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Empowering Working Moms To Live The Life They Want With Jess Feldt

NWB 75 | Working Mom


The demands of a career in the corporate world are tough as it is; being a new mom on top of that poses a whole different challenge. Jess Feldt is no stranger to this. Her experience of balancing work and motherhood came at a breaking point where she decided to finally leave her corporate career. Empowered by what she had gone through, Jess became a life and leadership coach for career-focused working parents who want to nurture both their careers and their families. In this episode, she discusses the challenges she had to confront as a working mother, transitioning from corporate to coaching. Jess then shares her insights on work-life balance, family-friendly cultures in businesses and organizations, and having clear core values. From advice to help women navigate the world of motherhood in today’s hectic world to tips on how to help families connect more, Jess gives us a great episode that will have you find empowerment to live the life you want with your family alongside you. Join this conversation to find your best version of working mom!



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Empowering Working Moms To Live The Life They Want With Jess Feldt

I’m featuring Jess Feldt who shares her experience of leaving the corporate world after becoming a new mom. She discusses the challenges of balancing work and motherhood, including exhaustion, and lack of time with her child. She eventually decided to prioritize her family and pursue a career in coaching. Jess is a life and leadership coach for career-focused, working parents who want to nurture both their career and their families. She empowers you to find your best version of a working mom and release the expectations of how it should be done. Jess leverages her background in business psychology, consulting, and coaching to help you pursue the life you love. Tune in to my conversation with Jess.



Jess, thank you so much for being here. I wanted to start by asking you. You were in the corporate world for about ten years before you became pregnant, and then you had some challenges that led you to leave the corporate world. What are some of the challenges that you encountered as a new mom?


Thanks so much for having me here. I started out in the corporate world. I was in that world of corporate consulting. Earlier on, I was on that traveling schedule every single week. I eventually found myself at a place where I didn’t have to travel all the time, but consulting is pretty demanding of a career as far as always needing to be available to your clients. I found myself pregnant with my first son, and I was very excited about that. Around the same time, I had the opportunity to move internally to my company. I was like, “What a great opportunity. I can stop the client side. I can move internally. This feels like good timing with my pregnancy and wanting to start a different phase of my career.” It all seemed like it was working great.


I had my son and I realized how hard it is, regardless of what type of career you’re in, whether you’re working with clients, or you’re working internally to go back to work full-time, while still having a newborn at home. I was lucky enough to have four months of parental leave, which here in the US is considered a very good parental leave. Even then, at 4 months, I was struggling with the exhaustion of having a child that was hitting that 4-month sleep regression, still trying to breastfeed and pump. I was in this new role that had its own very challenging and demanding times, and all of that culminated in this, “I’m not sure I can do this. I’m not sure I want to do this anymore.” That was the breaking point for me being like, “I don’t even think I want to do this anymore.”


As a new mom, your priorities change. You’ve been working towards this career and then all of a sudden, you have this little baby. Like when we talked in the introduction, your son is in daycare for eight hours and I went through the exact same thing, so I know exactly what it’s like. You realize, “I come home and I only have two hours with him, and that’s eating, reading a book or two, or whatever.” Did you ever feel like you gave up the career that you worked so hard to build? How was that transition for you?


That’s such a good question because I know so many women come across that, “I’ve been working so long on building this career.” I’m right there with them. I went to school and got my master’s. I spent and invested a lot of time in growing my career, growing my reputation within my career. When I came up against that point of, “I’m not sure I want to do this anymore,” it was a shaking out of my priorities and trying to say, “Is this me giving up my career and taking a pause for a bit? Is this me recalibrating and maybe trying to get out of the burnout to decide what I want to do?” Society does say, “Moms, you can do it all. Don’t stop working.”


You’re going to hit the motherhood penalty if you lean out if you immediately take yourself out. It was a bit of an intentional decision that my husband and I made. This whole thing that we’re in of having our son in daycare for eight hours trying to rush to pick him up, go home to do the bedtime routine, and have time with our partner. We’re like, “What life is this? We’re not enjoying this anymore.”


