Our second interviewee (pictured right) is Meghan Dion, who lives in Portland and serves on the leadership team for the 4word Portland group. Meghan is expecting her first child in early August.
Both Meghan and Courtney sat down with us last week to chat about the different decisions they’ve made about working motherhood and the reasons behind those decisions.
4word: Courtney, you’re a mom to Ethan, and Meghan, you’re about to be a mom. What decisions have each of you made about your career?
Courtney: I’ve decided to adjust my career by becoming a full time mom! However, I’ve decided to pursue flexible work options that will enable me to work from home on a part-time basis. At this point, I believe that it’s important for me to continue to prioritize the care of my son over a full time career. This way, I can actively raise him while potentially growing in my career.
Meghan: My husband and I moved to Oregon shortly after we were married, and as I was looking for a new job, it was extremely important to me to find a work environment where family and work-life balance were valued. I had been working in public accounting where I built a solid career foundation, but this came at the expense of very long hours. I now work as an accounting professor at Pacific University and love working with students and making a positive impact on their lives.
Ultimately, my family is #1. As I interviewed for different positions around Portland, I made sure I would be working for an organization that would understand my wanting to have children and a career. I tried to ask probing questions during interviews to get to know my potential boss and his or her views on family and work/life balance. It’s easy to ask about kids when you’re in someone’s office and see a picture of their family. From there, I was able to understand her perspective on family values and how closely they line up with my own.
4word: What influenced those career decisions you made? Did you counsel with your husbands? Your parents? Friends or church members?
Courtney: I definitely discussed my thoughts with my husband. Fortunately, he’s supportive of anything that I do that makes me happy! I’ve been fortunate to have worked full time in professional roles for 10 years, so becoming a full time mom was a great change. At this stage in my life, I feel relatively fulfilled with what I’ve accomplished as a professional, so I was ready to take on a new role. Additionally, my mother was a full time mom and her influence had a strong and positive effect on me. I would like for Ethan to have a similar experience.
Meghan: My husband played a huge role in helping me make my recent career decisions. We try to make all of our decisions as a team. Prayer has also played a major role in the process in helping me feel comfortable that we came to the correct decision.
I’ve come to the conclusion that during the time when I have a young child at home, it will be extremely important for me to spend more time at home than work. I’ve also talked to many of my girlfriends, both moms and single women, who have all provided great insight to help me make my decision.
And that ends part one of our interview. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for part 2! In the meantime, for more on navigating seasons of change in your life, check out Chapter 16 of Work, Love, Pray.