Integrating Work and Home Life

By Sam Kurtzman-Counter

I was a career girl.  Raised by two full-time professional parents in the dizzyingly ambitious ‘burb of Los Angeles, I always focused on career first. I always imagined I’d have a family “one day,” after I crossed A, B, C, D, E, F  measures of professional success.  But unfortunately, the alphabet kept going, and so did that clock associated with my biology…  And of course, with each career goal met, there was a new horizon open to me, another step I wanted to take. Would I ever be ready for parenthood?  One day my husband and I decided that heck no, we’d never be “ready” to have kids – but we were ready to make a change in our lives and stop being the centers of our own universe.

So I got pregnant. Surely, I thought, I’ll be right back to work in no time.  I was six months pregnant, trudging up the icy hill in Park City, when my film played at Sundance.  All sorts of doors were opening.  “Three months,” I thought, “Three months and I’ll be back to work.  And I’ll write my feature script in the meantime….”

Yeah, right.  At three months, I was lucky if I got a chance to wash my hair!

Having Jack was a revelation.  That little face looking up at me, the smell of his head, that soft, warm body sleeping on my shoulder…  Oh man, I couldn’t get enough.  And man, was I in for an identity crisis!  How could I NOT want to go back to work??!!  How could this little guy have completely derailed my entire life’s path???   Who was I if I wasn’t defined by my career?

I struggled with these questions for years.  I wanted and needed to work but I wanted to be present for my boy.   I couldn’t figure out how to be a part-time filmmaker, and I’d never seen examples of any kind of corporate culture that allowed parents to continue to prioritize their family lives. It seemed like it had to be all or nothing, and it hurt me to only see my boy for one hour at the beginning or end of the day.

So when Abbie approached me to help her launch The Mother Company, I jumped at the opportunity. As a business by moms, for moms, it is our mission to create a corporate culture that encourages new ways to look at our responsibilities to work and family.   At The Mother Company, our employees can have flexible schedules, privacy to pump, and usually, the workday gets put on hold for carpool pick up and dinnertime. (But we sure do accomplish a lot after the kids are in bed!)  I get more done in a day at The Mother Company than I ever did in a more traditional work setting (with all the water cooler and internet chatting that goes on…)  We want to be a leader in the movement of millennial moms figuring out not just how to balance home and work life, but how to integrate them.  We want to embrace the talents and strengths of all the moms who had to leave a workplace that had no room for them anymore.  We CAN do it all, we just have to shift the structure of a day and use technology to the fullest.  It’s exciting.  A real sea change.

Today, Jack helps me decide which animated characters are best and which voiceovers to use and I know if he’s singing one of the songs from our show in the other room, we have a hit on our hands.  I often think about something my mom once said to me:  “A woman’s life is like a quilt. All the patches are distinct phases of your life, with different goals and circumstances.”  And I said, “blech, mom, give me a break” — but of course, she was right.   My life is the sum of all the parts:  family, work, interests, struggles, dreams…  And at The Mother Company, we are in the business of sewing them all together.

Posted in: Parental Wisdom, Family, The Mother Co. Mamas