It was an intentional decision between the two of us to say, “Something needs to change.” I was fortunate enough to know that I wanted to eventually, in my career, move to coaching. This was in my head like 25 years down the line. I was like, “Maybe not. Maybe it can be now if it gives us the type of life that we’re looking for.” That’s what led us to make this very intentional decision.


We know that it’s going to change eventually when you have kids. Your phases constantly are changing. For the women that are in the thick of it, they have young kids and trying to do it all. I know and you know that it’s impossible to do it all. The myth of the work-life balance has been busted, and there is no work-life balance. Sometimes you have seasons where you have to pay attention to your family more, and then the seasons where you have to pay attention to your career more. What would you recommend to the women in that position now? What can they do to get some sanity back in their lives?


I heard this quote once, and I don’t know who said it or where it came from but it’s always stuck with me. “You can do it all. You can’t do it all at one time.” That stuck with me as you’re saying that these are all phases that we’re in. It’s okay to say, “In this phase that I’m in right now, this is what’s important to me.” That might change later. I’m not making a decision for the rest of my life here. I’m saying that in this part of my life right now, this is where I need to be. I now have a five-year-old who’s starting kindergarten and I’m coming up for a breath of fresh air, saying, “Look at all the time I have on my hands now.”


I can enter into a different phase and put more of that focus back onto my career now because I feel like the balancing aspect of it is shifting. You mentioned work-life balance doesn’t exist. I love to say it’s not a noun, it’s not a thing, it’s a verb. It’s constantly work-life balancing. What are the intentional decisions that I need to be making at any given time to say, “I need to be with my family a little bit more right now. Things have changed. I need to go with my career a little bit more right now. My friends need me a little bit more right now?” That’s okay to be constantly making those intentional decisions of always balancing.


That’s important to talk about because when people say women can have it all, no, you can’t have it all right now. There are different phases. Does a new mom have to give up her career to have it all?


Not at all. There are so many different ways to go about what that looks like. What we’re talking about right now, we’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on the mom. That’s what this show is geared towards, women. In many couples, and starting in more, those discussions are being had between, maybe it’s the dad that takes a bit of a pause.


In other countries that have more equitable parental leave, for example, in the Nordic countries, they do see fathers having more of an equal parenting role because they get extended parental leave to be able to build those bonds and take over those traditional roles. To be able to say, “Mom, you don’t have to give up your career here.” It does have to be an intentional family conversation about what those expectations look like and who truly wants to do what and not just, “Mom, it’s on you. It’s the default. You have all these things. You are burnt out. You’re overburdened,” so that you feel like the only option left is for you to leave your career.


In this day and age, we have a lot more flexibility. It’s shifting back a little bit because companies are calling people back into the offices. For the most part, you can come in 1 day, you can come in 2 days versus 5 days. When I think about my life, I’m 54 this 2023, my kids are now 24 and 22. When my kids were little, I had to go into the office every day and drive one hour from my house to the office and drop them off. I vividly remember driving home. We’re both in the Chicagoland area. I’m driving home in the snow, praying that I will get to them before they close the daycare. It was 15 or 20 minutes and they charged me $1 for every minute that I was late.


They still do that. That has not changed.


I remember frantically calling my mom or my sister, “Can somebody go get my kids?” It is such a horrible feeling when you’re trying to get to your kid. Now life is a little bit more flexible. What are you seeing companies do that are more accommodating for, and to your point, moms and parents too? We know that there are a lot of same-sex parents. What have you seen that’s changing in corporations when it comes to that?


I wish I could say I’ve seen more things change. COVID, for all of the pain that it put all of us through, had some good outcomes with hybrid work. As you said, things are shifting back a little bit, but I don’t think things are ever going to fully shift back to people being in the office five days a week. I heard someone say like, “Mondays and Fridays are dead.” Don’t ever think companies that you’re going to get your employees back in the office on Mondays and Fridays. It’s not going to happen.


