A friend recently texted our mom chain asking if the interaction she’d had with her boss was “normal.” Here’s the scenario she laid out: She was on a Zoom call with the head of a department, her boss, and some other team members. The meeting was running over and cutting into the end of the workday — and causing my friend to be late for daycare pickup. My friend politely wrote in the Zoom chat that she was going to leave the meeting because she had to pick up her child. What followed was a text from her boss telling her to “be more professional” next time.
Upset, my friend messaged her mom friends asking what she should have done differently. I watched as text messages rolled in from our friends saying they rarely mention their children, motherhood, or requirements of parenting (i.e., daycare) at work and suggested next time my friend just say she needs to leave.

I offered a different perspective.

I shared that I always set expectations at the beginning of a meeting if I have a hard stop or need to leave for daycare pickup. I don’t apologize when I’m working and sharing the parenting load with my husband when my child is home sick. I don’t hide my exhaustion if my daughter has been up all hours the night prior. At appropriate moments in conversation, I will always mention my daughter.
I told my friend there is no shame in being a parent, nor should she feel ashamed to exit a meeting the way she did.

It is our responsibility to talk about being working moms while at work.

Young women in the workforce who desire to become mothers one day need to see their future selves reflected in their working environment. They must have examples surrounding them each and every day to know it is not only possible to be an employed mother but also feasible to thrive.

Community is grown not from silence, but from sharing.

We need to speak openly about the struggles of working two full-time jobs simultaneously — as employee and as parent. We must nurture a sense of camaraderie and trust, and we must advocate for workplace policies that need to change.
I feel more connected to many female senior leaders and colleagues in my organization, not because we’ve always agreed but because we’ve shared an understanding glance while sipping on our third cup of coffee of the morning. Or because we’ve opened up about our birth stories and the difficulties or joys of returning to work. At the end of the day, we share a mutual respect for one another for running both households and parts of our organization with strength, grace, and fortitude. 
The mothers who came before me in my organization fought for improved parental leave ahead of Massachusetts state laws. They created employee resource groups for working parents. They fostered environments that allow new mothers to bring their whole selves to work.

As working moms, we must continue to talk about our motherhood.

We need to talk about our dual roles in this world — and not hide our children in the shadows or the support systems we lean on to make our jobs work.
Sarah Aspinwall
Sarah grew up in Connecticut, but Massachusetts has always felt like a second home with extended family across the state. With a master's in public health and a lifelong passion for healthcare, Sarah moved to Boston after graduation. She is a fierce advocate for better access and reducing the complexities of the healthcare system. Sarah met her husband covered in sweat and lifting weights at a local CrossFit gym (talk about first impressions!). They adopted a rescue pup from Mississippi and welcomed their daughter in 2021. After nearly a decade of city living, Sarah and her family headed to the Metro West area to start a new adventure in the suburbs. Sarah has volunteered for Community Consulting Teams of Boston (CCT), offering pro bono management consulting to Boston-area nonprofits, and she served a three-year term on the board. She is an alumna member of the Kappa Delta sorority and has served as an advisor to the Northeastern chapter since 2014.