Catherine M. Merritt

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News. Thoughts. Ramblings.

Stop Telling Working Moms You “don’t know how we do it”—Tell Us You’re "glad we’re doing it”

I’m lucky.

I’m the daughter of a mom who showed me and my sisters that she could kick ass in her career while raising our family. Growing up, there was never a doubt that if I wanted to work and have kids, I could have both. I also worked at companies that had women at the top who would leave at 5 p.m. because they needed to pick up their kids. All of this grew my confidence and commitment that I could thrive in both professional and family universes. In fact, I found that my career started to grow much more quickly after I had my first son.

There’s something that happens when you become a mom. Before it, I was a hard worker. After joining the ranks of motherhood, I was a smart worker. Subtle, but very different.


Currently I’m senior vice president for one of the top and fastest-growing marketing firms, where I oversee two of our largest clients. I am also the founder of a startup called MUMZY, which is a crowdfunding site for moms (like Kickstarter for moms), working on it every waking hour, minute, second I can. I am also the mom of Teddy (5 years old) and Archie (almost 3) and raising two wild boys to be civilized members of society (and by “civilized” I mean I would be happy if they stopped peeing in the bushes!).

Is it easy? Hell no (especially curbing the boys from peeing in bushes...don't get me started!).

Is it worth it? For me? Absolutely! I get so much out of all these roles I have that it makes it possible for me to keep the plates spinning and achieving success along the way.

Which brings me to one of my greatest pet peeves (especially when it stems from other women and moms). I was at a conference not long ago, in a session about female leadership and female founders. The woman leading the talk was sharing relevant statistics and anecdotes about the challenges of being a female leader in the workforce. She then brought up how families are a big barrier to women reaching leadership roles. She basically said, “I can’t even imagine how moms do it. I call my employees my kids and can’t fathom doing what I’m doing if I were also raising a family.”

I gasped. Audibly.

In a room full of women, talking about how to support and raise each other up to keep doing great things, I couldn’t believe my ears that the speaker was basically reinforcing the notion that if you’re a mom, you can’t do it. Being the mild-mannered woman I am, I instantly raised my hand and told her that we need to change the conversation.

Instead of saying: “How do you do it?” we need to start saying: “I’m so glad you’re doing it.” At the end of the day, we moms are always making sacrifices, struggling to keep the balls in the air, but if we work hard at it and make a commitment to seeing it through, there are no people better equipped to do amazing things than moms. It’s why I founded MUMZY, to help moms bring their brilliant ideas to life and support fellow moms.

The next time someone says: “I don’t know how you do it,” remind them that they can do it too.

Catherine Merritt