That has helped a lot of parents to be able to say like, “If I’m working from home that a bit, that at least cuts my commute a little bit if I have my kids in care closer to me.” I think that a flexible schedule is there. I do see a lot more companies that are focused on consulting organizations, and on creating family-friendly policies. Some of these other companies that you do see organizations trying to step into more caregiver-friendly policies and cultures. Whether that’s informing their managers, “Maybe don’t have meetings that start at 8:00 AM. Think about team bonding events that are not happy hours that happen at the same time as school pickup.”


I wish I could say that there were more things happening, but I do see those small steps as far as this hybrid world, fantastic for parents especially as far as gender equity goes. My husband is much more involved now than he used to be prior to that. This general shift towards more family-friendly cultures within organizations.


You’re a leadership coach and you work primarily with moms. Can you tell me 1 example or 2, a story about a mom that you have been able to walk through that struggle? We both know that it’s a struggle and then when you get a little bit of relief, then you’re like, “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Talk a little bit about a story like that.


I’ve worked with a client who had two little boys. One of them had some medical issues that required a lot more of her attention. Not only is she now a new mom to two little boys, back to work for the second time on maternity leave. Yet she’s required to take a fair amount of time off to take her son to doctor’s visits and to medical appointments. Between that and the family, there’s a ton of burnout with trying to balance all of the responsibilities of having two toddlers at home as it is and trying to balance a career.


We’ve had conversations of, “Can I do this anymore? Am I completely burnt out?” Being able to leverage our conversations to talk about what boundaries she can set. What are the boundaries that she sees available to her? If she does not see any path forward, any light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it is an opportunity to say, “Maybe there’s another company that might be more family-friendly or that I can do my career, but have a less demanding industry that I’m working in.”


We’re able to help her play out. This is not a situation that you cannot do anything about. You have factors within your control. That’s a lot of what I work with my new moms specifically about as they’re returning to work after maternity leave because they’ve never done this before. In many instances, it does feel like, “I don’t know what my options are. Do I have options or is this the way it is?”


NWB 75 | Working Mom
Working Mom: This is not just a situation that you cannot do anything about. You have factors within your control.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase. Is it the way it is? What we do is work to say, “What are the factors that you have available to you? What are the intentional decisions that you can make?” They can step into some empowerment with their choices, leadership, and careers. Instead of feeling, “That’s it. I throw my hands up, I can’t do it. It’s the way it is.”


What I heard you say is you help them identify their priorities and challenges, and then almost take their power back from what they have within their control. How are the conversations with the managers though? What do they say when they are so overworked and burnt out that they have a small child at home? How do they approach their manager to say, I need some flexibility?


That’s so dependent on the relationship that the person has with their manager or the culture that they feel like they’re in. Sometimes you work in a culture and you’re like, “I don’t feel safe taking this conversation to my manager because I fear retribution or that they’re going to say, ‘You can’t do this. We’ll give this to someone else.’” It’s a hard look to say, “Is that the right culture for you where you are right now?” Maybe it’s not the time to make a big change, but it’s time to start thinking about, “Is this the place where I want to show up and where I can be?”


If they feel like they have a great relationship with their manager, it usually is like, “Let’s help you practice what that conversation might look like and make sure that you are clear on what you need here so that you can have that.” Any number of flavors in between that. It’s so dependent on that relationship and the culture.


You said a couple of things. First of all, the corporate culture. Specifically, Gen Z and Millennial moms are looking for that social justice corporate culture. One of the big things that people are looking for is psychological safety. Let’s talk a little bit about what psychological safety is and why it’s important.


Psychological safety is the idea of, “I feel safe being able to show up authentically. I don’t think that I’m going to have retribution for either saying something that I think, an opinion or showing up to be who I am.” If there is a lot of psychological safety within the relationship, it’s a lot easier for that person to be able to feel like they can show up, they can ask for their needs, and they can hold their boundaries. It’s safe to do that.

“Psychological safety is the idea of feeling safe in being able to show up authentically.” – Jess Feldt Click To Tweet

If there isn’t that psychological safety, you’re not going to put your neck out there because you feel like you’ve done it before or you’ve seen other people do it before and it hasn’t turned out well. Research shows that organizations that have low psychological safety have much less engagement among their employee. They have much more of the quiet quitting going on.


