A great number of women desire to be mothers without leaving aside their professional life. This is without a doubt a great dilemma for many women of our day.
Achieving it requires much effort, work, coordination, balance, trust and support. That’s what these three successful professional women we have chosen to honor for Mother’s Day say. They have managed to bring together the roles of mother and professional.
“Working hard, outlining priorities and being creative”: that’s Rosy Aburto McDonough’s secret. Other than being the mother of three daughters, ages 10, 13 and 17, she serves as the director of the Minority Business Office in Colorado.
“[I loved my profession so much that] I never pictured myself only being a mom,” she said. Yet, her love for motherhood was also great, which led her and her husband to adopt a young girl form China, when their first daughter was five years old. To their surprise, God later sent them another blessing — a third daughter.
McDonough did not see having three young daughters as an obstacle. Rather, she owned a credit reporting agency and managed to make a space in her offices for her daughters and a babysitter who helped for a few hours.
Although her position now requires much traveling, she makes sure to keep in constant communication with her daughters when she’s away. She motivates them in their extracurricular activities and emphasizes the importance of their education and nutrition. All three are trilingual — they speak English, Spanish and Mandarin.
“It’s very important for me that my daughters form part of my career and achievements. I always include them,” McDonough said. Practicing their faith at home, they also attend Sunday Mass at Most Precious Blood Parish.
A family business
One of the greatest challenges that mothers in this situation face is feeling guilty for leaving their children to go to work. They often wonder whether they spend enough time with them or if they are giving them a good example by following their professional dreams.
“My children are self-starters and responsible. We work as a team. That taught them the value of work,” said Lidia Tena, owner of one of one of Denver’s most successful jewelry businesses who started working when her children were little. “I adapted my work and schedule to the needs of my children, always balancing both to avoid neglecting one or the other.”
In 2002, when her children were older and after much work, she founded the first Joyería el Ruby. Tena said that the most important thing for her is “to combine everything: the love for work, family, faith and trust in God — with that, anything is possible.”
Her children are now grown up and form part of the business, owning a store each. Myrna, her youngest daughter, is very proud of her mother, who still constantly motivates her.
“My mom always showed me through her hard work that you can accomplish anything you want with effort and dedication,” she said. “Thanks to her, I have also achieved my goals, but the most important thing she has instilled in me is the gratitude and joy of [helping] and giving to others.”
Tena and her children are active members of various ministries at Holy Rosary Parish in Denver and are part of the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal Movement.
Founded in family love
To become a successful professional mother, much is required: hard work, discipline and trust in oneself and one’s close relationships, as Carmen Morales’s example shows.
As the owner of the restaurant chain Santiago’s Burritos, the support she received from her family in taking care of her three daughters was essential.
“Their grandma used to take care of them [when I was working]. That was always a great support because I knew they were in good hands,” she said. “Communication, spending time together and making that time special was very important to be able to carry out both parts, [family and work].”
Finding a balance between these two aspects was an experience of continued growth for Morales.
“You realize [when one aspect needs balance]. It’s like a woman’s instinct,” she said. “But one of the hardest challenges is when you feel exhausted. In that moment,
you simply ask God for help and mental capacity to be well, to get up every morning and be that superwoman who works, takes care of her children, takes them to their activities and does chores. You learn to be organized.”
Morales keeps her family united. Her daughters form part of the business. “We spend the holidays and the important days together: first communions, confirmations, etc. We even go on family vacations every year,” she said.
The success of Morales and Santiago’s Burritos is founded in family love. The Green Chili recipe served in the restaurant’s breakfast burritos comes from her mother, who used to make burritos every morning during Lent, and would give them to them after daily Mass, before going to school.
Faith has been so fundamental for Morales, that she chose the name “Santiago’s” because of her devotion to Saint James, the apostle. The restaurant chain has now more than 26 different locations across the state.
A mother who is fulfilled will provide a better education for her children, while offering all the love and care they need. It’s important for us as women to know what makes us happy and, if we desire to be mothers and professionals, to work hard for our families and careers, while keeping love and faith and the center of it all.
Happy Mother’s Day!
This article was originally written in Spanish and translated into English by Vladimir Mauricio-Perez.