By: Jessica Del Llano
I’d like to introduce you to Liz McGrory, aka “Coach LizzyMc,” a friend and former classmate of mine from Chelmsford, and a Working Mom Coach. She recently took the time to answer a few questions I had about the challenges that working moms face and what prompted her to embark on her coaching endeavor.
The phrase “Working Mom” can certainly rub some people the wrong way, as if it indicates Working-Outside-Of-The-Home-Moms work, and Stay-At-Home-Moms don’t really work. Can you give us a quick definition of what you consider to be a Working Mom?
Liz: A Working Mom, or a Working-Outside-Of-The-Home Mom, is a Mother who needs to earn income in order to support her family. Having said this, all Mothers work! All people work! We are all working on or toward something. No matter your type, we all have similar issues like lack of sleep, taking caring of everyone else at the drop of a hat and putting our own care to the side, time management and the good old “mommy guilt”. Then there are a handful of issues that are not similar. The true difference is how we handle stress, anxiety, sadness, fear, and anger. We should focus on common Motherhood issues so that our children benefit from our unity, instead of focusing who suffers the most.
I gave this question much thought while opening my business. As a Working Mom myself, I categorize as a “Working Mom Coach.” I felt my title was limiting in one way but open in another because all Moms do work. I decided that I wanted to influence Mothers to embrace whatever type of work they do. I want to help her find her happy spot. This could mean supporting a Mom’s return to Corporate America, transitioning a Career Mom from her job to staying at home with her children 24/7, or cheering on a Mom to commence her entrepreneurial journey.
What do you think are the biggest challenges moms who work outside the home face?
Liz: A few challenges I hear from Working Moms are their fear of not being able to provide for their family. The economy is unstable and we watch others lose their jobs in a blink of an eye. Most of the “Working Moms” I work with have a job because they must, so the loss of their job is a big fear to combat. On top of that, most Working Moms feel ‘stuck’. They can’t quit, but they feel unchallenged or unappreciated in their job. But if they choose to Mommy Track their career, perhaps by working fewer hours or not taking on as much work because they must leave at 5:00, it is difficult to take on challenging tasks. They feel they can’t excel at one single thing because they have many responsibilities. They can’t commit to work because they are needed at home, or vice versa. But then they sit back, sigh, and say, “This is how it needs to be for now.” My big question is “does it really need to be this way?” This is where I can help by challenging this belief and opening a Working Mom’s eyes to different options. It’s all about courage and having a brave heart to think of the imaginable and then act on it.
What were your own struggles becoming a Working Mom?
Liz: This is a great question. I have a four-year-old son and a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. When I went back to work after my son was born, I was heartbroken. On the bright side, I had a great daycare provider, so I was able focus on my job. I was passionate about my career and felt it was going somewhere. It wasn’t the same story when I returned to work after my daughter. I realized that my values had changed and I was confused on how to handle this transition. Then my career took a turn that I did not expect. It was a very sad time in my life. Luckily, I knew a great business coach and my company believed in me so much they hired him to coach me.
Being coached is hard work. I had to face many issues in both my professional and my personal life. It took a ton of effort to think outside the box and explore many paths that I would not have had the courage to look at on my own. In the end, I gain understand of the statement “everything happens for a reason.” I became happy. I enrolled in coaching school and committed to helping other Working Moms. First, I started a blog, Coach LizzyMc, Working Mom Coach. And in October 2011, I opened my coaching business. All in all, it’s been a rewarding, yet bumpy journey. If it wasn’t for these life lessons, heartaches, and coaching I would not have never realized I have a passion to help other Working Moms succeed.
You’ve recently been certified as a Working Mom Coach. Tell us what, exactly that is, and about the certification process.
Liz: I recently graduated from a coaching school called CoachU, a leading global provider of coach training programs. My education has given me the training hours needed to obtain my certification. I am currently working toward my certification to become an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). ICF is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. I am an active member of the ICF New England chapter and am on their marketing committee.
There are many different ‘types’ of coaches in the world. The most popular types are business, life and career coaches. I chose to focus on Working Moms, so I saw it fitting to title myself a Working Mom Coach.
What do you hope your kids remember about their own Working Mom when they’re grown?
Liz: Gosh, that question makes me teary-eyed, probably because I’m trying so hard to balance my work with my family. That is one thing I want them to remember. Another is that I went to school to make my life and their life richer. They’ll remember that I was helping people. What I hope they remember most is when you work really hard toward something it’s worth it and it all works out. What you think about you bring about.
What’s a good first step a Working Mom can take to get started on her path to balance?
Liz: Hire me! Focus on yourself—find a quiet spot and sit still for ten minutes a day. My day begins with this quiet time and then I take a few extra minutes to write in my journal and plan my day. When you practice this daily ritual, you will soon realize that the laundry and dirty dishes will get done…eventually. What you do with these 10 minutes is where you will find ‘balance’. People seek balance when they are not happy. If you are not happy, what emotion are you experiencing? Is it fear, anger, anxiety, shame, or sadness? Once you can name the emotion, how do you overcome this emotion so that you can return to happiness? I don’t believe that shortcuts are the answer; they are just a temporary fix. Figuring how why you are not happy will be the first step in bringing you balance.
What do you consider to be the 3 (or 5) best habits of the balanced Working Mom?
Liz: I take my clients through my “Hurry Down Now” program. The three steps are to Relax, React, then Reach Out.
- Relax: The goal of this phase is to relax and sit, to connect with others that have similar interests, to discover or rediscover what is important to you.
- React: The goal of this phase is to focus on “ME,” which stands for “Mommy Energy.” If you have no energy, you have nothing to give. You’ll discover what ignites and zaps your energy level.
- Reach Out: The goal of this phase is to learn how to ask for help. We’ve been taught that we can do it all, but we need to change this belief.
Do you think employers are any closer to working with Working Moms to make it a little less taxing?
Liz: Work-life balance has become a hot topic. But this is for anyone, not just Working Moms. There’s a bit of flexibility out there, but some people argue that it was the choice of the woman to become a Working Mom, so Corporate America shouldn’t have to change. Some people still think accommodating working moms is unfair to others who cannot or have chosen not to have a family. So, while employers figure out how to give their best to Working Moms, I vote to take matters into your own hands. Don’t wait for someone else to create happiness for you.
Finish this sentence for the Working Mom: “When all else fails, _______________________.”
Liz: Take a nap! You are more prepared to deal with challenges when you are well rested. Sleeping is a great way of giving yourself a break, so practice step one of my “Hurry Down Now” Program and relax. Have faith in the old saying, “You’ll feel better in the morning.”
To get in touch with Liz and read her blog, find her at www.lizzymc.com!