I’m sure they have a lot of turnovers where people lead the company. We touched on core values, getting clear on their values. 1) What are core values? 2) Why would someone need to be clear on their core values?


I love to talk about core values and distinguish them from things that we value. For example, as humans, there are things that we value. We value our family, friends, and relationships. Those tend to be things that we value that make us humanity. These are our core values, and I like to talk about those as the unique things that make us tick. They’re going to be different for everyone, but what’s the same about them is that they act as North Stars to tell us whether we feel like we’re doing what we should be doing or something is off.


An example for me, one of my core values is I like to call it freedom to. I only feel if I’m in alignment with what I should be doing. If I have the freedom to be where I want to be, show up for people the way I want to show up. Freedom to make decisions about how, when, and where I’m going to work. If I feel like I am held captive to someone else’s needs and I don’t have the freedom to make my own decisions, I feel completely out of alignment.


One of the reasons why I’m an entrepreneur, I like to have the freedom to do that. For everyone though, it’s going to be a little bit different what your core values are. What’s so important to them is when you know what your core values are, it’s a lot easier to determine something is not right. “I am not happy. This is not working for me.” You can identify. This core value is not being listened to. If I can make a choice in my life to be more in alignment with that core value, I’ll usually feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

“When you know what your core values are, it's a lot easier to determine when something is not working or if you’re moving in the right direction.” – Jess Feldt Click To Tweet

A lot of times, another way that you can think about a core value is when something doesn’t feel right in your gut, where you feel off, and it feels icky. You’re like, “That does not align with my core values.” I do like that you say it’s your North Star. Another example that I use when I talk about core values is if you’re into health. Health is one of your core values. You’re not going to go get a job with a tobacco company because the tobacco company knows that tobacco causes cancer. That’s not in alignment with your health as a core value. That’s an easy example. It is critical for people to be able to identify their core values. How do you usually do that with your clients?


A lot of reflection which for some people, it’s like, “Great.” Other people are like, “You mean I have to sit with my own thoughts and reflect?” It can be very scary for some people. One exercise of doing that is creating a lifeline. By drawing a line on a piece of paper and then thinking about your life and saying, “What were the high points of my life? When I was in college and doing this experience, I felt such contentment. I was feeling so good about my life.” That was a high point. What are the low points? “COVID was a low point. I felt so isolated. I was missing this.”


Looking at the themes across your high points and your low points. Your high points are usually when your core values are being honored and your low points are usually when you are missing a core value. That is how I learned for myself that connection is a core value. I never thought about it because I’d always felt connected to people. COVID hit and I didn’t. I was like, “That is a big core value for me that I had never realized before.”


I want to shift a little bit. Now the world is all about social media. My husband and I go out to dinner and our kids are grown, but we go out to dinner and we see parents at a restaurant sitting down with generally a couple of little children. Each child has an iPad plopped in front of them. This isn’t exactly what we’re talking about as far as topic, but how would you suggest that parents can become more involved with parenting or that connection? Not even parenting, it’s that connection with their child. That’s what made me think of it. I see parents with their young kids and a lot of times, I see them on their phones. What’s your take on that situation?


I’ll raise my hand and admit that I have been that parent. We try not to be, but I also understand, and when we’ve done it, it’s because my husband and I need to connect. If the only way for us to be able to have a conversation at dinner is for my kids to each be watching Paw Patrol, you better believe I’m going to bring out the phone and let them watch Paw Patrol so my husband and I can have a conversation.


This is a very specific example. One of my biggest things is like, “Screw the should.” I’m never going to say, “You should never give your kid a tablet. You should never do this. You have to do what gets you through it.” How can we help people connect more? It’s thinking about how you’re creating the space for connection.


If you’ve been running all day from work to pick up the kids and then you’re running to a restaurant to eat dinner, that might not be the space for it because no one’s had an opportunity to decompress. They might need that moment of silence and of no one interacting to decompress, and then they connect later. It’s about how you create space for that reflection in whatever way that works for your family. I have a very good friend who plays video games with her son. That’s not my thing, but that’s how they connect. That’s how they create their space.


I love the way that you say screw the should and whatever gets you through the day is whatever works. That’s very well put. As far as the video games and things like that, I was watching something on ChatGPT. It was a little video. This gentleman was trying to create a connection with their child during dinner, and they asked ChatGPT, “Can you create a game that includes Pokemon and ask questions about something or other?” That’s pretty ingenious because you can use ChatGPT, which is AI to try to connect with your child in a different way than you normally are like, “How are you?” “Fine.”


I use ChatGPT for not that particular thing, but brainstorming. To me, that has been the number one thing that ChatGPT has given me. I’ll be like, “Can you give five ideas for a blog article on boundaries? Thank you very much.”


It is fabulous. I also heard there are a thousand different types of AI. ChatGPT is the one that’s highlighted the most. I love it as well, but I thought that was pretty ingenious to connect that parent that’s trying to do something. You can ask it, “Give me ideas on what to do for two hours on a Saturday afternoon.” It will give you a ton of different ideas.


Any working parent who has a lot of things to do should leverage ChatGPT to speed up some of those things.


NWB 75 | Working Mom
Working Mom: Any working parent who has a lot of things to do should really leverage ChatGPT to speed up some of those things.


I couldn’t agree more. Jess, is there any particular recommendation that you give to your clients when they’re considering leaving the corporate world? What are some considerations? As we know, a lot of people have left the corporate world with the Great Resignation, although I heard someone say that the Great Resignation is dead now. What are some thoughts or thinking points that you can give someone who may be considering leaving the corporate world for something else?


The biggest thing that I would recommend or think about is, “Are you doing it because you feel like there’s no other option? Are you doing it because you see it as an opportunity?” That’s the biggest thing. Are you doing it because you’re running away from something or are you running towards something? For many people, sometimes it does feel like it’s the only option because of the price of childcare these days, or because it doesn’t seem tenable anymore.


That is unfortunate for our society and for the workforce because those are women who would be saying, “If I had other opportunities, no, I’d be staying in. I want to be staying in, but I feel like I can’t.” Versus being able to say, “No, I’m intentionally taking a step back because I want to, and I see this as an opportunity to reach more fulfillment or contentment or things that I want.” That’s the thing. Is this because you feel like you don’t have a choice? Let’s look and see what other options might be. What else might not be out there? If it’s an opportunity you see, then great, go do it.


What about the whole perfectionism? Women are brought up to again, “Do it all. Be everything.” That perfectionism gets in the way. When talking to some of your clients, what do you say when they’re stuck in that perfectionism? My house has to be all clean before I spend any time with my child, for example. What are your recommendations in that situation?


It’s looking at it and saying, “What’s the impact of that?” I’m not going to tell you perfectionism is bad. I have pieces of me that are perfectionist, and I like some of those pieces because they’ve gotten me to where I am now. Many women would say the same. I’ve gotten to this point in my life, I’ve achieved what I have because I have this vein of perfectionism that runs through me. It’s something that is probably not working for you. At what point are the costs becoming more of a burden than what it’s giving you?


If it’s becoming more of a burden, if it’s costing you more a relationship or connection with your child, or a sense of sanity or time to yourself because you feel like, “I have to do this.” It’s costing you more than it’s giving you. That’s time to take a look back and say, “What are the underlying narratives that are driving me to do this?” If I am not perfect, people will not accept me. If I am not perfect, I will get fired. Being able to interrupt those narratives and replace them with new ones that serve you more.


I love interrupting those narratives because a lot of times, we build these stories in our heads. “I have to do everything. I have to be perfect. I have to be there for everybody.” At the end of the day, there’s nothing left for you to do a little bit of self-care, even if it’s like 10 or 15 minutes a day. It’s important to be able to reprioritize those narratives that are in your head. When we are trying to get rid of that perfectionist thinking, what are some 1 or 2 steps on how to do that? A lot of times, we’ll tell people, “Get rid of perfectionism. Don’t worry about it. Forget the shoulds.” What are some maybe 1 or 2 ideas on how that process unfolds? It is a process.


If you think about it, you’ve spent your entire life building up the narratives that you have. You are not going to be able to replace them or break those habits at the snap of a finger. It is going to take as much time to retrain your thought process. That’s sometimes where you might realize, “I can’t believe I spent an hour working on this PowerPoint instead of reading books to my child at night because I felt it needed to be perfect.” You might not realize that until the next day. In that moment you realize being able to be like, “That’s what I did. What would I wish I would’ve done?”


NWB 75 | Working Mom
Working Mom: If you think about it, you’ve spent your entire life building up the current narratives that you have. So you are not going to be able to replace them or break those habits at the snap of a finger.


Even if it’s the next day beginning to say, “The thought I wish I would’ve had was, ‘This is good enough for the client, for my manager. No one will know if I spend this additional hour on this, but my son will know that I am not spending this additional hour with them reading books. Next time I want to do something different.’”


The next time this happens again, you still find yourself doing it, but 45 minutes into it, you’re like, “I remember I don’t want to be doing this.” Maybe the next time, it’s 20 minutes into it, and then you eventually begin to retrain those thought processes. It is something. That feels so hard. It is hard because you have spent so long training the habits that your brain has. You have to put in that same amount of intentional effort and energy into breaking those habits and creating new ones.


When I was a single mom, I would be working. I was like, “Where are my kids?” For a split second, I’m like, “What day is it?” Their dad had them and my mom would pick them up and I’m like, “Where are my kids?” That would happen to me often in the later part of the day. Usually, when I was working, I’d be trying to focus on work, but then my thoughts were in my kids like, “I have to do this. I have to do that. I have to take them to baseball, braces, or whatever.”


What are some tips that you can provide someone to be like, “This is what you can do?” Being present in the moment is the most ideal thing. Sometimes we’re not in control of our thoughts 100% of the time. What do you say to your clients when they’re struggling with being present when they’re at work and then being present when they’re home?


That’s what I would call the mental load of being a working mother. It’s like all the things I’m trying to remember, coordinate, schedule, where I need to be, and who needs to be where. That is a huge mental load. This is where technology is fantastic. Within our family, if it is not on the calendar, it does not happen. We have a family calendar.


My kids are not old enough, but my husband and I, the grandparents know what’s on the calendar. We know who is showing up when and where. That helps reduce that mental load because I know that’s not my responsibility now and it’s on the calendar. If it is my responsibility, I’m going to get a calendar notification screaming in my face that says, “You need to be here.”


This works for couples, not single parents as much, but my husband and I do a weekly family meeting between the two of us where we go through the entire week and say who needs to be where and what special things are going on. Are you going out to dinner with friends at night? Do the kids have swim lessons that day? We go through the whole week.


We have clear expectations on who is doing what and who needs to be where. There’s never a question about it. Being able to have clear communication with whoever is supporting you and truly leverage technology so that it’s not in your brain. Getting it out of your brain and making it live somewhere else are some pretty important ways to reduce some of that mental load.


I wish I had that many years ago because we had calendars and stuff like that, but we didn’t have the technology readily available. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even get my first cell phone until I was 29 years old.


I cannot imagine that world.


My parents didn’t have cell phones back then, so it was a completely different world. I’m so grateful that you are able to leverage that technology. Once I became a mom, the headspace that I used to have for remembering movies, book titles, and stuff like that was gone. It never came back. Even now that I don’t have little kids, I can never remember stuff like that. I have to write it down and someone tells me, “I’m watching a great Netflix.” Let me write it down because I will never remember. That’s part of the mental load that you’re so busy. I was trying so hard to keep track of everything that my kids had to do there wasn’t any space for all that other stuff.


It makes sense. It’s not the mom failing. “I can’t believe I forgot that.” Do you know the amount of things that you were trying to hold in your brain at one time? Anyone would forget.


This has been an incredible conversation and I’m so glad that you are a coach for moms that are in that phase of life. Being on the other end of that phase and everybody tells you, “It goes quick,” I can tell you it does. It’s strange to be on this end of it. My kids are working full-time out of the house and I don’t talk to my son. He’s in Arizona. I only talk to him once a week. I talk to my daughter every other day because she’s local and she calls me.


Sometimes, I sit there and think my son is out in the world. They’re both out in the world. They’re doing their own thing. They’re living their own life. It could go weak without me physically talking to him. I reminisce and I go back to the days when he was little and I miss those days. I’m very grateful that they’re both doing well. You raised them to leave you, to go out in the world and you’re like, “It’s so not fair.”


I’m like, “No, I’m not raising them to leave me. Not yet.”


I was not happy when he informed me that he was moving from Chicago to Phoenix for a job and his girlfriend there. There were a couple of months that I was in a haze of like, “What do you mean? Why are you leaving me?”


I did the same thing to my parents.


I had to come to the realization that I was no longer the one woman in his life. Life goes on. Thanks again for all the information that you’ve given us so far. Do you have two actionable tips that women can take with them from the conversation that we’ve had?


The first one that I would say is don’t penalize yourself. We talk about the motherhood penalty out there and about society penalizing mothers. Organizations do it subconsciously. Don’t do it to yourself. Don’t take yourself out of the game because you think you have to. If you want to, sure, I am all on board with that but don’t penalize yourself because you feel like there’s no other option. There’s usually another option that you can find. There’s some other factor within your control.


The second thing I would say is to talk to yourself as if you were talking to your children. This is all about self-compassion. We, as mothers, have so much compassion for our children. We will tell them that they’re amazing. If they fall down, we’ll be right there. If they fail, we’ll be right there. Heaven forbid we should ever talk that way to ourselves. Instead, we tend to be so critical. “How dare you. You failed. You’re the worst mother ever. You’re going to get fired.” Talk to yourself as if you would talk to your children. It makes a world of difference to your ability to cope, be resilient, and be able to keep moving forward.


I love both of those. The first one is so cool because the whole world is penalizing you primarily. I heard someone say that you start already behind by being a woman. The fact of you saying, “Don’t penalize yourself,” is so good because the world already does it. We don’t need to do it. Talking to yourself with compassion as if you were talking to your own child, that’s brilliant. We are so hard on ourselves. I had a friend>When we were both moms, she would say that she would go to bed and feel guilty because her child didn’t eat broccoli. The last thought that you have is that you feel guilty because your kid didn’t eat broccoli. I’m like, “Are you kidding me?”


We didn’t even touch on mom guilt. That could be a whole other discussion.


Where’s the dad guilt? Non-existent.


I have a blog article on that.


Thank you so much for spending this time with me. This has been a great conversation. I’m sure that all the moms out there who are in that season of young children in their lives will be able to use this information because every little bit that we can provide support helps those who are in that phase right now. Any final words?


No. Thank you so much for having me on here. It was so much fun.


Thank you so much, Jess.



I remember being a single mom working full-time and rushing home to spend a little bit of quality time with my kids after homework and activities. The one takeaway that I got from Jess is that it’s important for moms to prioritize their own well-being and make intentional decisions about their careers and their family life. Jess leaves us with a couple of final thoughts. 1) Don’t penalize yourself and believe that there are other options. 2) Practice self-compassion. Talk to yourself the way you would be talking to your children. Be supportive of yourself.


Speaking of managing your career with intention, I will be conducting a masterclass called Unlocking Your Success: Steering Clear of Career Sabotage. This class is going to be held live on September 12th, 2023 at 7:00 PM Central Time. If you are interested in attending the class, you can email me at for further details. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.


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About Jess Feldt

NWB 75 | Working MomJess Feldt is a life and leadership coach for career-focused working parents who want to nurture both their careers and their families. She empowers you to find your best version of “working mom” and release the expectations of how it should be done. Jess Feldt leverages her background in business psychology, consulting, and coaching to help you pursue the life you love.